Richard Wilson was relieved to say goodbye to Victor Meldrew

Richard Wilson played Victor Meldrew for a decade credit:Bang Showbiz
Richard Wilson played Victor Meldrew for a decade credit:Bang Showbiz

Richard Wilson was relieved when it was suggested his comic alter ego Victor Meldrew be killed off.

The 86-year-old comedian had grown "wearisome" of playing the angry old man in 'One Foot in the Grave' - which ran from 1990 to 2000 - and was sick of fans shouting his catchphrase, "I don't believe it", while out in the street, so he was pleased when showrunner David Renwick came up with an idea to end the show for good.

Speaking in upcoming documentary 'One Foot in the Grave: 30 Years of Laughs' - which will air on Channel 5 on Friday (21.04.23) - Richard said: “I’d been doing it for quite a long while and I was getting a bit wearisome of being angry all the time.

“David said, ‘I’m thinking of killing Victor. What do you think?’ I said, ‘Kill him. Do it’.”

“I got the catchphrase shouted at me everywhere. In foreign countries, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s got here as well’.”

But while Richard was aware the show was ending and Victor would be killed in a hit-and-run, it came as a shock to the rest of the cast when they received their scripts.

Angus Deayton, who played neighbour Patrick, said: “I had no idea that it was going to be the final series until I saw the script for the last show and saw that Victor was going to die.”

And Doreen Mantle, who starred as Jean Warboys, added: “I was very sad. I didn’t want the series to end. But it was time that it ended.”

Richard praised his co-star Annette Crosbie, 89, who played Victor's long-suffering wife Margaret, for her comedic work.

He said: “She had never done a sitcom. But she was a very good comedian. She was quite straight, in many ways. But her comedy was very well done.”

Angus added: “Richard’s character is obviously the sort of serious one and Annette is a slightly lighter, jollier one. Annette was actually the more serious of the two and Richard was always playing jokes, keeping everything light and jolly.”