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Open Daws.

Byline: Phil Gould

ROBERT Daws is a man on the edge. Not only did he spend a day dangling from a cliff-side in high winds, but he's been chatting to a dead business partner in his dreams.

However, as always in his profession, not everything is quite as it seems.

Daws' death-defying activities on the coast were part of filming for a new series of 1960s doctor drama The Royal, while the ghostly visitations come during the long-awaited latest run of Roger Roger, the popular comedy drama based around a mini-cab firm.

It's three years since Roger Roger last graced our screens, with Daws' character Sam Mountjoy - the firm's owner - going through the wringer as his childhood friend and business partner Dexter became depressed and eventually committed suicide.

The 44-year-old actor doesn't think viewers will be put off by the break. 'I don't think the gap will make any difference to the audience really, because you don't have to have watched any of the past episodes to watch this one.'

The time-lag was largely due to the extreme working commitments of writer John Sullivan, who also created Only Fools And Horses.

'We finished the last one and another was commissioned but John had two more big shows to do and then I wasn't available,' he says. 'It was one of those things.'

Sam's life hasn't got any easier since we last saw him, with the deceased Dexter now haunting his dreams. And according to Daws things are set to deteriorate even further. 'He has moments - he's tortured. He's a man who is desperately trying to get by.'

Off-screen, Daws is currently getting used to becoming a father again. His baby daughter Elizabeth Kate was born in June - the climax of a hectic year when his life was turned upside down. After a whirlwind romance he married Amy Robbins, his co-star in The Royal, last February.

The new arrival is Daws' second child - he already has a two-year-old son, Ben, from his eight-year marriage to actress Amanda Waring. He has said of finding love with Robbins: 'It was certainly unplanned. We'd both left long-term relationships and the last thing we were looking for was one another, but that's life.'

His very successful career on television - which includes playing Tuppy Glossop in the adaptations of PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels - and in the theatre is also, he suggests, similarly unplanned and he says he has been lucky.

He has also never made a conscious choice between television and theatre work, and is not sure which he prefers.

'I have to say I like both for different reasons. In television, the key tends to be doing your homework. Short-term memory is very acute because you're working on scenes that you only do once and they're in the can.

'Whereas with theatre it's more long term, and the delivery is different.'

One of the things that irritates Daws is the condescending attitude towards screen actors that persists among thespians.

'There's a huge snobbery in this country about acting. But some wonderfully rich talents work in television, the likes of John Thaw and David Jason.'

After Roger Roger, Daws will be back on our screens in the second series of The Royal which they are halfway through filming.

'This time I'm trying to treat someone halfway down the rock face, but who knows where I'll be tomorrow!'
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 27, 2003
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