INTERVIEW: Dirk 'Faceman' Benedict brings Columbo to Llandudno


David Waddington

AFTER battling Cylons and being on the run for a "crime he did not commit", Hollywood actor Dirk Benedict will be stepping into the shoes of detective Columbo this month when Prescription: Murder comes to Venue Cymru.
The Pioneer caught up with the outspoken actor ahead of the tour to find out about the show and the menace of movie remakes.

"Acting is the worst job in the world - it's for children," griped Dirk from his south England base.
Like his enigmatic turn as Templeton 'Faceman' Peck in the legendary 80s series The A-Team, Dirk Benedict is a man who can enthral, shock and entertain with nothing more than a phone call.

As controversial as he is endearing, his return to theatre in the stage adaptation of Columbo marks a return to his passion - the live stage.

But it was the script, not the show, which attracted the actor.

"I never watched the show," admitted Dirk. "People don't believe me when I say that - and I didn't tell the director! I didn't need to see anyone else playing it. If I'm going to make love to a beautiful woman I'm not going to want to watch someone else do it first - I like to figure it out on my own."

Despite his refusal to study the mannerisms of the muddled Peter Faulk, the performance still came through.

"The director is a big fan and kept on saying 'You're doing Peter Faulk - it's unbelievable', but it's all there on the printed page. There's a lot of room to play with him. As the tour goes on I'll play with the part a little."

It is this freedom on stage which Dirk thrives on, and something he feels the celluloid world is sadly lacking.

"[Lack of experimentation] is one of the hells of TV and film," said Dirk. "I started in theatre then I got a job in Hollywood and never could get out of it. I was always portrayed as a good looking beach bum. I had success and never went back to the stage.
"When I first started in film it was about perfection - do it once put it on film and that's it. On film if you do it more than once you get "stale". My dream was to be a stage actor, but people said you're a good looking guy, you should be doing movies and get to LA - I was always insulted by that."

Insulted he may be, but globally recognised performances as a 'soldier of fortune' and a pivotal role in Battlestar Galactica saw him become a household name.

"I was very fortunate to be in these show and I was a good actor, not just a good looking guy. I was a good actor and that comes through. Both these parts were written for me. In both instances the networks wouldn't have me. Creative people loved me, network people hated me."

Nevertheless, his affiliation with Face still continues, with Dirk confirming he will be making a cameo in the much-touted Hollywood adaptation of The A-Team. Just don't ask him what he thinks about it.

"I have no hopes for that movie," he bluntly confirmed. "I went up to do a five second cameo along with Dwight Schultz ['Howling Mad' Murdoch] - we keep in touch. Me and Dwight, and George [Peppard who died in 1987]... he's up there laughing.
"They have too much money - it destroys creativity. When all that computer generated effect work comes on you'll forget it was a cartoon action comedy."

Having made his mark in film, tackled reality TV in the Celebrity Big Brother house, come face to face with cancer - and won, put his stamp on the literary world and is now returning his first-love of theatre; Dirk Benedict's long and eclectic career is surely the envy of many in the industry.

And with two North Wales dates allowing the actor a chance to follow another of his hobbies by sampling the mountains of Snowdonia, Dirk must love it when a plan comes together. 

  • Columbo - Prescription: Murder will be showing at Venue Cymru in Llandudno between April 26-28. For more information or to book tickets contact the Box Office on 01492 872000 or visit the website at

Extra Face-Time
More from our exclusive chat with Dirk Benedict.

What do you think of the new A-Team cast?
I met all the guys and they're all sweet guys. I don't see Liam Neeson as Hannibal, but Bradley Cooper [Face]... I don't know.
They have a South African guy playing Murdoch who Dwight thought was fantastic. But the guy playing BA? Good luck to him with that iconic character.
They've been trying to make an A-Team film for 25 years. I have read three scripts - each worse than the last. It had to have a girl and it had to have expletives. One of them had the Faceman turn out to be the villain - I had to chuckle.

You spent some time in the Celebrity Big Brother house - have you ever been a fan of reality TV?
I have done everything. I've starred in major films. I have starred in major TV shows. I have starred in Broadway plays and I have done reality TV.
I have written articles on reality television being the end of civilisation. I used to joke 20 years ago and what I was describing is reality TV. I said they'd put cameras in homes and it would be like monkeys in a cage - and everyone will have one.
That was in 1986 when I talked about that.

What was the experience like for you?
When I was offered this I was raising my sons myself. They were very excited and thought it would be very cool if I was locked up.
It was like being in a very nice prison.
You can't choose your bunk mates, you sleep together, cook together, and they are people you wouldn't ever normally want to spend time with.
The food was nothing for me. All I needed was a bowlful of rice.
I ordered four kilos of rice, the vegetables were coming in. That's all I need - and what i'm eatring on this tour. I have no addictions except cigars.

So how were your housemates?
Helpless. Hopeless. Just totally hopeless.

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