BLACKBALL director Mel Smith cast comedian Paul Kaye in his British bowling comedy because his wife found the maverick funny man deeply attractive.

Stocky Smith's former model wife PAM thought Kaye would be ideal as CLIFF STARKEY in the movie because she "fancied the pants off" the flame-haired man.

The director explains, "We looked at a whole lot of people to play the part but hadn't come to any decision. Then my wife saw the television series TWO THOUSAND ACRES OF SKY. She came home and said, 'Mel, I think you should screen test Paul Kaye - he's gorgeous.'

"I'm not exactly an expert on how to judge if another man is attractive, but I decided to give him a go. And do you know what? My wife was right. But I wouldn't let her near the set!"

Blackball is based on the story of real-life bowls prodigy GRIFF SAUNDERS, who ended up being banished from the game after upsetting more traditional players by rolling cigarettes, munching chips and hurling abuse at a club secretary mid-game.

31/08/2003 10:46