Return of Logan Roy? Brian Cox reveals what he thinks about a spin-off

Did Logan Roy really die in Succession…? Despite his dramatic funeral no one actually saw the tyrant meet his maker. So maybe he should get his own spin-off show, says the man who plays him – a very mischievous Brian Cox

  • Brian Cox, from Dundee, reveals what he thinks of a spin-off show for Logan
  • READ MORE: It’s Succession in togas: Sex, corruption, backstabbing… 

As surreal experiences go – and as a man who was once chatted up by Princess Margaret, actor Brian Cox has had a few – watching his own funeral surely counts as one of them. ‘I didn’t want to watch it,’ he says. ‘But my wife made me!’

The funeral was actually that of Logan Roy, the ruthless media mogul played by Brian in Succession – the multi-award-winning TV series which came to an end in May. 

Logan dominated the series until his shocking death a mere three episodes into the final fourth season, which meant his thankless children – Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) – were free to brutally scrap over their father’s empire for the remaining seven episodes.

‘I didn’t mind being taken off the show, but I think it was probably too early,’ says Brian. ‘It was a bit upsetting to go that soon. But there was no point arguing the toss.’

So, what did he make of his final farewell? ‘I was a bit annoyed at some of the directing,’ he says. 

‘When you’re in a series for that long, you expect closure for some of the characters the audience has got to know, and I felt there wasn’t closure for certain characters such as Gerri [Logan’s legal counsel] and Logan’s wife Marcia. It struck me as a bit odd.’

Brian Cox, from Dundee, reveals what he thinks of a spin-off show for Logan. Pictured: Brian combing his silver locks 

Logan’s demise meant viewers were deprived for much of the season of his exhortation to anyone who displeased him to ‘f*** off’. ‘I’m pleased people missed him,’ says Brian. 

‘I felt Logan was misunderstood sometimes. Of course he was rough and his politics were questionable, but I didn’t think he was a villain.

‘He was trying to find a successor, but his kids had such an air of entitlement they didn’t deserve anything. They had no ideas; the ones they did have were terrible!’ he laughs. 

‘He told them they weren’t serious people and the show ends as he intended – with none of them getting the prize.’

Instead, it was Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), Shiv’s oft-humiliated husband, who became CEO of Logan’s company. ‘I think Tom getting the job was what Logan would have wanted,’ says Brian. 

‘Tom was very kind to him.’ It also forced Tom and Shiv – a couple who made the Macbeths look emotionally stable – even deeper into their twisted relationship. ‘Frankly,’ says Brian, ‘they got what they deserved too.’

The credits had barely rolled on the final episode before viewers started clamouring for a spin-off show – possibly featuring Logan’s forgotten son Connor. 

Mention the idea to Brian, however, and it elicits a fairly Logan Roy-ish response. ‘I think it’s a stupid idea,’ he says. ‘It would lessen the show’s impact.

‘Saying that, my fantasy is that Logan isn’t really dead – you never see him die, you just see someone lying dead on the plane. He could easily have faked his own death. Now that would be a good spin-off,’ he says. ‘The Return Of Logan Roy.’

Certainly, it would be a welcome resurrection for a character that’s given Brian, 77, some of the finest reviews of his six-decade career. 

Not only has he just received his third Emmy nomination for the show, it’s also put him in an unprecedented three-way Lead Actor tussle with his co-stars Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin. 

‘I don’t expect to win so I’m not bothered either way,’ he says. ‘But I’m hoping maybe Kieran should get it because he was wonderful, certainly in the funeral episode.’ And Jeremy Strong? ‘I’d better not talk about him,’ he chuckles.

Jeremy is famous for being a method actor, staying in character as Kendall even when not filming. Brian’s views about this are well-documented (‘it’s f****** annoying,’ he once remarked), but he says now, ‘I’ve talked enough about Jeremy. He has his process, as he calls it,’ says Brian, somewhat mischievously adopting his co-star’s American accent, ‘so I’ll just leave him to it.’

There’s a lot of mischief about Brian, who isn’t scared of voicing his opinions. ‘My problem is I’ve got too many of them,’ he admits.

‘I’m told by my family I’m supposed to shut up about woke and cancel culture because I know nothing about it.’

He’s unimpressed by the current move to cull words that are offensive to modern readers, such as the removal of ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ from the children’s books of Roald Dahl (‘I think it’s horrific. I feel if that’s the game, I’m not playing it.’)

Brian as Logan with his scheming family in HBO drama Succession. Brian says a spin off show would lesson the show’s impact 

And don’t get him started on the trigger warnings slapped on ‘offensive’ 80s sitcoms such as Hi-de-Hi! and ‘Allo ‘Allo. 

