The star of gritty British dramas such as The Football Factory and Vendetta highlighted the “snobbery” around UK soaps, which remain some of the highest rated scripted series on British television.
Dyer joined the BBC One series, which is based around a community in East London, in 2013. He has since picked up National Television Awards and TV Choice Awards for his role as pub landlord Mick Carter. Speaking on ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show, he said, “It’s mad because towards soap there is a bit of snobbery and I think I was part of that mob when I was making films, you think you’re cool and cult. I never really got acknowledged for being an actor until I went into a soap.”
“I know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t get me on any level and I totally respect that but there are people who want to vote and say ‘We really like what you’re doing.’ I don’t think they vote for me as a person, or even as an actor, I think they vote for the character. I’ve been blessed with a really good character and that’s maybe what they vote for… It’s such an honour to be given that moment of glory,” he added.
Dyer is fast becoming a British national treasure in the vein of Michael Caine, helped this summer after a clip of him talking about Brexit and former Prime Minister David Cameron, went viral.
His next character arc involves mental health issues and anxiety, a growing issue in the UK. “He is struggling with anxiety attacks and I think this mental health thing, it’s very prominent at the moment, especially in men. I know as a human being we deal with anxiety, there wasn’t even a word for it 15 years ago, ‘anxiety’, no one really knew what it was. That idea of just impending doom, you don’t quite know why so they’ve given Mick this storyline where he’s trying to be the glue that holds everything together when actually behind-the-scenes he can’t breathe properly and he thinks he’s having a heart attack and it’s trying to play it right. I’ve never had a panic attack in real life. I have had anxiety but to try and portray it… It’s reached a lot of people.”
Next up for Dyer, is a BBC remake of gameshow The Wall, which was originally exec produced by LeBron James for NBC. He admitted that it was hard being out of his comfort zone. “It took me a little while to get into it. It’s harder than I thought, being a game show host,” he added.