Inspector Lewis' Kevin Whately
Tea Time Tidbit for the week of July 25, 2016
Kevin Whately as Inspector Lewis
We’ve been watching Kevin Whately as Robbie Lewis for almost two decades now, starting in 1987 when his character was a Detective Sergeant, supporting the late John Thaw’s Chief Inspector Morse. For the last decade, since his promotion, Lewis has had his own sidekick – DS James Hathaway, played by Laurence Fox. The two partners couldn’t be more different. The down-to-earth, no fuss and frills, Geordie accented Lewis, and the private school educated, lover of all things cultural Hathaway. In real-life the two actors are from equally dissimilar backgrounds.
Whereas Fox grew up the son of one of England’s preeminent acting families (he is the son of actor James Fox), life for the Northumberland born Whately could not have been more different. His father, a Commander in the Royal Navy, died at the age of 53, leaving his school teacher wife to bring up their four children, which included 17-year-old Kevin. To fund his drama school training in London, Whately was a busker in the tube stations. That was in the mid-1970s and it wasn’t until 1983 that he got his breakthrough role in the comedy series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, where he played a migrant construction worker.
Whately still enjoys playing guitar and he reunites with his "Auf Wiedersehen" friends every other year to perform at the Sunday for Sammy benefit concert in Newcastle. The fundraiser was started in 2000 in memory of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet actor and Newcastle born, Ronnie "Sammy" Johnson, who was just 49 when he died in 1998. The proceeds go to support young performers from the Newcastle area.
In the course of his acting career, Whately has appeared in numerous television series, including the Miss Marple adaptation A Murder Is Announced, where he played Detective Sergeant Fletcher. His West End stage roles include Juror number 8 (the Henry Fonda role) in Twelve Angry Men.
Whately currently makes his home in the Milton Keynes area of Buckinghamshire with his wife, actress Madelaine Newton. The couple have two children, Kieran born in 1985 and Kitty, born in 1983 and the mother of their 5 year old granddaughter Ivy. You might recognize Whately’s wife as Morse’s love interest in Masonic Mysteries. Newton also hails from the North East and, according to an interview Whately gave to the Telegraph Travel section, one of their favorite things to do is take a break by heading up north back to their roots.
“While I'm driving north”, said Whately, “I'm already thinking about kippers – it's worth the journey just to have kippers for breakfast on Saturday.”
That sounds exactly like something Lewis would say! You can see Whately as Chief Inspector Lewis Sunday nights at 8pm in series 7 of Lewis on MPT.
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