Kelsey Grammer has said rehearsals for the much-anticipated revival of US sitcom Frasier begin in two weeks, with “gifted” Only Fools And Horses actor Nicholas Lyndhurst among the cast.
The American actor, 67, made his name as psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane on the American sitcom Cheers before getting his own spin-off show which ran for 11 series from 1993 to 2004.
Grammer said he had heard the award-winning comedy is set to return to TV screens in July but hoped to see the show air “a little earlier” because of the excitement surrounding it.
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The series, which previously starred Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, David Hyde Pierce as Dr Niles Crane and Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, will see 61-year-old actor Lyndhurst play Frasier’s old college friend, Alan Cornwall.
Grammer told BBC Radio Bristol: “We have the magnificent Nicholas Lyndhurst joining the cast. Nicholas and I met doing Man Of La Mancha about three years ago at the Coliseum and fell in love basically.
“I adore him, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with and I accuse him of being a bit of a sandbagger because you don’t see him coming and all of a sudden he’s getting all the laughs.
“He’s a very, very gifted man. We’re going to start rehearses in a couple of weeks.
“He’s playing an old friend. It suddenly occurred to me when we were putting the show together, we’ve never really seen Frasier in a relationship where he has a great friend.”
In the classic BBC sitcom Only Fools And Horses, Lyndhurst played Rodney Trotter, the less streetwise younger brother of market trader Sir David Jason’s Derek Trotter (Del Boy).
Lyndhurst is also known for time-travelling sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, which ran for six series on BBC One from 1993 to 1999 and returned in 2016 for a one-off special, and crime series New Tricks.
Speaking about the Frasier reboot, Grammer said the audience will see a man “who is still discovering himself” which is what he finds “interesting to play”.
During its run, the Seattle-based comedy picked up a host of awards and won widespread critical acclaim, with Grammer winning Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for his role in the show.
The series picked up 37 Emmys from 107 nominations overall.
Speaking about why he thinks Frasier became a hit series, Grammer said: “What I think they recognised in the character from Cheers was that he could evolve, that they didn’t really tap him yet.
“And so, what became of Frasier once he became the centre of his own show was he got more complex, more interesting, he became the centrepiece of the show and it actually was the other characters became the satellite characters that Frasier was on Cheers.
“Frasier was not the chief or the focal point of Cheers but he became the sort of centre of a satellite universe, and the satellites revolved around what was going on in his life, but the best thing I did was to get out of the way and stop trying to get a laugh and let everybody else get it.”
Grammer also said he has a “fondness” for the episodes of the show that “tugged on our emotions” – including the episode where he discovered it was his mother who had an affair and not his father.
“That was a big emotional show for me for some reason, I don’t know why, that recognition that they’ve been through something similar, Frasier having been jilted a few times,” he said.
The American actor added that he was in talks with Take That’s Gary Barlow about the “possibility of appearing in the English version of Finding Neverland”.
Grammer added: “It’d be great… It’s a terrific show. It’s so full of love and magnificent music and didn’t quite get its dues in America and so I think it’s high time it was mounted here in England.”
He made his Broadway musical debut in 2010 in La Cage Aux Folles as George, a role which saw him nominated for a best performance by a leading actor Tony Award.
He also won acclaim for his roles as Charles Frohman and Captain Hook in the Broadway premiere of the Finding Neverland musical.