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24 September 2014
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The Legend of the Tamworth Two
Kevin Whately is Wolf

The Legend of the Tamworth Two

Kevin Whately is Wolf

Viewers might not instantly recognise one the country's best-known actors when he appears in The Legend of the Tamworth Two: Kevin Whately underwent something of a transformation for his latest lupine role, Wolf.

With long dark straggly hair reaching down below his shoulders, big bushy eyebrows, a moustache and beard, the famous face of Morse's Sergeant Lewis and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet's Neville is all but vanished.

Kevin admits that it was something of a marathon to be ready in time for filming everyday: "The biggest thing I had to deal with was the make-up which took at least three hours a day - more if they had to do my hands as well (which have really long, claw-like nails and are very hairy).

"It's certainly the biggest make-up job I've ever had to do on screen. I suppose it's comparable to being a panto dame in the theatre which I have done a couple of times. But obviously I look a bit more scary as Wolf!"

Although inspired by the real-life tale of Butch and Sundance's tale of daring-do, Wolf is a completely fictitious character.

He is a hunter and hates pigs so when he hears of the pigs' escape he is horrified and offers to help the owner track them down.

Kevin explains: "Wolf is just like a panto villain or the baddie from a fairytale - like the big bad wolf who huffed and puffed!

"He's a very strange character. He's someone whose whole life was destroyed by a chance encounter with a pig and, as he became more and more obsessed with capturing and killing pigs, he's become more and more wolf-like.

"He's a hunter but his job is taking him over anthropologically and transforming him into a wolf. Basically he's as mad as a hatter!"

Although Kevin has explored some dark and disturbing characters throughout his career, playing Wolf was a very different experience: "He's very different to anything I've ever done before and I didn't really know where to start with him, so I modelled him on Robert Shaw in Jaws.

"It's never really explained where Shaw comes from but he just appears in his ramshackle boat tracking sharks, and I felt Wolf was a bit the same."

The Legend of the Tamworth Two was filmed in the Isle of Man with eight little pigs playing the roles of Butch and Sundance, but despite tracking them across the island, Kevin spent very little time with his porcine co-stars.

"It was completely surreal to make but I had little to do with the actual pigs. I think I only spent about an hour with them during the whole shoot just letting them out of a van and walking with them across a yard. That's it!"

Kevin is used to the rural life and being on a farm having worked as a farm hand when he was younger.

"Where we lived was surrounded by dairy farms and I used to go and help out as a kid. And my cousin owned a farm. I used to spend my summers working there and helping out with the harvest. It was the best summer job to have."

Now Kevin is just finishing work on a new film for ITV before preparing for the filming of a special Auf Wiedersehen, Pet later in the year.

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