When Frasier met Rodders: TV’s favourite shrink is finally back – with Only Fools legend Nicholas Lyndhurst as his new sidekick…
- READ MORE: Kelsey Grammer reprises iconic psychiatrist role alongside new cast members – as premiere date for the highly anticipated series is revealed
Erudite, dapper, waspishly witty and incorrigibly pompous, celebrity psychiatrist Frasier Crane became one of TV’s most beloved characters in the 90s.
Played by Kelsey Grammer, he made his first appearance in the hit 80s sitcom Cheers before going on to feature in its even more popular spin-off Frasier.
The show earned 37 Emmy Awards in its 11-year run and next week it returns to our screens after 19 years in a reboot that Kelsey terms his character’s ‘third act’.
He may be sporting trainers rather than his customary Italian shoes, but fans of the original show needn’t fear – nothing about Frasier remains unpretentious for long.
‘Sitting here with a cold brew in my hand, I feel amalgamated with the hoi polloi,’ he remarks while sipping beer in his new local. As his friend drolly replies, ‘You are the classic everyman.’
Kelsey Grammer (centre) and Nicholas Lyndhurst as Frasier and Alan, with a colleague
Having played Frasier for two decades, was it difficult for Kelsey to return to a role he’d mined so comprehensively?
‘I’ve always been amused by the people who used to say, “How do you play a character for that long?” I’d jokingly say, “Well honestly, how do you live for that long?”’ he counters, when we speak before the Hollywood writers’ strike.
‘Frasier is a remarkable sort of innocent. The world always surprises him.’
Reviving a much-loved show comes with inherent risks and in the case of Frasier perhaps doubly so, given that many of its favourite characters are missing from the reboot.
Gone are Frasier’s brother Niles and his wife Daphne, as well as his father Martin, who we learn has recently passed away (actor John Mahoney died in 2018).
Instead, Frasier finds himself in Boston, back where it all started with Cheers (Frasier was set in Seattle).
His career as a radio and TV shrink is behind him and he’s teaching at Harvard University. He’s also attempting to forge a closer relationship with his son Freddy (played by British actor Jack Cutmore-Scott).
Yet it soon transpires that Freddy had far more in common with his blue-collar grandfather Martin than he does with his own dad.
Having dropped out of Harvard against his father’s wishes, Freddy now works as a fireman and shares modest digs with his roommate Eve (Jess Salgueiro).
And just as Frasier struggled to relate to his father in the original show, the new series sees him attempt to bond with his son.
He’s helped, and often hindered, in his quest by his old Oxford chum Alan Cornwall, now a professor at Harvard.
Niles, Roz, Frasier, Daphne and Martin in the original series
He’s played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, another TV legend thanks to his role as Rodney in Only Fools And Horses, and he steals virtually every scene he’s in.
‘The quickest way of telling you something about Professor Alan Cornwall is the brief on page one of the script: “Alan is British, boozy and out of f***s to give.” And I thought, “Yeah, I can do that,”’ says Nicholas.
Apathetic and lazy, he couldn’t differ more from his uptight friend, yet the two share a bond.
‘I would say that Frasier hasn’t had a true friend before,’ says Nicholas. ‘But sometimes you have a friend where you can just sit in silence for hours. You don’t have to say anything. I think Alan is that to Frasier.’
Nicholas and Kelsey worked together four years ago in the West End production of Man Of La Mancha and Kelsey personally selected Nicholas for the part.
‘He’s one of the best actors in the world and he’s one of the funniest people alive,’ he says.
This is a welcome return to our TV screens for Nicholas, who was last seen starring with his son Archie four years ago in the CBBC series So Awkward.
The next year Archie died from a brain haemorrhage aged 19, and the show dedicates its opening episode both to him and to John Mahoney.
Indeed, while the memory of Martin Crane is felt in the show, so too is the echo of Niles and Daphne. Their son David (Anders Keith) accompanies Frasier to Boston and, with his prissiness, bears a strong resemblance to his father.
Frasier’s old radio producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) and ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) also appear in the ten-episode run, setting the stage for the return of the successful shrink whose only problem is communicating with those closest to him.
‘It’s always been cleverly written,’ says Nicholas. ‘It’s always been hugely entertaining and he finds himself in all sorts of situations now. I think viewers will be intrigued.’
For fans of the original, says Nicholas, returning to the show will feel ‘like putting on a lovely warm jumper’. As long as the jumper is made from 100 per cent pure cashmere, Frasier Crane will almost certainly approve.
Frasier, from Friday, Paramount+.
Source: Read Full Article