Return to crime for Bill star Andrew in Aylesbury

Antony Costa and Andrew Lancel
Antony Costa and Andrew Lancel

You would have thought that having been on The Bill for seven years that Andrew Lancel would have been fed up of roles in crime shows.

But he leads an all star cast in the stage adaptation of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone coming to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from Tuesday May 30 to Saturday June 3.

Eunice struggles to fit in. When she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper, the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood - on Valentine’s Day.

The story unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as grizzly as murder itself.

Andrew said: “It’s been a long time since I played copper. But this was a show that ticked all of the right boxes for me. It almost doesn’t have a genre. It’s both a whodunnit and whydunnit and it is quite grizzly in places.

“But most importantly, it is a really good yarn and Ruth Rendell is a queen of the genre.

“It is a dark story as well and there’s a reason why her stories have sold so over well over the years. I heard the show described as a perfect nightmare and think that sums it up well.”

There’s also a real ensemble feel to the cast which features Blue’s Antony Costa, TV and film star Sophie Ward and Shirley Ann Field, who got her first break after being chosen by Laurence Olivier for the film The Entertainer.

Andrew commented: “There’s a real mish mash of people who are coming it at the show from different areas.

“It suits the tone of the show really well.

“Because I live in Liverpool, I’m away from my family a lot, when you are touring, you end up adopting your cast mates as a second family and we all get on really well despite us being from different backgrounds.”

He has had a varied career with roles in Cardiac Arrest, Queer as Folk, The Bill and Coronation Street on the small screen.

And most recently he has taken roles on the stage as Brian Epstein in Epstein - The Man Who Made The Beatles, and Brian Clough in the world premiere of The Damned United as well as roles in 12 Angry Men and The Sound of Music. But does he have a favourite?

“Blimey, what a good question, ” says Andrew.

“There were obviously the two Brian’s on stage, playing Brian Clough was a huge pressure, but very rewarding but it would have to be doing Brian Epstein.

“My favourite television part is probably playing Frank in Coronation Street. He was an absolutle villain and a vile human being.

“But it was great to play, I knew it was for a fixed length of time and the people working on the show were so friendly and helpful. We were a real family.”

However he is probably best known for playing for his role as Neil Manson in The Bill from 2003 to 2010.

Andrew said: “It was a great part and I joined at the time when they were looking to shake it up a bit and I did.

“But I never went and asked for storylines or anything like that.

“I was given this fantastic character to play.

“We did something like 300 episodes of The Bill and I am grateful to DI Manson because it gave me security and it is a show which is still on.”

But arguably he gets recognised for the smaller roles he did than the bigger parts.

Andrew said: “The small role I did in Queer as Folk, I still get recognised.

“Many people have said how dare I kill a character.

“I played a small part in Hillsborough which I get recognised for.

“We did it only 10 years after the tragedy and remember asking Jimmy McGovern if it was too soon. He replied with we could tell this story every year and it’s true.”

For tickets call the box office on 0844 871 7607 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/aylesbury