No-one is more delighted to be having second helpings of Victoria Wood’s classic comedy dinnerladies than actor Andrew Dunn.
He played the long-suffering and eminently-likeable Tony in all 16 episodes of the comedy which has been rated the ninth most popular sitcom of all time and is now on its fourth nationwide tour.
“It was great fun making the television series and the tours have just been a bonus,” says the Tyneside-born but York-based actor. “We did three with the first show and this is the first of a new one.”
He admits though he is pleasantly surprised by how well the creation has lasted.
“It’s 13 years since it started on television and even the first tour was 10 years after the series had finished but there’s still barely a week goes by without an episode being repeated on one channel or another,” he said. “We all knew the show was a success but the tours came out of the blue.”
Life on the road can be a bit tiring but Andrew says: “It sound a bit pathetic complaining so as long as the audience likes what we are doing it makes it all worthwhile.”
Despite a stint from 2006 to 2008 as Roger Stiles (Janice Battersby’s love interest) in Coronation Street) and a healthy CV of other television series it’s dinnerladies which has made him such a familiar face.
“I still find it strange when people greet me as “It’s Tony from dinnerladies” but it’s great to be part of something which people feel so fond of,” he says.
The new show covers the episodes where the staff canteen at HWD Components faces closure and the script has been updated to keep abreast of changes in society since the series was screened.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s aged at all – unlike myself!” he laughs.
The tour continues to August and after that he’s not sure what’s ahead.
“I don’t plan because it’s impossible in this business,” he says. “Ideally I would love to do a major film because I’ve never done one but basically it’s just great being in work.”
As for preferences between stage and screen he loves them both.
“There’s an instant reaction when you’re on stage but filming for television is fascinating in a different way,” he says.
He always wanted to be an actor but isn’t sure why.
“There was no tradition of it in my family and my careers teachers recommended working in mining, shipbuilding or the armed forces,” he says. “I think looking back I made the right decision.
n dinnerladies is at Blackpool Grand Theatre tonight to Saturday. Ticket details on (01253) 290190.