‘I love that wacky British sense of humour,’ he says. ‘There’s something innocent about it and yet we try to debase it and say, ‘Ooh, it’s not acceptable.’

‘Who are the people deciding this?’ he asks. ‘A bunch of f****** idiots. I mean, grow up! Stop being so bloody serious and enjoy stuff instead!’ Is he surprised he hasn’t been cancelled himself? ‘It’ll come. But let them. We’re so lost,’ he sighs, ‘we don’t know where we are.’

Brian is speaking from his home in north London’s Primrose Hill, where he’s preparing for his next project – Oliver Cotton’s play The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath. 

Directed by Trevor Nunn, it stars Brian as 18th-century composer Johann Sebastian Bach as he reluctantly visits the court of Prussia’s dangerous leader, Frederick II.

‘Bach was a purist and didn’t want to be involved with certain people so he spent his life avoiding them,’ says Brian. 

‘Frederick the Great was a warmonger, the Putin of his time, and Bach didn’t want anything to do with that. The play is about their relationship and how difficult it was for Bach when Frederick wanted him to join his coterie of composers.’

He’ll be joined in The Score by his second wife, actress and director Nicole Ansari-Cox, 54, with whom he has two sons – Orson, 21, and Torin, 18. The couple have been married for 21 years (Nicole even had a small part in Succession as Logan’s ex-mistress) and the secret to the couple’s longevity, he says, ‘is that we have our own rooms. I’ll either invite her into my bedroom, or she’ll invite me into hers. That’s the key to a happy marriage.’

We’re chatting prior to the actors’ strike in Hollywood, over pay disputes for writers and concerns about the growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a subject on which Brian is equally vocal. ‘We have to be very careful about the use of AI,’ he says.

‘When you’re dealing with humanity and emotions, you have to be honest, and AI is a sort of deviant. You can’t replace Shakespeare with AI and if they try to replace actors with it, we’re in deep trouble. 

‘Nothing can substitute human activity and I don’t think they’re making any advances whatsoever. The world is bonkers.’

Brian is speaking from his home in north London’s Primrose Hill, where he’s preparing for his next project – Oliver Cotton’s play The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath 

At times Brian may sound as thunderous as Logan Roy, but his views are far more nuanced on issues such as transgender rights. ‘I think it has to be taught in schools, only you’ve got to get the right people to teach it,’ he says. 

‘The only problem is the fashionable element of it. Autosuggestion is incredibly powerful. It’s a tricky subject that needs to be dealt with intelligently and with respect.’

How does he feel about the public bashing JK Rowling has received? ‘I don’t understand it,’ he says. ‘As a woman, why can’t she have an opinion about her own body? People say, “It’s not an opinion about her own body, it’s about how it affects everyone else.” 

‘But why does it affect everyone else? You don’t have to listen to it, so why do you need to cancel her? She’s not a fascist – she was a single mother who created great stories for children that became an industry people are thriving upon.’

Given the current climate, would he dare to venture his own definition of a woman? ‘My mother and sisters,’ he replies instantly and unequivocally.

Brian grew up in Dundee and was eight years old when his father Chic died of cancer, leaving his wife Mary Ann to raise Brian, his three older sisters and older brother while working as a spinner in the city’s jute mills. Mary Ann had a series of nervous breakdowns and even attempted suicide.

‘Although my mother was quite ill she was very funny and she had a lot of sayings that help me to this day,’ he says. His sisters looked after him when his mother was unwell. ‘I grew up surrounded by women. I’m a great believer in the matriarchy.’

At 21 he married actress Caroline Burt (they had two children, Alan, 53, and Margaret, 46), and though the marriage ended after 18 years Brian’s career flourished on both sides of the Atlantic (‘I was out of step with the weed-smoking generation of the 60s but I did start smoking it when I was 50 and occasionally do it late at night now to relax,’ he says).

In addition to roles in shows such as Frasier and films such as The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon, Brian also enjoyed a stellar career on stage. 

Indeed, it was while he was performing at London’s Royal Court Theatre in his twenties that he was introduced to Princess Margaret, who started flirting with him – feeling his shirt ‘and playing with my buttons’. 

Did he mention this to her sister, the Queen, when she presented him with his CBE in 2003? ‘Well, it wouldn’t have been appropriate. ‘Oh, by the way Ma’am, your sister felt me up,’ he laughs.

You can bet Logan Roy wouldn’t have been quite so discreet.

  • The Score runs at the Theatre Royal Bath from 12-28 October. Tickets: or 01225 448844.

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