We caught up with actor Jim Norton, who played a variety of characters in T-Bag Series One (Trouble With T-Bag). Here's what he told us...
Actor Jim Norton has appeared regularly on our screens throughout an extensive film and television career, with roles in Father Ted, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Doctor Who, to name just a few. What many viewers may not realise however, is that Jim starred in the very first series of classic 80s children's TV show T-Bag, alongside Elizabeth Estensen (Tallulah Bag), John Hasler (T-Shirt) and Jennie Stallwood (Debbie). Twenty five years on, Revelation Films caught up with Jim Norton as he recalled his memories of working on one of the most popular kids' TV shows of its time.
As an established actor whose television credits date back to 1965, Jim did not have to audition for his part in T-Bag. Discussing the series with director Leon Thau over a cup of tea, Jim decided that this would be 'a fun project' that he would like to be a part of.
As the only cast member required to play a different role in each episode, T-Bag saw Jim taking on a multitude of personalities, accents and costumes, as he became characters including Polar Pete, Indiana Inkspot and Jim's favourite, Rascally Roger. 'I just concentrated on each character as I was doing it. We did not have a lot of rehearsal, so it was quite an intense experience.' Unsurprisingly, the line from the show that has stuck in Jim's mind is his character The Gardener's trademark phrase, 'Oh me oh me oh my oh my!'
Whilst the rest of the cast were regularly recognised for their roles in T-Bag, Jim's multiple characters meant that he could maintain an air of anonymity: 'I am pleased to say that I was so well disguised that nobody ever knew that it was me!'
In addition to their fantastic acting skills, the cast of T-Bag were required to demonstrate their vocal talents in every episode, something that came easily to Jim: '... I trained as a singer, and started my career as a boy soprano. Being able to read music was a help, as we had very little time to rehearse and record the songs.'
T-Bag is an experience Jim thinks back on fondly, sighting child actors Jennie Stallwood and John Hasler as delightful to work with, and very talented. 'The scripts were really good, and Terry Trower wrote some witty songs (at very short notice). All I had to do was learn my lines, and not bump into the furniture!'
Jim Norton stars as Camel in Water For Elephants with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, in cinemas April 2011.
Click here to buy T-Bag Series One