Day Of The Triffids: Brian Cox

Brian Cox plays Dennis Masen in The Day Of The Triffids. Dennis is Bill's father, but the two have been estranged for years. Bill cannot forgive his dad for not reaching out to him after his mum was killed in a horrific Triffid attack.

A fellow scientist, Dennis has devoted his life to studying the Triffids. Bill unwillingly seeks his father out, knowing that their combined expertise is humankind's only hope in their desperate fight to defeat the man-eating plants. Slowly father and son find their way back together.

The hugely-respected Scottish actor, whose distinguished CV features Deadwood, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Identity and Rob Roy, has long been a fan of The Day Of The Triffids.

"I've always loved John Wyndham's book," he declares. "It's one of the best pieces of science fiction there is."

The 65-year-old actor, who comes originally from Dundee, goes on to delineate Dennis's characteristics.

"Dennis is not actually in the book – both Bill's parents are dead in the original. But he provides a link to what Bill is searching for. Bill is looking for a connection to something broken in his life – which is his relationship with his parents.

"Both Bill's parents were scientists, but Bill is the direct heir of his late mother, who was the brilliant one. She grasped things that Dennis never could. Dennis is a perfectly good scientist who has become a very good PR guy. He's wonderful at selling science, but knows that's as far as he'll go in the field. It's quite understandable. When a scientist living on a small research makes a breakthrough, he thinks, 'right, I'll trumpet this and then sit back and enjoy the benefits'."

But at that point, Dennis became obsessed with his career – to the severe detriment of his relationship with Bill.

"Dennis deserted his son because he was off making his name as a scientist. Instead of attending to what he should have done – his son – he was off saving the world. But, of course, the task of saving the world begins with saving yourself. Dennis has been cut off from Bill, but now he's trying to right the wrongs with his son."

Brian, who made a memorably scary Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter, relished working with Dougray on The Day Of The Triffids. They both hail from the same area in the East of Scotland.

"We grew up just 40 miles from each other in a part of Scotland that is very separate from the rest of the country. When you come from somewhere like that it binds you together.

"Dougray and I had a terrific affinity on set. It's great to have that bond with another actor. One of the great pluses of working on this was the chance to get to know Dougray really well. It's lovely because we share the same outlook on life – we have the same wit and the same vernacular. We even added a few 'ayes' to the script!"

Finally, Brian underscores the lasting potency of The Day Of The Triffids.

"It's interesting that, as time moves on, this story has become a more and more pertinent allegory. It's a tribute to Wyndham's original, which has become ever more topical with the passage of time.

"You can absolutely understand it now in relation to what we're doing to our own environment – it's a simple matter of cause and effect. Of course, The Day Of The Triffids is still cracking entertainment, but it also carries a strong environmental message. It's a very powerful metaphor for how we behave."

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