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Hugh Laurie “Snubbed”

Note: I wrote this a couple of days ago, but managed to forget to hit the publish button.
If you look around on Google News today, you’ll see a few stories about Hugh Laurie:
Laurie ‘snubbed’ after US success
BBC News, UK – 1 hour ago
Actor Hugh Laurie has said Britain has turned its back on him since he became a success in US TV serial House. The award-winning star told the Radio Times …
Door slammed’ on US TV star Laurie
The Press Association – 9 hours ago
Actor Hugh Laurie said Britain has turned its back on him since he found fame across the Atlantic. Laurie is the star of US TV drama House in a role which …

Laurie: ‘Britain slammed the door on me’

Digital Spy, UK – 2 hours ago
By Beth Hilton, Entertainment Reporter Hugh Laurie has claimed that the UK “slammed” the door on him after he landed a role in US medical drama House. …
Laurie: ‘I’m off the job market’
Channel 4 News, UK – 5 hours ago
Actor Hugh Laurie has said Britain has “slammed” the doors on him since he found fame in the US. The actor, who has won a Golden Globe and Emmy nominations …

All of the above currently sit under the top search for his name on Google News.
Yet arguably only the Channel 4 News headline accurately reflects what Laurie has to say.
Let’s step back for a moment. This story has come from an interview that Laurie’s given to the Radio Times – sadly not currently on line. The interview is with Andrew Duncan, the title’s chief interviewer, and is to promote the return of Laurie’s long-running US series House, which returns to Five in the UK next week.
It’s pretty common for Radio Times interviews to generate press stories, and I’d suspect that’s because they have a great PR team who send out a release highlighting a few choice quotes from the interview to generate a “story” that the press might like to pick up on. It all harks back to Nick Davies’ recent book and his detailing how PR generates news.
All fair enough. But is it?
Does the story that the press has picked up on accurately reflect Laurie’s thoughts – at least as reported in the actual interview?
First of all go away and read the BBC’s story.
Go on. I’ll wait.
The first three paragraphs of the story are as follows:
Actor Hugh Laurie has said Britain has turned its back on him since he became a success in US TV serial House.
The award-winning star told the Radio Times the hours on the show are “relentless” and he has not been offered any work in his home country.
“The door slammed behind me, and that’s it. There’s a notion that I’ve sold out,” said the performer.

So it’s clear that Laurie’s been really busy and not offered any UK work. Then we get that quote:
“The door slammed behind me, and that’s it. There’s a notion that I’ve sold out,” said the performer.
Well Laurie does say the words. But not in that order, and not just those passages alone. Here’s the original paragraph as published by the Radio Times, with my emphasis:
Some of his friends are wryly cynical. “I understand that. I’ve been sceptical about actors going on a Hollywood adventure. It smacks of hubris: you think, no good will come of it – which is often the case. There’s a notion that I’ve sold out. Sold out what exactly? There’s a peculiar British attitude that I took an oath I wouldn’t be successful, and reneged on it.”
And then the piece continues:
Success doesn’t mean that he’s been offered cameos in American sitcoms. “I’m off the market. There’s no time to do anything else. The hours are relentless. I haven’t been offered anything in Britain either. The door slammed behind me and that’s it.”
Again, the words are there. But surely it’s important to put this in the context of his “relentless” work schedule meaning that anything else is impossible to do.
The reality of taking a lead role on a US series that runs for upwards of 22 episodes a season is that you have a hiatus in the early summer when you can either have a decent break or work on a film or other short project. That’s all you have time for.
Do no British producers really want Laurie in their series? I very much doubt it. But then again, they’re well aware of House’s success. It’s absolutely guaranteed to be returning for a fifth season in the autumn since it’s right up there with the CSI franchise as the most successfully dramas on US television, and so there’s no real point in trying to get Laurie a role in the next series of Lark Rise to Candleford or whatever.
But does the “door slammed” comment mean he’s bitter? It’s hard to tell without having been at the interview, although it does perhaps read a little like that. Yet in the context of the wider interview, it seems less so. Laurie simply knows that at this point in his life, he’s busy continuing to work on a very successful US drama production with no end in sight.