Renowned film and television actor Ray Winstone plays Jimmy Rose in ITV's new three part drama, The Trials of Jimmy Rose. The actor talks about starring on the series which can be seen on Sunday evenings at 9pm on ITV from August 30th.
How did you get involved in The Trials Of Jimmy Rose?
It was down to the director Adrian Shergold, basically. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Adrian on several occasions. ITV had approached him and he came to me with the idea. Once they say, ‘He’s a guy coming out of prison,’ I go, ‘Oh, hold on.’ But then you read the script and you see it’s not actually about that. It’s about family. It’s about what a man does to a family when he’s banged up for 12 years. He destroys them. He loses his kids. They’re growing up in a world that’s changing but he’s not. He’s standing in the same place. His wife Jackie’s (Amanda Redman) world has changed. His kids’ world has changed. And he hasn’t been there to protect them.
Jimmy wants to protect his family. Do you empathise with the character?
It’s my way of living. It’s where I come from. And where our age group comes from. You have a responsibility and a morality to look after your own and to deal with it yourself. We never used to call the police. If there’s a silly argument today, someone calls the police. Years ago it was dealt with. Not necessarily in a fight. But in a row someone said their piece and they went in and looked you in the eye and you said what you had to say. I just think those days have gone. Everything’s become very PC. Everything’s become almost like America, ‘You touch me, I sue you.’ Years ago if someone was out of line they got a clump and that was it. Forgotten about.”
Is Jimmy Rose an illustration of how extended families today are often dispersed where once several generations lived within a few streets of each other?
That’s what’s different today. Because that’s how it used to be when I was a kid. Your nan lived there, your uncles lives there, your mum and your sister were all there. And the people in that street grew up with your mum and dad and that was the community. London, like all cities, changes. Cities get bigger and people only live in the areas now where they work. When we had that explosion where people started moving away to go to work, it broke the communities up. That’s just the way it happens. That’s just the way it is. And I think we lost that community and that sense of justice and looking after your own.”
As Jimmy leaves prison he sings along to Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’. Is it a favourite of yours?
I went, ‘Listen. I’m a smoker and a drinker and my voice is nowhere near Francis Albert’s.’ And we played about with it a bit. But they’ve done it in a great way. It’s just what Jimmy loves and it’s the era he’s from. He’s a Francis Albert fan.”
He quotes Isaac Newton: For every action there is a reaction…
That’s how Jimmy says he has lived his life. But I don’t think he realises the implications of that early on. He’s learned that in prison by reading. For every action there’s a reaction. Well, yeah. He got 12 years for armed robbery. And that’s also what’s going on with his family now. So maybe he is beginning to be wise to it but he’s still got to be told.”
Jimmy is disoriented when he first arrives home after being released. Everything has changed and he struggles to use a smartphone…
I’d like to say that because I’ve got four girls in my house I don’t know how to switch a kettle on. But that’s not true. I remember my little girl Ellie when she was seven, this was seven years ago, I didn’t even know how to turn a computer on. She taught me how to use a computer at seven years of age. I was oblivious to it. I can now email because she spent time and taught me how to do it. I keep the same telephone because it takes me probably two or three months to sort out how to work the new phone. I buy the same phone all the time so I know exactly how to work it. You have to remember, we started off on Motorolas and all that. You’d just press a button. It was like a house brick. But now it’s all these fiddly little things and touch screens. I’d be absolutely lost without my daughter.”
Did you enjoy working with Amanda Redman again, who plays Jimmy’s wife Jackie?
I love her to death. I’ve worked with her a few times now. I don’t know whether underrated is the right word because she’s not underrated by people within the profession. She’s up there with the best actresses who have ever come out of this country, I think. And I know that from working opposite her. I’m a friend of hers, so I’m a bit biased anyway. But she’s never failed to deliver in anything she’s ever done.”
A special delivery of flowers arrives for Jackie. Are you prone to romantic gestures?
Not to that extent but I buy flowers all the time. I always buy flowers. Not just Christmas, not just Easter. We have flowers in the house. I’ve got a lovely lady down the road who knows the flowers I like. I’m very good at picking them. And I’m very good at arranging flowers. I’ve just always done it.”
Did you enjoy filming The Trials of Jimmy Rose in Manchester?
My wife is from Manchester. I got married there and lived there for a couple of years. I had an amazing time working on it and it was a pleasure to get up every morning to go to work. It really was. The crew we worked with were fantastic. And, hopefully, if people like this then we can do some more.”
Courtesy of itv