"He's morally bereft, very self-centred and has delusions of grandeur," admits Hugo Speer of his character. "He's labouring under this grave misconception that he is powerful, but he's just a little boss in a little sorting office. He's not a good man."
We soon learn that behind his friendly façade, Charlie hasn't been that much of a pal and isn't really one of the gang.
"He's morally bereft, very self-centred and has delusions of grandeur."
"What shocks me about him is that he fails to learn from his mistakes," reveals Hugo. "He gets caught out but he doesn't learn – he still believes he's got the right to behave this way. It's that sort of self-centredness, his ego, which I think is very unattractive about him.
"He must have redeeming features – but I don't know what they are!"
But it was these undesirable traits that attracted Hugo to the part.
"Charlie's quite fun to play. I think you spend your life trying to be the best person you can be, so to actually allow yourself to be morally slack beyond belief is fun.
"He just makes me laugh, you want to say to him 'Will you ever learn?!' Human beings are supposed to be self-correcting organisms, we're supposed to be the synthesis of our parents and get better all the time. But this guy's got a twisted morality and can justify the weirdest things to himself."
In the 1990s Charlie was a successful businessman with a timeshare company and property developments, but it all collapsed and he found himself working for the Royal Mail to make ends meet. Hugo thinks it was tough for him to take and that he relishes his recent promotion from postman to manager.
"He pays lip service to the chummy thing with the other guys but he loves being top dog. I think it puts him in a position where he feels comfortable. He wants to be mates but he's delighted that he's on top, that he's got his white shirt and his tie while the lads are still in their blue shirts and fleeces."
"My thinking behind this one was the Sven-Goran Eriksson look."
Talking about Charlie's image, Hugo reveals that he had a particular person in mind to model him on.
"My thinking behind this one was the Sven-Goran Eriksson
* look," says the football-mad actor.
"Here's a guy who's in a position of power, he's not an oil painting – in my opinion, though I'm not a girl - but he seems to be able to have these affairs and beautiful, glamorous women love him. So I thought I'd go for that look - the hair swept back (I pull it forward normally because it is receding), and the glasses.
"Admittedly Charlie is on a smaller scale, but that was the theory behind it.
"I like disguises anyway. My last job was Bleak House
and that was brilliant, getting big chops and a broken nose and all sots of weird things. It's part of the whole fun of the job, the acting thing – dressing up, just pretending to be other people and to have fun with it."
"Everyone's doing email now but that's a bit of a shame. A handwritten letter is personal and intimate."
"I've always thought that the Royal Mail are fantastic and it's amazing how quickly and efficiently they get things done. There is something quite noble about getting up early in the morning with the birds and delivering all these messages – often very intimate ones.
"I know everyone's doing email now but that's a bit of a shame I think. There's nothing better than a handwritten letter, it's personal and intimate and it's got their handwriting on it, which means something."
Despite that, he says it's not a job for him. "I couldn't handle the hours!" he grins.
Most famous for his role in hit movie The Full Monty
, Hugo's been a TV drama regular since the early 1990s.
His credits include 2005's award-winning Bleak House
, plus The Rotters' Club
, Hearts and Bones
(with Dervla Kirwan
and Amanda Holden
), The Debt
, and Messiah IV
He's also guest starred in The Bill
* and other film roles include Swing
and Gurinder 'Bend It Like Beckham' Chadha
's film Bhaji on the Beach
He fled the bright lights of London some 18 months ago to live in a quiet village near his childhood home of Harrogate.
For a list of credits visit the Internet Movie Database* »