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The Independent Culture
September Song (ITV Mondays) stars comedian Russ Abbot in his first TV drama. How did he adapt? Gareth Morgan, producer: 'You are asking someone very experienced in a certain field to find a new field; I had to lead him to it. He was extremely astute, his antennae were always out and he grew in the part over about eight weeks. He is playing a very ordinary man, and that is a very hard part. He adapted wonderfully.'

David Richards, director: 'Russ approached it very tentatively, rather nervously; he was very aware of his own limitations and his main shortcoming was his lack of confidence at the beginning. He learnt from his co-star Michael Williams how to underplay, to do less and let the feeling come from inside rather than stick it on like a mask. We tried to locate parts of his personality which had similarities with the character he was playing: Russ puts a lot of value into being kind, considerate and pleasant and we tried to bring out this decency in the characterisation.'

Ken Blakeson, script-writer: 'As soon as I saw him, I thought he could play the part because he was totally unlike the Russ Abbot I'd seen on TV.'

(Photograph omitted)