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Life according to… Actor Stephen Graham talks comedy, US slang, and upgrading his brain

© SkyStephen Graham in Code-404
Stephen Graham in Code-404


So what’s the set up for your new comedy Code 404?

It all starts off with two detectives, Roy and John, on a stakeout.

You get the feeling that they’re best friends but something’s happened between them. And then something horrific does happen – one of them gets killed.

Six months later, John (Danny Mays) turns up as I’m bringing flowers to his grave. As you can imagine, that’s a bit of a surprise.

How do you find working on a comedy versus heavy, dramatic roles?

I love my work. I’m very blessed. I love what I do. And this was something different to what I’ve been doing recently.

The show runners approached Danny first and gave him the concept and the idea, and I think it was him who threw my name into the hat, which was really lovely of him.

You’re the straight man of this duo. Did you enjoy that?

Yeah – it’s all about finding another string for your bow.

I don’t normally get to do comedy, and I love comedy.

Throughout my childhood I was brought up on the likes of The Two Ronnies, Morecambe & Wise – all those great double acts, and I really wanted to give that a go.

And of course, Danny is so funny… physically the things he does with his body are hilarious.

Having played American characters yourself, what’s your favourite Americanism?

Douchebag! Yeah, ya douchebag. And “buddy”, because when I’m over there I’m saying “mate”, and they’re all saying: “Hey, buddy”.

How do you rate yourself with tech?

Absolutely awful. My children, Grace and Alfie, they’re the ones that help me out with technology.

I’m always asking: “How do you do that?”, “What does that do?”, “Can you get that thing on my iPad?”

If I’m honest, and this sounds terrible, I think I’ve only sent three emails in my life.

If you could upgrade or augment anything about yourself, what do you think you’d choose?

My brain capacity. To hold more lines in my head when I’m learning them!

I’m dyslexic, so I have to read and reread a lot, and I record the lines and listen back while I’m taking the dogs out and keep playing them over and over.

The key with acting is to try to make it look like you don’t know what you’re saying anyway.

I’d give my brain retention a double boost. A hard drive upgrade!

You and your co-stars, Danny and Anna Maxwell Martin are all Line Of Duty alumni. Is that what pulled you into this show?

Of course. I don’t take myself too seriously, but our careers have been based on intense, gritty, drama. That’s what we try to capture in this – take that essence then also have the quality element.

Stephen Graham appears in Code 404. All episodes available from April 29 on Sky One and NOW TV.