Rowan Atkinson: It's a shame comedy is dismissed as froth
Actor Rowan Atkinson has said it is a "shame" comedy is dismissed as "froth" in the arts world.
The Mr Bean and Blackadder star will return to television screens on Easter Sunday in the title role as fictional French detective Jules Maigret.
Atkinson, 62, spoke to the Daily Mail's Weekend magazine about "lightening up" the pipe-smoking character for the new film, titled Night At The Crossroads.
Talking about employing the same skills to a role, be it comic or serious, he said: "The skills I'm employing to play Maigret are exactly the same skills I use to play comedy roles.
"Yet there's a sort of general disregard for comedy in the arts world. It's thought to be inferior. But I think comedy is actually, generally speaking, more difficult than the serious stuff.
"And yet because it's comedy it's dismissed as froth, which is a shame."
The new instalment of the ITV series sees Maigret investigating after the body of a diamond merchant is discovered in a car.
Atkinson also recently played his famous character, the bumbling Mr Bean, in a Chinese film titled Top Funny Comedian.
"It was just a cameo appearance. I just played Mr Bean. I didn't have to speak," he explained.
"The good thing about Mr Bean as a character is he's very self-contained."
:: Maigret: Night At The Crossroads will be on ITV on Easter Sunday at 8pm.