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Stephen Graham opens up about the nerves of playing comedy

Stephen Graham (David Parry/PA)
Stephen Graham (David Parry/PA)

Stephen Graham has said he was “quite nervous” to take on a comedic role in police series Code 404.

The actor, best known for turns in gritty dramas such as Line Of Duty, This Is England and The Irishman, turns his hand to comedy in the Sky One series.

Graham, 46, said his on-screen partner, played by Daniel Mays, 42, had helped him overcome his fears and learn to play the straight man.

1917 World Premiere – London
Daniel Mays at the premiere of 1917 (Ian West/PA)

He said: “At first I was quite nervous actually. I said to Danny: ‘I can’t do this mate. I don’t really know what to do here.’

“And he was great with me because he is such a generous actor and a lovely fellow, and he was just like: ‘Just do what you do. Just play it normally. Just find a truth in it.’

“So I was like ‘Okay’ and that was where I found my place in it.”

Mays, who recently appeared in the Sir Sam Mendes film 1917, plays DI John Major, while Graham stars as his partner DI Roy Carver.

The series follows the pair as DI Major is gunned down on the job and killed, before becoming the first officer to be brought back from the dead using experimental artificial intelligence.

Graham said: “As is with the classic double act, I am the straight man. Dan is off doing all his wacky things and his face, just some of the faces he pulls…

“But he is so great. His comic timing is so brilliant. So I just try and play that fellow who is a little bit pissed off and a little bit miserable.

“But I am miserable because now he’s come back. I am happy but it’s that…

“So I try to play that duality and that drama. Hopefully, from that situation comes the comedy. I really enjoyed it. It was great fun.”

Code 404 will air on Sky One and Now TV from April 29.

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