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24 September 2014
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Roy Barraclough as Reverend Onan Van Kneck


Starts this autumn on BBC THREE


Roy Barraclough plays The Mayor, Reverend Onan Van Kneck


Comes from: Roy was born in Preston.

What's he been in before? Roy played Alec Gilroy in Coronation Street and has recently appeared in Holby City and Last Of The Summer Wine.

Did you know? Roy has had the honour of switching on the Blackpool Illuminations and there is even a waxwork model of him in Tussauds in Blackpool.


During the filming for Funland, Roy was hoping to be able to keep a low profile: "I wear a toupé for this part and I thought no-one would recognise me. But the first time I stepped out onto Blackpool promenade somebody said, 'Hello Alec!'


"So I was recognised straight away! I couldn't fool anybody!" he laughs.


Roy plays the Mayor of Blackpool, the Reverend Onan Van Kneck.


"He's running his mayoral campaign to clean up Blackpool, but underneath it all he's as corrupt as all hell!" explains Roy.


"He's a fun character to play because all his schemes always come to nothing and he's just made to look an absolute fool! He's very pompous and full of his own self-importance which makes it very funny when things go wrong for him."


Along with the rest of Blackpool, the Mayor is controlled by the evil Mercy Woolf, played by Judy Parfitt.


"Mercy is there the whole time to block him. He's in her power because she finances all his campaigns and so she rules him completely, although he likes to think he can stand up to her, but it never works. All his best laid plans come asunder!"


A comedy veteran, it's not the first time that Roy has been a part of a show which features a disturbing sense of humour.


"I think there's almost a comedy postcard humour in Funland. I remember when Les Dawson and I first started in the Seventies, we did some very extraordinary sketches that were quite surreal and really quite ahead of their time."


Roy has had countless stage, radio and television roles, but is probably best known for his role in Coronation Street, playing the scheming Alec Gilroy.


"There are lots of similarities between the Mayor and Alec because Alec never got his own way and always got his come-uppance. Alec was also slightly pompous and full of himself.


"But I think there's a nastier streak to the Mayor than there was to Alec. I don't mind playing nasty characters at all! At the end of the day the audience gets to laugh at the Mayor, although you know he'll stop at nothing to get to get his plans pushed through."


Roy is delighted to be back on home territory with Funland, having filmed in Manchester and Blackpool.


"I was born in Preston, so Blackpool was very local and as a kid I used to pop to Blackpool all the time. I used to love all those rides on the Pleasure Beach."


And Roy has had a chance to relive that experience whilst filming Funland.


"Mercy drags the Mayor onto the Big Dipper at the crack of dawn to put pressure on him to grant her certain licences which she needs. It's such a noisy clattering old thing and you get thrown about a lot, so I was a bit bruised when I came off!"


At the age of 70, Roy is not slowing down. "It's lovely when the work keeps coming in! When you leave something like Coronation Street, you wonder whether you will work again!


"But the last couple of years have been busy! Last year I worked on a BBC ONE drama called A Thing Called Love and earlier this year I was in Holby City.


"And then at Christmas I'll be going back to theatre to play Santa Claus in Santa Claus - The Musical at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, which I'm really looking forward to."



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