OTB Meets… Hollywood Royalty Robert Vaughn

BBC One’s conmen crime drama Hustle bowed out in February after eight series and 48 episodes. It’s remarkable the team of charlatans managed to swindle so many people out of so much money over so many years to be honest. One slip and the whole team would have been chucked in the slammer. Due to the programme’s enduring popularity and repeat-viewability, Sony Entertainment Television purchased the rights to broadcast the entire series.

One of the stars of Hustle is Hollywood royalty Robert Vaughn, who plays grifter and card sharp Albert Stroller. Vaughn’s film career saw him appear as one of the title characters in The Magnificent Seven and as co-star alongside Steve McQueen in Bullitt, but his best-known role is that of the suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s espionage TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I caught up with him to discuss his time on Hustle.

“First things first, have you ever been conned yourself?â€? I inquire, following a brief introduction. “Not that I’m aware of, no!â€? he responds, in a manner every bit as calm and self-assured as Hustle’s Albert.

As the conversation moves on, I ask him about his memories of Hustle, particularly which episode he is most fond of “..the one where my long lost daughter turned up (played by Claire Goose in the series 7 episode “The Deliveryâ€?),â€? he says. “That same episode had Hannah Gordon, who played an old partner of Albert’s in the same episode. She was my favourite guest star of the whole series.â€?

Fans of the show will be desperate to find out whether the show is finished for good, or whether it could return in the future I say. “We wrapped the final season and there currently aren’t plans to make any more.â€? he replies.

I badger him about the chance of the show making a big screen outing instead. “A film is possible. I know that 20th Century Fox has the rights to it, but I don’t know anything about it past that.â€? Very much a case of “watch this spaceâ€? then.

Earlier this year Vaughn rolled up in Manchester for a short stint in Coronation Street, a world away from his Hollywood beginnings. I asked him how his experience on Weatherfield’s cobbles compared to his previous film and television work. “It was a faster pace than I’m used to in terms of television but it was very pleasant. I enjoyed it very much.â€?

Finally I ask him about his future projects. He says: “I have a movie coming out in the spring, called Excuse Me For Living. It’s a romantic comedy about an outstanding athlete who’s recovering from drug addiction.â€? That sounds more like a tragicomedy, I think to myself, but I look forward to seeing it nonetheless.

Hustle series 7 launches on Sony Entertainment Television (Sky 157, Virgin 193) on Tuesday 9th October at 8pm.

David Lintott is on Twitter and blogs at Donkey Rhubarb.