0 3 mins 12 yrs

The Syndicate
Kay Mellor’s new drama series for BBC One

Interview with Timothy Spall

What can you tell us about your character Bob?

Well, he is the manager of the supermarket, and he is a bit of a father figure to the staff, particularly Stuart. I’d say that when he wins the money he gets himself into a quandary on how he is going to distribute it. His sons have their own needs – one son is in debt, a successful solicitor but in debt, and the other is a bit of a dreamer, not much cop with money. Bob says ‘I don’t know how much to give’. Kay’s brilliant about family politics.

What attracted you to the role?

Kay’s writing, she knows succinctly and accurately how to do it and it’s wonderful because it’s riddled with all those subtle struggles, which are true in many families. Winning the lottery solves a lot of problems but creates a lot more – a lot of people just blow it all. Kay’s simple premise is that when the chips are down for many people, sometimes the lottery is the last resort of hope.

Plus, there aren’t many dramas in which you get the opportunity to play a character where you get your head smashed in, win the lottery and then wake up with a major health scare.

I also really like the way the five stories are interwoven. It’s a great tale about the dignity of labour – about people who don’t normally get the whip hand in life or dramas. I’ve done all sorts of projects but what I really love is people who write like Kay, like Jimmy McGovern and Mike Leigh who capture the reality and poetry of the lives of ordinary people.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I don’t play the lottery as I feel I have been really lucky in what I have been able to do in my life, but if I did win, it would be the usual things – helping out the people I love. I’d probably squander a few quid on all sorts of unnecessary crap!