Mr Flibble Talks To... Howdy-doodly-do!
Before Robert Llewellyn, there was another Kryten. After John Lenahan there was another Toaster. Both these were one man - David Ross. Mr Flibble talks the Alan Bleasdale regular about his life as one of Britain's best actors.
5 January, 2001
David Ross
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

I began acting in 1962, when I was just 17. A friend of mine, for some reason, took it upon himself to make me become an actor - he seemed to regard it as his life's work. He sort of foresaw that I would make a success of it, and I owe him an enormous debt. He's dead now, sadly. But I got started in weekly rep.

Once I'd got the bug, once I'd decided that I'd actually do it, I went from there to Harrogate Rep, and I went on from there to do some touring in Northern Ireland before the trouble started. I always remember the locals asking, 'When's Henry the Fourth: Part Two coming out?' (Laughs) They thought it was part of a dual set of plays, one of which was coming this week and part two was coming next week.

Then I went to drama school at Manchester Polytechnic. And when I arrived there Richard Griffiths was there, Bernard Hill and George Costigan, Elizabeth Hestenson, a lot of very good people. And following up from me was Julie Walters, I'm not sure if she was one or two years below me, but she was there at drama school.

Then I went on to Manchester Contact Theatre. I had a terrifically enjoyable season in the hot summer of '76 with Alan Ayckbourn's company in Scarborough. Then the third period of my career really came. (I'm in my fourth period, I suppose, now.) The third period was when I started doing big parts in the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which started to etch out my career more clearly. That was the time I was working with Rob and Doug, doing the early radio comedies that they did about the old people's home.

After that I went to the National Theatre, and once I was noticed at the National, I was offered other stuff - for about five or six years I was at the National. I haven't worked at the National for about five or six years. It's interesting how it all flourishes, blossoms, and then it all just dies away.