Now the Brighton actor is bringing his laid-back charm to the role of Shakespeare for the most expensive episode ever of Dr Who. He talks to Bella Todd about tackling monsters, on-screen masturbation and Diego Maradona. Basically it's about these witches. Or are they Plasmavores? They've got broomsticks and they use words to create powerful magic and dark destruction.
And they have a voodoo doll of me, Shakespeare, and they make me write a play. Basically they're conjuring spirits and bad things, alien life forces Described by director Phil Collinson as "the most expensive episode ever", the second instalment in the new series is one of the most anticipated in Dr Who history.
Here they encounter William Shakespeare Kelly , who has to give the performance of his life in order to save the Earth from destruction by forces from the dawn of the universe.
There has also been some unofficial talk of "blood-sucking alien Plasmavores" in this episode, but here even the fans seem to be as clueless as Kelly. But Daleks never registered in the Kelly boys' childhood. Actually, this makes the 32 year old the perfect guest star for a revival, now into its third series, whose winning ingredient has been the tone of comically outraged normality.
It also makes Kelly a clever bet to portray Shakespeare for a teatime audience. They wanted him to be more like a 15thcentury rock star. The director kept saying to me, Think Liam Gallagher with lyrical genius.
He grew a beard, made the most of his chest hair "I love that people think I had a chest wig in Shameless - it's all mine! I tend to avoid them because my legs are quite short and you can look a bit dumpy. Although close-ups were shot using replicas of the theatre, the crew spent three nights in the Globe on London's South Bank. But the force of the Globe's history only struck him when he took to its boards himself.
I didn't really think about it until the bit where the crowd start shouting Shakespeare, Shakespeare! In the script it actually says, Shakespeare arrives like a rock star. Sorted, his first job after leaving Shameless in , was about a group of Manchester postmen. Dead Clever, a black comedy which aired on New Year's Day, was set in North Yorkshire and saw him play a drunken, philandering husband.
He is about to start filming The Cranford Chronicles, a five-part serial based on the novels by 19th-century Mancunian writer Elizabeth Gaskell. He will play a father of eight and star alongside Judi Dench. In fact, Kelly grew up in Lytham St Annes, a seaside resort near Blackpool which he describes as "a posh little town where we got out of the bath to go for a wee".
The double-barrelled name isn't real, mind: We didn't get on too well. He had secured the part of Shepherd, but botched it by dropping his sheep as he was due to go on stage. He still has the tie. For a time, Kelly tried his luck as a stand-up comedian. I ask him to tell me a joke and he leans into the Dictaphone, low voice, serious expression: I realised, if I went to drama school, that was the next three years covered.
The play was The Grapes of Wrath: Coyle was cast as the year-old granddad, Kelly the drunken old uncle. The pair share a mischievous sense of humour, and recently furnished The Independent's How We Met section with a heart-warming interview in which Kelly told the journalist, "When we hug we hold each other longer than we should".
When Coyle married fellow actor Georgia Mackenzie in , Kelly was best man "I've been best man four times," he says. It's the best audience you'll ever play to.
I like to get up, wait for everyone to go really quiet, maybe take a drink, then take the mic and, absolutely deadpan, go, I give it six months'.
Married to the peroxide blonde loud-mouth Veronica, he was solid, warm-hearted and up for a party, whether he was nicking the council's Diana Memorial Garden for his girlfriend, encouraging the local tart-with-a-heart to "cheer up" Fiona's ex in the bogs or proudly unveiling a drinks cabinet tackily disguised as a beer barrel.
One style section even decided that Kelly, as Kev, was "the coolest man on television". I quite liked his clothes, too.
I used to sneak some of my own stuff on - all those nice retro Seventies Adidas tops were mine. That's not very Kev. Every one seemed to watch it - because the heart of it is family, and everyone's got mad family.
And Kelly was charged with setting the tone in the very first episode, lying stark naked on faux leopardskin sheets with his legs at 20 to four. It was a very cold day and there were five people in the room, all of them men. There was another bad episode at the start of the second series when Kev had a crush on his reading teacher and I had to pretend to masturbate a few times on camera.
That was really embarrassing 'cos it was a female director and she was kind of giving me notes about what my position should be like. Trust me, lady, I'm doing it right. To be honest, I'm past 30 now, and I'm getting to the point where I'm a bit more worried about what I look like.
My girlfriend's brilliant about it but basically you don't want to see the person you love and have a baby with knocking one off on telly. Kelly is a massive music fan, who last year entertained an Observer journalist at this same Brighton pub with a pile of cherished old vinyl and a Seventiesstyle portable record player. They have a campervan in which they take off to music festivals when Kelly gets a break from filming. He has a Fender acoustic but claims his repertoire consists solely of Let it Be.
Kelly and Garrett first met in a pub in London, before Kelly fled the capital for the coast three years ago.
The pub was packed with people watching Manchester United play Arsenal, and the actor's attention was caught by the sight of a lone woman who seemed to have no interest in the game whatsoever.
He has just been up to London to record the voiceover for something called The Real Dirty Dancing, opening line: Directed by Gareth Carrivick, it's a sci-fi comedy "I only take work at the moment if there are monsters" penned by writer and comedian Jamie Mathieson "in response" to Shaun of the Dead.
Kelly does a better job of relaying the plot on this one. A lifelong Liverpool fan, as a child Kelly had hopes of becoming a professional footballer. He was eventually invited to play one, in the satirical film comedy Mike Bassett: England Manager but unfortunately, the player in question was a washedup alcoholic more prone to streaking than scoring.
Initiated by Robbie Williams and presenter Jonathan Wilkes, it saw two teams comprising celebrities and World Cup legends take each other on under the titles of England and Rest of the World.
I only had four weeks to get fit and I hadn't been on a full-size pitch since I was I was driving up to the Downs and running every morning, in among the sheep. When it came to the real match, at Old Trafford, playing in front of a crowd of 74,, the adrenaline buzz was immense. I was like, All right Dave? His personal moment of glory came later, back home in Brighton, when he watched back the tape of the game. Oh, and Kelly takes the ball off Maradona! In my career there isn't a greater moment than that.
I don't mean my life, obviously, 'cos that's me and my girlfriend and our baby. But careerwise, nothing tops it.
Not even playing Shakespeare.