Tim Pigott-Smith Interview

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Established actor Tim Pigott-Smith plays DCI Harry Hutchinson. Due to retire to Cornwall. But can he extricate himself from a sticky situation that risks his pension?

Who is DCI Harry Hutchinson?

Harry’s been a really good cop for 30 years, having started life on the beat with Mac who is now the Desk Sergeant. Harry’s a good man who has worked his way up through the ranks. He has a wife, a dog and is looking forward to retirement in Cornwall. He’s obviously choosing a very different kind of life to run away to, compared to the one that he has been living for the past 30 years.

If one was to look around his office at the displays on his wall, we’d see he has a lot of commendations. Harry has certainly been brave in the line of duty.

Is John Keenan Harry’s protege?

Harry sees something of his younger self in John; a flare for policing, a strong instinct and a yearning for justice.

Will John be devastated if he finds out Harry is a mole?

The seeds of a father son relationship are there, which is a psychological platform for what could turn into betrayal. Harry knows he could lose absolutely everything. If he is found out he will go to prison, lose his police pension so what John will think about him is low on his list of worries, of course there’s also the humiliation of his actions but he’d just have to learn to live with that!

Did Harry realise quite what he was getting himself into with Stenga?

It’s certainly escalated. I think Harry had to pull the wool over his own eyes to convince himself he was doing the right thing. He was panicking because he desperately needed money for his retirement dream. As part of the deal Harry was able to arrest and imprison a really evil criminal who just so happened to be one of Stenga’s competitors, in return for the money he so desperately needed, so he just couldn’t see a downside.

Harry convinces himself it’s going to be ok, but of course the thing about blackmail is once you’re in, you’re stuck. He’s given Stenga the opportunity to trap him and that’s his tragedy really.

Harry’s retiring soon; he’s coming round the last bend and can see the finishing tape! Unwittingly he escalates a much deeper level of tragedy because Stenga is off the wall and unpredictable.

What do you have coming up next?

Peter Hall has a season in Bath every year in June and this year he’s doing a play by Simon Gray called Little Nell which is about Dickens; I play Dickens’ son.

We’re also doing Pygmalion which is the Bernard Shaw play which is the basis for My Fair Lady and in that I play Henry Higgins. It’s an eight week tour throughout August and September.

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