For actor Stephen Mangan, the biggest thrill about nabbing the role of Postman Pat in the brand new CG-ed movie version of the BBC children’s classic was telling his two children that their dad was going to be the lead. “They were beside themselves with excitement,” he beams proudly.
Mangan was nine years old when Postman Pat made his BBC One debut in September 1981. He was just that little bit too old to have been a fan the first time round, but found himself becoming one when watching the newer episodes with his three-year-old. “I’m often sitting there watching Pat at nine o’clock in the morning with my toddler when I’m not working,” he says.
There was really only one choice when it came to finding a voice for the big screen Pat Clifton. One of our most cherished comedy actors voicing one of our best-loved children’s TV characters? It’s a no-brainer. But for Mangan, whose small screen credits include Green Wing, Episodes and multiple turns as host of Have I Got News For You, stepping into the shoes of Greendale’s bespectacled postie came with a crushing weight of expectation.
“I didn’t want my three year old in the cinema with his mouth open going, ‘That’s not Postman Pat!’” he says. “So the pressure was on to sound like him. I had to make him sound as close as I can to the TV character.”
The Greendale Factor
Postman Pat: The Movie sees our favourite rural postie eschewing stop-frame model work for the first time in favour of cutting-edge CGI. The film sees Pat swap the green-soaked lushness of Greendale for the big city lights after he wins an X Factor-style singing competition (judged by Simon Cowbell).
If you’re thinking you’re going to get to hear Stephen Mangan flex his singing muscles, then sorry to disappoint (“If it was me singing jaws would be dropping to the floor with the wrong kind of astonishment,” he laughs).
No, Ronan Keating, Boyzone’s honey-voiced lead singer, takes over vocal duties for the talent show scenes, much to Mangan’s relief. “I went to see a screening of the film recently,” recalls Mangan, “and the only other person in the screening room was Ronan Keating. We did have a laugh at being two halves of the same person.
But if you know me, and you know the way I sing, then obviously you’re going to be going, ‘Hang on a minute, you’re not that good!’ But I’ve had some people coming up to me who have seen the trailer saying what an amazing singing voice I have. Naturally I haven’t told them why I sound so good in the film – they can discover that at a later date!”
What do you think – will Stephen do a sterling job as Greendale's finest? Post a comment and let us know.
Postman Pat: The Movie is released on 23rd May.