Prison Wardens

A strange reunion as Craig and Hattie team up to appear in bizarre SF favourite Lexx.

23 March, 2001

With a curious echo of the last series of Red Dwarf surely in mind, the producers of cult SF show Lexx - currently screening in the UK on Channel 5 - have placed Hattie Hayridge and Craig Charles into their coming fourth series.

Prison Wardens

Hattie plays Heidi, a Texan prison warden, with Craig appearing as her husband - albeit without the Texan accent - in the episode P3X. "It was good," Hattie told, "because I'd never acted with him that way before - [as Holly] I was always in my separate bit."

Asked how this bizarre partnership came about, Craig said, "I think Hattie was offered the part originally, and once she'd said yes to it, they thought they'd make it sort of a Red Dwarf-y tie-in. Hattie plays this Texan - a cross between Jerry Hall and Daphne from A Streetcar Named Desire - and I play this English governor in a Texan jail. I'm the warden, she's my sub-warden and my wife. We've got this daughter who is completely insane..."

Did he know what he was letting himself in for? "Lexx is like S&M meets science fiction It's a very sexy show - I felt like a dirty old man half the time. During the filming, sometimes I just thought, 'I hope my wife doesn't see this'."

Hattie agrees: "They said it was the most risqué one they'd done - half-naked men holed up in dungeons. Naked women in the showers in the women's prison..."

Hattie remembers the costume being particularly fun: "The costume woman said, 'Oh, you're much thinner than I thought you'd be. Maybe we'll change it when you get over here...' She was imagining a great big, fat Texan! I was meant to be wearing trousers and a shirt - it was a little bit Cell Block H-y. But when we got there, me and the make-up women and the costume women got together, all girly, and made her a bit more Dolly Parton! It's still prison uniform, but I wear a shirt that's two sizes too small and a really short skirt. They curled my hair up - just a few curls, my own hair."

"Hattie is horrible in it!" Craig insists. "She's horrible - the wife from hell. She's really mean - the wife from hell! She constantly insults me." Hattie agrees: "It's a marriage not made in heaven. We were thinking, 'Where would we have met?' Because I'd obviously never been out of Texas. He must have been passing through when we met, and married."

But perhaps the most memorable part of the shoot was the weather. "Halifax, Nova Scotia - the coldest place I've ever been," Craig shudders. "It was like minus 20 over there! They had the worst recorded level of snowfall since records began while we were over there. It was great - like a big winter wonderland."

Although - Craig being Craig - there is one other abiding memory: "All the cast are really nice. Michael McManus is a nice fella. Didn't really socialise with the girl who plays Zev. She's got remarkable lips. They can't be real! Apparently one of the cameramen was saying that sometimes they cast shadows!"

Craig's experiences of Canada can also be found on amongst his game reviews.

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