The Street: Timothy Spall plays Eddie

For the third series in a row, Timothy Spall plays Eddie.

Last season, Eddie lost his licence, so he is working as a controller for Alpha Zero Cabs. His wife Margie (Ger Ryan) goes to look after her ailing father and Eddie finds himself taking pity on Sandra (Ruth Jones), a lonely colleague at work. But, for the married Eddie, the relationship with Sandra soon grows too close for comfort, and the ramifications are not good.

Timothy explains more about the doomed relationship between Eddie and Sandra: “She is clearly fond of him. He doesn’t fancy her, but he feels sorry for her. She’s a bit of an Eleanor Rigby.

“Eddie is a sucker for a victim. He can’t help but help people to death sometimes! He comes to work with these dreadful sandwiches, so Sandra starts to bring him a smorgasbord every day. And before you know it, shock, horror, they are getting closer and closer.”

The actor reflects on why Eddie – who also vainly tries to help Paddy in his battle with Miller in the first episode – has been such a lynchpin over the three series of The Street.

“He is the catalyst for so much of the action because he’s got a very big heart. He is always struggling between honesty and uselessness. He knows he’s not up to much and can’t avoid a bleeding heart, but he’s a genuinely kind man.”

Timothy, one of our best-loved actors, underlines that it is a delight to portray such a rich character.

“Eddie is fantastic to play. There is a price to pay for doing all this emotional stuff. It’s tough and draining. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but playing a part like this you have to dig deep and go to some dark places within you.

“But you don’t get many chances to act out such an array of emotions, so it’s always a challenge and a delight. For an actor, this is a choice part to play.”

Timothy relished collaborating with Ruth: “What a delightful woman and a smashing actress! She’s tremendous to work with. I was a huge fan beforehand. I love Gavin And Stacey.

“She’s funny and a very warm person to be around. We had a gas. It was a real treat working with her.”

The actor has a complete affinity with Jimmy McGovern’s work: “The bedrock of his writing is the tragic-comedy of everyday existence,” muses the performer, who has shone in all manner of drama over the last three decades, from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Secrets And Lies, Our Mutual Friend, and Topsy-Turvy to Shooting The Past, Oliver Twist, All Or Nothing, Pierrepoint and Harry Potter.

“Jimmy understands that tragedy and comedy often appear in our lives at the same time and at the most unexpected moments. They can seem bizarrely contradictory, but they are inextricably linked. Jimmy manages to convey this brilliant mingling of tones. He makes us laugh and cry at the same time and that’s a rare talent.”

Above all, Timothy concludes: “Jimmy’s genius lies in his ability to reflect the drama of daily life. He has an uncanny knack for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. And that’s why it’s always such a pleasure to work on The Street.

“I feel delighted to have been in this for three series. Some people claim that TV drama is in the death throes, but The Street shows we can still pull it out of the bag. It’s no coincidence that it wins all these international awards.

“I was having a drink at a farmers’ market in LA the other day, and this American woman came up to me and said, ‘hey, when’s The Street coming back? We get it on BBC America and I love it!’ That’s a mark of this show’s quality. It strikes a universal chord.”

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