Nicholas Lyndhurst Joins the Cast as Frasier's Friend in the Reboot of 'Frasier'
A spinoff of any sitcom is always risky, especially when there is a high standard to live up to. Frasier broke the mould by being as well-received as its predecessor, Cheers. The titular bar was a place for a group of friends to meet and discuss their daily lives, bringing well-known stars such as Woody Harrelson and Rhea Perlman on the scene. As one of the bar-goers, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) brought a dry wit, which transferred well to his own show. Back in 2019 and 2014, Grammer also starred in two of our own productions, 'Grand Isle' and 'Breaking the Bank', both filmed at our studio!
Though its 11th season wrapped up in 2004, Frasier is back this year, airing on Paramount Plus starting October 12th. Among the cast will be some familiar faces, including Roz, and the series is set to honours the late John Mahoney. However, a new character (and new actor to American viewers) has picked up a key part in the show, bringing a new layer to what fans know of Frasier's life.
The series picks up years after where it last finished, with Frasier having moved back to Boston from Seattle, now retired from his profession. Another major change will be that Nicholas Lyndhurst is playing the part of Alan, a friend from Frasier's days at college. As Grammer explained, having a true friend of Frasier's in the show is a completely new concept. He did previously have his brother Niles, whom he had a connection with, which came from both being psychiatrists, but that also added a sense of rivalry. Then there was Martin (Frasier and Niles' father), who could never understand either of his sons. He was somewhat distanced from their careers and had preferences that differed from theirs. As an example, enjoying professional sports didn't match up with the choice of entertainment for Frasier and Niles, which was usually theatre or opera.
Even during his time on Cheers, Frasier wasn't completely in line with the regular personalities on the show. His relationship with Lilith was arguably ill-fitting, never enabling him to be himself. From what's been revealed so far, Alan's level of intellect is comparable with Frasier's, though he doesn't choose to use it very often. His boozy, British demeanour will seemingly be the thing to keep the iconic sitcom character on his toes and allow the comedy to remain fresh. It's been suggested the friendship will show Frasier in the truest light, and now that he's at another phase of his life, Alan could be the key to Frasier understanding himself.
For American viewers, Lyndhurst is an unfamiliar actor who has suddenly cropped up in one of television's greatest spinoff shows. But for British audiences, Lyndhurst is a household name. His credits include Goodnight Sweetheart and David Copperfield, but his biggest and most well-known part was Rodney Trotter from the sitcom Only Fools and Horses. The comedy, which started in the early '80s, took viewers on a journey in a three-wheeled van with brothers Rodney and Del Boy (David Jason) in the hope that one day they would find their fortune in the working-class streets of Peckham. Their lower social status put them through hard times, but with a splash of cockney charm and a proactive attitude, Del would always find a way to keep them afloat.
In an interview, Grammer praised Lyndhurst by describing him as "one of the funniest people I've ever worked with." And considering the comedic actors he has starred alongside, the statement shouldn't be taken lightly. The artists met in 2019 when they both worked on Man of La Mancha at the London Coliseum. Grammer wasn't unclear in his expression of adoration toward his fellow actor, with whom he is overjoyed to work with again. If Lyndhurst has been able to contribute the high standard of acting that British audiences know him for in past projects, then it comes as no surprise that Grammer also learned of his ability.
The creators of the past seasons of Frasier set a precedent that Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli will be expected to follow, albeit with their own take on how they believe Frasier would be currently living. The previous 11 seasons received numerous awards, collecting 37 wins at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Before Frasier began, it had a lot to live up to because it continued the legacy of Cheers, one of the best TV shows ever. However, it held its own, not overshadowing Cheers but acting as a brilliant extension of an already marvellous show. Now, that show is in the process of extending its own legacy, and Lyndhurst will be a big part of that.