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24 September 2014
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Max Beesley in Hotel Babylon

Hotel Babylon – second series coming soon to BBC One

Max Beesley plays Charlie Edwards, Deputy Manager

Some would say that Max Beesley at the age of 34 has already lived two lives and juggles two very successful careers, one as a musician and the other as one of the UK's most sought after young actors.


When the second series of Hotel Babylon transmits Max will have just returned from a tour of Australia with close friend Robbie Williams.


During filming Max also played with Robbie on some of his UK dates and often left the set on the back of a motor bike to perform with Robbie then get flown back again by helicopter to his hotel to be on set the following day.


He also performed with James Brown at London's The Round House and was introduced by the legendary singer as one of "the greatest drummers in the world". But all this is a long way from his early days in Manchester.


"I messed around in school a lot trying to impress the girls and make them laugh while they were the ones laughing at me about to fail my A-levels – almost, but not quite!" he muses.


"I am incredibly ambitious now and still have nightmares where I dream I am taking all my exams between the ages of 11 and 18 in one week and haven't done enough work.


"So now I have this weird OCD with anything I do and an almost blind ambition with everything I do – I just want to do things well. I get a kick out of working very hard and making things happen."


Beesley admits that this is most likely to do with his upbringing. "My dad is a grafter yet an artist and my mother was an absolute survivor who worked hard all her life. We didn't have much dough when we were growing up but we never wanted for anything. Things like central heating we didn't have at all but it wasn't like a "woe is me" struggle all the time because dad looked after us really well."


Later, Beesley, at the age of 11, obtained a scholarship to study musical training at Chethams School of Music in Manchester followed by London's Guildhall School of Music.


"My upbringing and childhood definitely helped to mould a nice amount of compassion and warmth in my heart and, especially in the area I grew up in (Burnage), it could have gone the other way. It was a working class life and upbringing but I was fortunate to have artistic parents who could help channel my skills towards other things."


Max was three when he picked up his first drumsticks and can play piano, drums and percussion well but humbly admits that he could probably do alright on most instruments.


After a stint at the Guildhall he joined Paul Weller's band as a session musician and went on to perform for the next six years with musicians including The Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, George Benson, George Michael, Chaka Khan, and Take That but it was his father that was to play yet another pivotal role in shaping Max's future.


"I was back in Levenshulme in Manchester from being off somewhere on the road and my dad showed me Raging Bull one night and it changed my life – I decided there and then I wanted to be an actor."


"So I phoned someone I'd met at the MTV awards who knew De Niro and coaxed her to find out who his acting coach was. I then rang Sheila Grey in New York and said I was doing theatre on Broadway and asked if I could have a class with her and that was that.


"I flew out there for a year and spent all my money. I did fess up to her about half way through the course which she took very well – I think she knew all along," he adds.


He is optimistic about the second series of Hotel Babylon and was overwhelmed by the success of the first run. "Now the drama is set in its format, the writers and directors have really developed the characters and given them more to work with.


"The writing this year is really funny and Charlie is really settled into his role as Deputy Manager. He is still the people's pleaser and someone they can all go to and have a vibe with – he is very fair and is always making sure everyone has what they want and need to make the hotel run smoothly," he declares.


"Romantically, since he's been shot," he continues, "his whole outlook on life has changed and he is no longer dating Jackie – in fact he is dating nobody, is back to the old grindstone of the hustle and bustle of work and he does miss her."


"However there is a romantic liaison between Charlie and Tamzin that is worth waiting for and it happens towards the end of the series. But does it go anywhere?"


Since filming ended on the last series Max squeezed in a Bodies finale which was broadcast in December.


"I think the Bodies special was the best thing I have ever been involved in to date," he says. "The writing and the thinking behind it is just incredible."


"Babylon on the other hand is fun and entertaining and like nothing we have seen on television before. Charlie introduces the audience to the hotel and in a sense is the character that carries the viewer through the series."


Next year is set to be a busy year for Beesley and we see him swap the suits of Babylon for the more streetwise gear of a night-time, DJ in a new drama for ITV.


"I play a DJ called Mitch in It's Only Love which begins filming in January – it's a bit of a Cold Feet meets This Life comedy drama with very subtle nuances and I am really excited about that. And of course it is written by Danny Brocklehurst who is a genius."


Having travelled the world and lived the rock star life for six years Beesley is keeping quiet about his experiences of staying in five-star hotels. "Let's just say I've seen a few television sets go flying but I can't tell you who was behind or in front of them," he laughs.







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