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Philip Glenister interview

Philip Glenister on presenting new true crime series What the Killer Did Next and his favourite crime show
Phillip Gleneister presents What the Killer Did Next

What the Killer did Next is Crime+Investigation's brand new true-crime series that focuses on the actions of a killer in the aftermath of their crime. We grabbed five minutes with presenter Philip Glenister who talked to us about the challenges of presenting, why you need to look out for the over-the-top actors in crime dramas and what he's currently watching.

Is there any case that particularly stood out for you in What the Killer Did Next and why?

I think theHelen Bailey case from episode 1 stood out for me most because it made the national news. I remember following it and thinking at the time, ‘What was Ian Stewart thinking?’ What was the point of it when he could have had a perfectly decent life. What were his motivations? Was it greed? Was it narcissism?

What do you think is the difference between presenting and acting?

With TV and film work, you have to pretend the camera is not there in the room with you. You are used to blocking the camera out. Whereas when you are presenting, as an actor, having to look at the camera and talk down it is weird. But once you get over that it’s OK.

It's the same when you do voiceovers. Rather than thinking there’s loads of people going to watch this in a commercial, you just imagine you're just talking to one person, to a friend. It is the same when you are presenting to camera. Instead of thinking ‘There's a whole big audience out there,’ you just imagine you're just explaining it to somebody, face to face. Like I'm looking them in the eye, explaining ‘This is how it is and this is what happened.’

How did you make sure that you approached the cases featured in the show sensitively?

That's down to the whole team really. I think we're all aware that there are members of the family who are trying to get on with their lives as best they can. What we don't want to do is start sensationalizing what’s happened. I didn't try to put on an act when presenting, didn't try to hide behind a voice. You keep it as real and as natural as possible.

What do you think explains the current fascination with true crime?

You always know the characters, doing the bad acting - the somewhat over-the-top acting, shall we say - are not going to be the killer But that is kind of what’s required for those type of crime shows. They are what they are and that's what draws people in and that’s why they’ve been going so long.

What's interesting about the reworking of the Agatha Christie, the ABC murders over Christmas, is that it announces who the murderer is, pretty much within the first ten minutes. Then it's all about why they did it. We’re seeing more of this happening now in drama.

It’s the same with the What the Killer Did Next. You don’t need to see anything gratuitous but the focus is on how killers have tried to normalise their actions after committing a murder. If you took the premises of some of these cases and wrote them in dramatic form and showed them to a commissioning editor, they'd say ‘Hang on a minute, he went and had a Chinese after he killed someone. Nah - come on. That wouldn't happen....’

Do you have a favourite true crime podcast/box set etc?

What I watched recently that was really out there and a lot different from anything I've seen in a long time is Killing Eve. I binged watched it. So now I'm completely hooked and I can't wait for the second season. I think she, Jodie Comer the lead is just phenomenal. I really recommend it to anybody.

Are there any real-life crime cases that have shocked you recently?

Anything that involves children shocks me. Sometimes I find the reporting on it too much. I literally switch the radio off. Every time you hear about harm to kids, I can’t bear it. The spate of stabbings going on and the gang culture that's plaguing the cities is getting so out of hand. The government needs to combat this madness.

Is it more fun to play a cop or a killer?

It depends. I had a lot of fun playing Gene Hunt, in that respect but then I have played a few nasties in the past. They always say playing the baddie is a bit more fun because you get to go off piste a little bit. Again it depends on the roles. In Killing Eve, for instance, Jodie Comer plays a psychopath. That's such an amazing performance and an amazingly written part. But Sandra Oh who plays opposite her, that' an equally amazingly written part because they're both flawed they're both obsessed with each other for different reasons.