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'It was because Hustle was so big and so popular [it frequently attracts more than 5 million viewers] that I needed to be seen being someone apart from Mickey.
He had become such a sort of face that when I was going in to auditions it was like, "Oh you're that guy." So people expected some aspect of that guy, and it became a bit of a curse.' Now, having starred in BBC1's Bonekickers, Lester says it's the writing, by Tony Jordan (of Life on Mars fame), that's brought him back.
'The appeal of Hustle has always been that the con artists are actually very moral – we've simply made the villains the heroes, and the good guys always come out on top,' says Lester.
It's indicative of Hustle's Robin Hood outlook that the majority of the police officers who feature in Hustle are untrustworthy or corrupt.
But in reality the 40-year-old Lester says that he felt he needed a break from Hustle for more prosaic reasons.
'When I left to take other parts, it was a bit of a paradox,' he says.
'I love doing theatre and musicals,' he says, 'but when we start shooting Hustle we film two episodes concurrently, with the scenes out of sequence.
Knowing where you are in the intricate plots at any one moment is quite – how shall I put this?
'What's been crucial to Hustle's success is the sense that the gang could survive in prison or on the streets.
If it came to handling or dealing with violence, Mickey would be fine, and that combination of qualities make him an unusual character to play,' Lester says.
'But it's the gambler in him that drives him on, and the gang is a sort of family.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating