Thank you again Simon for your patients and time in answering these questions, thank you also for the other questions in the Meet A Member Section.
I could have kept till the Birthday in April like last time but chose not to, as that was a very special first Birthday for us and wouldn't want anything to change that.
Part One of Two - Audio for Members can be found in Simon's Secret Society Audio section
Part Two to follow in a few days
001 - From Clare: How have you family (Susan included) influenced your career?
Well I think mostly through their absolute continued unquestioning support for whatever I embark upon. Susan particularly is a very good springboard for various choices that I have made so I do share all the choices that I make. I think that my mum and dad particularly, it was about the honesty of what one was trying to do, and the respect for the audience. Very early on my father taught me about respect for the audience. I’m not sure I was ever really gonna go down in a daft way with it but certainly that I think has been a very important part in how I deal with the public. I’m always giving the time for other people even within a busy schedule.
002 – Lonna: Can you still fall asleep at the drop of a hat?
Yeah! I still cat nap, and I need it to survive
003 – Opticgirl: Favourite opera?
My favourite opera? It’s always hard to pick favourites ‘cos you have different reasons for loving different things. I suppose to go to one possible – Gounod’s Faust
004 - Nicky – If they made a biopic of your life, who would you like to play you?
They won’t! It’s not interesting enough. It’s a sweet question but as they never would do it you’d never know at what point you’d be getting someone to do it. (thinks) I don’t know, Jude Law, I don’t know, he’s too short I think.
005 – Kathie: Whereabouts in the UK do you enjoy appearing in theatre in most?
I have only done the one tour, I think my favourite week that I did last year was at Malvern actually. I really enjoyed it ‘cos I enjoyed the town, the audience was great, I enjoyed that a lot, but I haven’t actually played enough of the country to know. There is some other very good venues and some of which I will play on this tour which I haven’t done
006 – Sharon: Who do you prefer - The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
007 - The age difference between Andrew and Milo is usually greater than yours and Michael’s age difference – has that affect this interpretation of the play?
Yes I think it has, because what I think, you have is you have a play, in fact it’s not a question of thinking I know we have. What you have is a play where the two men by being closer in age it’s less of a bullying exercise, Andrew is less of a bully. I think there is a danger particularly in the modern idiom that if you play this with too bigger age range that Andrew becomes even more unpleasant, the unpleasant side of him is more marked. I think it’s more of a battle of wits and education and class by having the ages closer.
008 – The Sleuth tour will take you to Scotland – will a part of you feel like you’re going ‘home’? When was the last time you crossed the border?
Oh yes absolutely anytime I get close to the border, I mean I always feel like I’m going home, always. So I’m really looking forward to playing Glasgow and Aberdeen
I went there last year
009 - What’s you fave scene/moment in Sleuth
I think the bit, Andrews’s inadvertent confession of what he is right at the end of the second act. I think is the best part
010 - Sleuth seems quite different to most things you’ve done in recent years, so why Sleuth?
Most of the work they’ve scene of course naturally has been film and television work, which just by definition is far less theatrical. The thing about this is Andrew is a very, very big character, he flamboyant, even verging on camp it’s a big performance and although I can still be quite rangy in terms of what I do on film and television I don’t think anybody will have seen this sort of mercurial change and theatricality
011 - Do you have any superstitions or do carry out any rituals before a performance?
No superstitions. Rituals, I always warm up my voice I always like to rest so I do, going back to Lonna’s question, lie on my dressing room floor and just go off, and go through if not to a sleep but for 10 to 15 minutes to go into that. I like to spend an hour just doing gentle things, I turn the phone off and certainly I prepare my voice and body for what I have to do. I like to take the time to do that, I don’t like to get overly distracted
012 - Do you still add to your scrapbooks? Good and bad? How many scrapbooks? How, why and when did they start?
Scrapbooks have fallen by the wayside. I mean I’ve still got stuff and I still at some point will probably go back but actually there’s been so much, with the horses and everything else. No probably now for a good 10 years the scrapbooks have fallen by the wayside.
