Mr Flibble Talks To... Flibble Therapy
Already a familiar face in British comedy, he became psychiatrist Dr Lucas McClaren in series VIII of Red Dwarf. With his chair screwed tightly to the floor, and his neuroses on stand-by, Mr Flibble caught up with Andy Taylor.
8 June, 2001
Andy Taylor
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

How did you become a performer?

I think I made one tentative request to my careers master about acting, and he was a technical drawing teacher - not the most imaginative of personnel - and the bastard humiliated me. (Laughs) He read out this thing, "How to be an actor. Pay attention, Taylor, I'm not reading this for my benefit." It was just infuriating. He couldn't hide his disapproval of my noncey chosen profession.

Afterwards came what I knew would come: "Taylor, what do you want to be an actor for? You're too short." Which is a fair point actually... (Laughs) I'd certainly have been offered more beefy part if I'd been taller.

I never really considered doing acting seriously until it was suggested I go to this West Sussex Council-run drama course. Somebody suggested I went for this course, where (actor voice) "there were people who understood my desires and my needs." (Laughs) They told me that you could apply to a drama school, and I went to RADA. I didn't have such a good time there - I was a very young and sulky sod at that time.

Then I did the usual reps to get my card. Then, about 1985, I did a revue group with someone I'd been at RADA with - Chris Lang, who's now a very successful writer - and a little-known actor called Hugh Grant. Hugh, rather foolishly in my view, gave up going to comedy clubs around Britain and dying regularly for a career in Hollywood where he could get to stay in swanky hotels and have thousands of girls fancy him. It's his choice. If it was me I'd have turned all that down and stuck with Hemel Hempstead Arts Centre.

There was him fronting us, and Chris and I trying to impersonate that floppy-haired style - and it was in 1985, when that kind of comedy was loathed. It smacked of Oxbridge, you were hated on sight. We used to publicise our show, trying to follow Skint Video - an incredibly right-on and funny (let's face it) political satire group - and we came on with our posh voices...

We were alright. We got taken up by Talkback [Productions], started writing for Mel [Smith] and Griff [Ryhs-Jones]. I'd say everything I've ever done has been down to that revue. I never got anywhere as a proper actor... because I was too short.