Little Britain star Mat Lucas fits a fantasyland TV series into his busy schedule
Matt Lucas has played some bizarre and eye-catching roles in his time.
Leaping to prominence as the surreal scorekeeping baby George Dawes in Shooting Stars, he established himself as one of the UK's top funnymen with his characters Daffyd (the self-proclaimed only gay in the village) and Bristol chav Vicky Pollard in Little Britain.
He has now also stepped up to the big screen after being cast as Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp and due for release next year.
Just before filming that, the 35-year-old Londoner took a part in the unlikely-sounding TV series Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire, which starts on BBC Two next month.
Sean Maguire stars as the titular Krod, who leads a group of inept freedom fighters in an ancient fantasyland attempting to overcome evil ruler Chancellor Donold David Dongalor, played by Lucas.
Publicity shots show the cast clad in medieval costumes you might well have seen in shows such as Merlin, Xena: Warrior Princess or even early Blackadder.
Lucas auditioned for the series after falling in love with the part during a quick read-through of the script.
"There's a British silliness to it but an American dryness and sharpness too, so it's an interesting mix. I've never seen anything like it before," he says.
"I think it will appeal to the TV viewers who enjoy investing in 'worlds'. For many, that's EastEnders or Coronation Street. It should also appeal to teenage boys who enjoy series like Red Dwarf.
"It has slapstick elements and modern references. For example, there's a scene where my character is doing a press conference and he remarks that within days of the conference, literally hundreds of people will get to hear what he's said. Which is taking the mick a bit because obviously we have the internet now."
Lucas headed off to Budapest for filming, while at the same time juggling his other commitments.
"I did all my scenes in three weeks," he recalls. "I did two weeks of filming and then I had to do a week of Little Britain promotion. I had to fly from Budapest to London to get a flight to Los Angeles - where I had to do the Jay Leno show and the Craig Ferguson show. Then I flew to New York to do the Conan O'Brien show and then flew through the night to do Jonathan Ross.
"I returned to Budapest for another six days, finished on the Friday night, flew on the Saturday back to London and then on the Monday was back in Los Angeles and starting on the Alice In Wonderland film. It was a bit crazy." Having worked so closely with David Walliams in Little Britain, Lucas enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends in a much bigger cast with Krod.
"Most of the scenes I did were with the actor Alex McQueen and we really hit it off. We just got along famously and became really good friends. When we'd look at each other, we'd just burst out laughing," he says.
He was also impressed by female lead India de Beaufort. "She's so beautiful, she turned me. She turned me 360 degrees, so I'm now back to gay again," Lucas teases. "It's a bit like the film Weird Science because she's a boy's dream come true."
He was also delighted to work with Maguire, whose spoof movie Meet The Spartans topped the US charts last year.
"I've been a fan of Sean's since he won the best hair award at the Smash Hits Poll Winners party in 1994," he teases.
"I'd grown up watching Sean in Grange Hill and there was a scene I always remind him of. His character was a bit wiffy and had to take a bath. So I always tell Sean that I saw him in the bath when he was about 11."
Lucas is now working on series two of Little Britain USA with his best friend Walliams.
"There definitely will be some new characters, but some well-known established characters will go," he reveals.
Lucas would again like to team up with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, who gave him his big chance on The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer in 1994 before casting him in Shooting Stars.
"It's time Vic and Bob were back on TV. I think if that vehicle is Shooting Stars I'd love to do it," he says, reflecting on his career so far.
"I'm just really lucky. I'm lucky I get to work with Vic and Bob, I get to do Krod Mandoon and I just did a film with Johnny Depp. I get to work with David and Sacha (Baron Cohen). I'm just so lucky."
• Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire begins on BBC Two at 9pm on Thursdays from 11 June
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