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Harry Hill collars Julie Walters for new film comedy

13 Dec 2013 8.15am

WITH the thick spectacles, black suit and statement white collar, the man who walks into the room looks a lot like Harry Hill.

However, there’s none of the exaggerated gestures or facial expressions he’s known for on TV Burp. He quietly introduces himself, takes a seat and starts to chat.

“I’m always having ideas that I write down in a little book. Most of the time I can’t persuade anyone to put any money into it but every now and then, like this year, I’ve had two crazy ideas that I actually got people to take seriously,” says the 49-year-old.

The first big gig is I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical, which he’s been developing with Simon Cowell and opens in London’s West End in early 2014.

We’re just fine-tuning it, really. It won’t be until we get into rehearsals that we find out what works and what doesn’t.”

The second project is The Harry Hill Movie, which marks a much longed-for leap from the small to big screen and opens next week.

Hill came up with the idea as TV Burp – his hit show – reached its conclusion in 2012.

“Normally, films take years to come about, but the worst thing for comedy is to put it on a shelf,” he notes. “Somehow, comedy dates. I don’t know how or why but it does, so I’m pleased we could turn it round in 18 months.”

Julie Walters plays Hill’s rapper Nan. He said: “I thought there’s no way she’d say yes. People love Julie and it makes it more like a proper film, rather than something that’s straight to DVD.”

The plot sees Hill and Nan taking pet hamster Abu to the vet who wrongly diagnoses him as terminally ill.

Hill then incorrectly translates Abu’s dying wish to be a trip to Blackpool, and the trio head off to the seaside resort.

Hot on their heels is the vet, who’s actually the henchman of Hill’s evil twin brother, Otto, who has his sights on revenge for being left to be brought up by Alsatians. Much silly, anarchic family fun ensues. There are even a couple of musical numbers.

Hill doesn’t deny that the movie provides a peek into the workings of his mind. “I think a lot of comics have a unique world,” he says.

“People always say it’s surreal but to me it’s silly, a bit like The Goodies, or maybe Monty Python. That British thing of talking puppets and so on.”