How Richard gives voice to cult hero

CAROLINE CULOT It was the weirdest interview I've done for a while when I phoned the mobile number provided to find that it was answered by none other than the bumbling Shaggy, piercing laugh and all.

CAROLINE CULOT

It was the weirdest interview I've done for a while when I phoned the mobile number provided to find that it was answered by none other than the bumbling Shaggy, piercing laugh and all.

Actor Richard Lynson, who plays him, had been requested by Warner Bros that if he liked, he could do his interviews totally in character. So there I was on a Tuesday afternoon speaking on the phone to a cult hero. This is the man who has solved a zillion crimes while still managing to eat those really large club sandwiches, whose catchphrases “yikes” will go down in history, who can boast a best friend who is a talking Great Dane. Wow – had I made it!

However, I had to admit that I really wanted to know more about the actor so Shaggy happily converted back to Richard for the interview. But how difficult had it been for him to play such a famous figure immortalised by the cartoon?

“It hasn't been hard,” he said. “It has just been weird walking through Tesco and seeing a tin of Scooby and Shaggy spaghetti hoops and there I am with my hair dyed for the role and a goatee and I say (in the voice of Shaggy) 'That's me!' That is kind of odd.

“But I was brought up with Shaggy, he's like a friend.”

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To get the part, Richard, who before this show was in the Reduced Shakespeare Company for three years, had to convince the theatre bosses that he could do the voice and so he watched lots of the cartoons to get it just right. “I kept thinking, this is great, this is work – watching cartoons,” he said. And although he did watch both the movies, he preferred to go back to the original Shaggy in the cartoons to get his inspiration for the role.

Richard has a lot of respect for his character and knows just why he has been so popular with audiences for so many years. “Scooby and Shaggy just want to have fun, have something to eat, yet find themselves in scary situations. They keep talking about running away but they don't. It's the human nature of them – the fact they face up to scary things in the end which makes people relate to them.”

Richard did not want to give much away about the production but said there are special-effects, there are 'ghosts', the Mystery Machine and a great baddie. One of his favourite scenes involves Shaggy doing a rap.

“I'm not a dancer but I'm having fun doing the rap, there is also a classic comedy scene with four doors and the monster,” he said.

So who could possibly miss it?

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