'I'd rather be watching Antiques Roadshow with a slice of Battenberg' | Terry Mynott on whether his TV show Mimics real life... © C4

'I'd rather be watching Antiques Roadshow with a slice of Battenberg'

Terry Mynott on whether his TV show Mimics real life...

As The Mimic, Channel 4's comedy-drama about a down-at-heel man with a talent for impressions, returns for a second series next month, star Terry Mynott speaks about the show – and the similarities between his mild-mannered character and himself...

The Mimic follows the life of Martin Hurdle. It’s basically an ordinary life, he’s a bit stuck in a rut, I suppose. He does impressions, and some of those around him want him to take it further and become famous, but he’s very much conditioned to shy away from the limelight.

A lot of people are like that. Every now and again you’ll see them on Britain’s Got Talent or The X-Factor, and they’ve really been pushed into it, and you think: 'Why haven’t you done this a long time ago?'

Certain people are really talented but don’t have the self-confidence to pursue success, and then there are people who aren’t talented who think they are, and are absolutely overflowing with confidence. We didn’t create Martin as a go-getter, he’s a fairly reluctant protagonist. We didn’t want him ringing up restaurants and booking tables under Christopher Walken… We wanted him to be some sort of wandering idiot. So there’s always going to be little bits of me that wander in there.

I remember on the first day of the first series, my head nearly fell off, as we turned up and I saw all the trucks and the logistics and everybody involved.By the second series, we kind of knew what we were doing.

There isn’t a day that goes past where I don’t think 'My God, I’m on the set of a TV show, thank the Lord.' But I must admit, when I first did stand-up, I’d been on the waiting list for six months, then I ended up doing two seconds of dialogue and then running off into the night! I just lost my bottle.

I’ve never really been all: 'Everybody look at me!' I guess that comes from a working-class upbringing where you’re told to get in line and shut up a little bit. I love the work, but the other stuff always makes me feel a bit awkward. Not because it feels beneath me at all, quite the opposite. I’d just rather be at home with a slice of Battenberg cake watching Antiques Roadshow than out being rock’n’roll.

When I first joined John [Noel, agent] he just kept slamming me in front of a camera until I eventually relaxed a little bit. I’d always thought I was going to work in cartoons, I’d just be a voice.

I love my motorbikes, and I’ve usually got a crash helmet on, or I’m in a garage, tinkering away, so I don’t get spotted that much. I went to a festival the other day, and I was getting a bit drunk, and someone asked me to do Morgan Freeman, and I just couldn’t quite do it. And I had that awkward thing where people almost get a bit annoyed and go 'Nah, do it again.' And I popped my hood up and put shades on, and thought I was sorted, but my grey hair just poked through and gave me away. This young girl came up with her mates and went 'Are you the Mimic?' instantly. But her mate had no idea who I was, and kept quoting stuff from different shows at me.

I went to Debenhams the other day, and the lady behind the counter said: 'We love Derek. You’re very good. You play the guy with learning difficulties, don’t you?' I just said 'Yeah, thank you very much.'

I don’t like it when celebrities are a bit curt with their fans. You signed up to it, you’re going to get it. So I try and be really nice to people. You occasionally get people who are a bit tricky. I take it really seriously when people come up and say hello.

I was a roadie before, and I worked for a couple of well-known bands, whose names I won’t say, but a couple of them really weren’t very nice to people. It just made me think, 'Oh my God, you don’t deserve what you’ve got. These people made you what you are today, and it’s so rude to treat them like that'.

But it’s always a good idea to do the shortest impersonation possible and get the hell out of there. Don’t start at the beginning of Richard III.

Personally, I love doing Sir Ian McKellen or David Attenborough. I could do them til the cows come home, but for some reason I don’t get asked to do them as much as Al Pacino. People just love the shouty Pacino.

• Here's a trailer for series 2:

Published: 26 Jun 2014

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