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Mongrels: sitting in bins

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Dan Tetsell | 12:50 UK time, Monday, 19 July 2010

Marion and his favourite tippleThere are a lot of great things about being an actor. The bouquets of flowers, the floppy velvet hats, the golden taps flowing with the finest champagne the licence fee can buy - though if Jeremy Hunt is reading this, I should point out I'm joking; at most it's the second finest champagne. One of the bad things, though, is all the standing around while other actors speak. Not being the absolute centre of attention? It's kryptonite to any actor worth his salt. And, as my agent assures me, only really good actors are paid in salt.

Destiny and NelsonMarion, the cat of indeterminate nationality that I voice on Mongrels, spends a lot of time sitting in a bin while Nelson and Destiny (the feral animal's Tim and Dawn) get on with some quality acting. Now, if I'd actually had to be there, I'd have chewed my leg off with boredom. Standing around? In a bin? Not saying anything? I might as well have been an extra - and not a Ricky Gervais-style extra who seems to be able to talk to Kate Winslet without getting tazered. I'm a bloody actor and I can't get within 500 feet of her. Legally.

But here's the beautiful thing about puppets. They do all the sitting around in the bin for you. While Rufus Jones and Lucy Montgomery (the feral animal's Tim and Dawn) were recording whatever it is they say (I only listen to my bits) I was sitting on a sofa outside the recording studio reading Cloud Atlas and shouting at a runner that my frappucino was insufficiently frapped. I didn't have to sit in a bin once. I didn't even have to visit the Isle of Dogs - and any job where I don't have to visit the Isle of Dogs is as good as a Bafta.

So let's hear it for the puppets. Without them I'd have had to sit in a bin.

Listen to the voice of Dan Tetsell as Marion in Tuesday night's Mongrels at 11pm on BBC Three. Dan is also script editor for Newsjack, the Radio 7 sketch show.



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