Mr Flibble Talks To... Casting Couch
Red Dwarf has featured a number of major celebrities in guest roles. But who has to track them down? And who has to find an entire prison full of scary-looking inmates? Red Dwarf TV and movie casting director Linda Glover, that's who.
13 April, 2001
Linda Glover
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

What made you get into casting in the first place?

I became interested in it at an early age - my dad's best friend was the actor Trevor Howard (from Brief Encounter, Third Man, etc.) and there were always lots of actors at our house. I was fascinated by their stories and was quite star-struck. We used to visit Pinewood Studios a lot and when I was 13, the director Bryan Forbes introduced me to Michael Caine, who was an even bigger star then than now. I was completely overawed and afterwards my dad asked me why I was so unfriendly to him!

Later, I was a great blagger and managed to get in with a mate to see Cliff Richard after a concert, saying I wanted to interview him for Pinewood Studios. I was all of 15 and looked 13, but Cliff went along with it and answered staggeringly incisive questions like: "Was it interesting filming Summer Holiday?" and "Who's your favourite actor?" Unfortunately, he then started asking me questions about the Studios and so we left pretty sharpish. My dad wrote to him afterwards saying I was a fake - which was possibly the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me - apart from when he wrote to the director of the TV show "This Is Your Life" telling him he'd made a huge mistake in not giving me a researcher's job. And that was when I was 25!

Despite the childhood connections, I got myself into the business, starting as a TV production secretary in the mid-seventies. Casting was something I particularly enjoyed doing, although at that time I didn't think about concentrating on it. My aim was to have my own production company, which I achieved, but I always loved the casting side of things and got involved whenever I could.

What are the skills you think the job requires?

Understanding who the characters are in a script and what the writer and director want are very important and so is being able to tell the difference between good and bad acting! Richard E Grant says that most female casting directors he knows are very motherly and that's because it's important to put actors at ease and be friendly. Auditions are nerve wracking enough for them, without being treated insensitively as well. It's also possible to miss a good opportunity if you can't get the best out of an actor during their interview.

There are very different aspects to casting: suggesting the actors is entirely creative, yet negotiations with their agents and sorting out contracts require more practical skills. Casting comedy is the most difficult, particularly Red Dwarf, because ideally, Doug and Ed would like everyone to be unusual, as well as funny, so it's not the easiest of shows to do!