Gordon Warnecke brings Christmas Carol to Jackson's Lane

Gordon Warnecke s acting CV covers several pages. The Whittington-born actor s done everything from Dr Who to the RSC, taking in performances at the National Theatre and in Zeffirelli s Young Toscanini on the way. One of the roles he s most regularly rec

Gordon Warnecke's acting CV covers several pages. The Whittington-born actor's done everything from Dr Who to the RSC, taking in performances at the National Theatre and in Zeffirelli's Young Toscanini on the way.

One of the roles he's most regularly recognised for is Omar in My Beautiful Launderette, lover of Daniel Day Lewis's character, Johnny. I should confess at this point that I've always had a slight teenage crush on DDL, so I ask Warnecke the question he's been asked 1,000 times before: what was it like kissing him?

"Aaargh." (It's a mock-groan - at the question, not the memory). Then he starts laughing.

"I hope people ask Daniel what it's like kissing Gordon Warnecke," he quips. "I can't get excited about that kiss. I like girlies. I do remember being bloody cold. We'd got to the set and both eaten a massive breakfast, after which they announced we were starting with the kissing scene. I had to gargle a bit of Listerine, stand back and think of England."

It's not the most glamorous image, I say.

"No," Warnecke agrees. "About seven years ago my ex-girlfriend got cast in the Martini ad opposite George Clooney. She's having a party, there's a knock on the door, she opens it and there's George. And she says, 'Sorry, no Martini, no party,' and closes the door in his face. So she's filming that in Barcelona and I'm flown out to stay with her. I get to Barcelona about midnight and the taxi takes us to the city's best hotel. I go up to the roof. There's a pool filled with bottles of Martini and there's George Clooney surrounded by 15 incredibly beautiful models. And I thought, 'Yes, this is what this job's all about, this is rock and roll'. And has anything like that ever happened to me? Fifteen old ladies in a launderette in Vauxhall just isn't the same."

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Well... no. And Warnecke's latest role is heavier on the fingerless gloves than the beautiful models. He's playing the downtrodden Bob Cratchett in this year's Christmas show at Jackson's Lane, A Christmas Carol, which opens tonight.

"It's a modern-day version of A Christmas Carol," says Warnecke, "a comic drama set in Highgate. The set's beautiful: we've got the whole of London on-stage."

The show follows the conventional Dickens plot - curmudgeonly old miser is visited one night by three ghosts, the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas future. Will the spooky spectres succeed in getting grumpy Scrooge to change his ways?

But there are some surprises along the way including puppetry, shadow play and a skirt-swirling spot of flamenco.

There's a special voiceover by Meera Syal and Scrooge is played by comic actor Andy Fox. "He's getting into role," says Warnecke. "He made me make him a cup of tea this morning."

The show's suitable for children from four upwards with the show's darker moments balanced with funny scenes and an ultimately happy ending. And it lasts just under two hours, including the interval.

"It's funny," says Warnecke, "and it's moving. It's a tale of redemption and forgiveness and greed." All quite resonant Christmas themes...

A Christmas Carol is on at Jackson's Lane, Highgate, from December 11 to January 4. For tickets call 020-8341 4421 or visit www.jacksonslane.org.uk.

Katie Masters