Tuesday 6 December 2016

Farage actor 'chainsmoked to capture raspy voice'

Published 24/10/2016 | 00:21

Kevin Bishop is playing Nigel Farage in a BBC comedy
Kevin Bishop is playing Nigel Farage in a BBC comedy

Actor and impressionist Kevin Bishop has revealed he had to chainsmoke to capture the rasp of Nigel Farage's voice for an upcoming BBC comedy.

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Bishop plays the politician in Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back, which follows the former Ukip leader's exploits after he stepped down in the wake of the EU referendum result.

The actor said he "hated" Mr Farage when he was initially asked to play the role but was now "fascinated" by the ex-banker.

"I was so devastated about Brexit and he wasn't someone I kind of really cared much about at all.

"Since I researched him I've actually found him to be, on a personality level, much more interesting and I'm warming to him a little bit more than pretty much any other politician."

Asked what was hardest to master when playing Mr Farage, Bishop said: "The voice. Because, as you can hear from my voice now, it is very croaky.

"So I smoked like 20 cigarettes a day. Smoke, smoke, smoke.

"If you don't have a rasp in your voice - which I don't normally - you just can't do it no matter how good an impersonator you are. I've had to put it through the mangle."

Speaking on the set of the show, filmed as a mockumentary, the Star Stories actor said Mr Farage had transformed UK politics, calling him the Boy George of the political world.

"These are very interesting historic times and I think that's thanks to those characters like Nigel Farage, like Jeremy Corbyn.

"They are a little bit like your Boy Georges and Michael Jacksons, they're interesting people that are completely unique and you are drawn to them.

"I think Nigel does have a quality about him which is reassuring and also comical, self deprecating, he's got really all the sort of charm and charisma that you'd expect to see on a chat show."

Bishop believes his portrayal is balanced, adding: "I can't imagine he'd be upset or hurt.

"I mean a few things might ruffle his feathers but as I found from portraying people in the past initially they might be kind of put out but I find that they often eventually reach out to me and say 'ooh you bugger you did get me'."

:: Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back is expected to air on BBC Two on Sunday October 30.

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