Speaking to the Telegraph recently, Atkinson says he was put off stage acting by his appearance in a series of Chekhov shorts called The Sneeze in 1988. “It was a success, but I made the mistake of signing up for six months and I lived to rue the day,” he said. “That more than anything was what put me off theatre. I couldn’t understand what the point was of doing the same thing every night. I found it was a case not so much of reinventing the wheel as presenting the wheel again and again”.
But now the Blackadder star appears to have had a change of heart, prompted by his Whatsonstage.com Award-winning role as Fagin in Oliver!. “I had the strange feeling in the middle of the run, for the very first time, that I was in a worthy profession,” he said.
Of Quartermaine he added, “What I love about him is his optimism. You don’t tend to feel much sympathy for pessimistic people but those who retain their optimism despite the sadness of their lives are interesting, engaging and sympathetic.”
Quartermaine's Terms runs at Wyndham's Theatre from 23 January to 13 April 2013.