Yes because of the nature of scrapbooks, the bad sort of one didn’t necessarily have much recollection of the bad. What I was collecting was stuff when we went on holidays, not particularly good holidays would have some, I wouldn’t just not put the memory in, but very rarely did that happen. We would be going to first night events, sometimes those tickets and things every now and then. Again they’re never that bad, the really bad things yes I would keep references of funerals if I went to a funeral, death of a friend they’d go into the scrapbook as well as those sorts of things. There wouldn’t be much, when we smashed the car up, I got the pictures of that, would go in the scrapbook.
Don’t really know I’ve not counted them up, they’re probably going back to the early 1980’s and certainly the first ones I was doing were 82 and I certainly kept them up for 10-12 years, on average there would have been 2 possibly 3 a year, so I guess we could be talking 25 books
Well because I’d always kept scrapbooks of sorts even before that, I got my whole career in a scrapbook. But actually it was because I always wanted to keep the record and I don’t like having bits and pieces lying around in boxes and things if you’re gonna have them so you can use them. Really from the moment I went overseas to Canada in the early 90’s really not done very well keeping it up so probably 15 years of not very much collection and not very much keeping it in books. I have to tidy that up, question is when. Sort of thing I might do on tour, take some of it with us, throw it in the back of the car and if I got a couple of hours just sit and sort things out
013 - Do you consider yourself Scottish or English, or British if neither? - Kilt at anytime?
I have to say I’m passionate about Scotland but in a funny kind of way I am Scottish but I don’t get particularly fanatical about deciding whether I’m one or the other. If Scotland were playing England in a Rugby match I’d support Scotland. I’m very British basically
Oh yes! I did my father’s memorial in a kilt
014 – Any scenes cut from any series/film you wish had stayed in and why?
That’s a hell of a good question. (Long think) Yeah, good question. (Thinks again) Actually one does sort of forget those sorts of things as to what we might have filmed and didn’t get put in. I don’t think I’ve had very many to be honest. I do remember in the film Stealing Heaven which I produced there was very definitely a fantastic scene that never made it into the movie as we felt that the content had all been said in previous scenes and in terms of making the movie shorter ‘cos we needed to get it done to length we cut it out. It’s a wonderful scene between Denholm Elliott and Bernard Hepton who was playing the bishop and it was a bath scene, a medieval bath scene and they were both in this great big wooden vat tubs talking and the whole design, everything about it was fantastic but we had to cut it out. Other than that, and I really do remember that one ‘cos it was such a great scene and I don’t think there’s been much of my own work that I have lost a scene in it’s entirety for any reason that I go ‘Why on earth did they take that out?’
015 – How has Harry changed over the last 5-6 years?
Harry became more of a political animal by his drive to try and save the hospital and the inevitable change possibly, anybody in senior management in hospitals has become more political over the last years as it’s becoming more politically driven, and the balance between a clinician and a manager has become a much more complicated exercise. I think in the last few months of Harry’s life at Holby he got caught up and trapped, not so much caught up in wanting to do it but trapped by the politics. Purely on a personal level I think that they didn’t perhaps get the best out of that dilemma in the last few months. Pertly because of the introductions of all the new characters and the scene time was given to them, when they knew actually I was leaving the show and I think they didn’t quite know how to deal with it. Plus the fact that it’s actually, in truth, it’s difficult to do and be interesting on television, political argument is quite difficult
016 – Most defining moment(s) that made him (Harry) who he is today?
(Long silence) Probably the death of his wife
017 - Favourite relationship your character(s) has had with another
(Long silence again) Well I would say two because one they won’t know. I love the relationship Harry had with his ex-wife in Counterstrike. Sorry Peter, Peter Sinclair. That Peter Sinclair had with his ex-wife in Counterstrike. I also love the relationship he (Harry) had with Lara in Casualty.
Guppy was a good relationship too, I like the Guppy relationship. I enjoyed that and it grew and I do think the death of his dad, Guppy’s dad was one of the best episodes. I would completely say that the Guppy relationship was a terrific one and it was interesting because the thing about the Guppy relationship was unlike the one with Lara was that Christine was already a well established actress in her own right and of course she was an established character before I came into the show. Guppy came in as a greenhorn both as Guppy and as Elyes so there was the whole of that growth process that went on throughout which was very interesting so I watched him as a boy as well which I liked.
018 - Have you kept any souvenirs from Casualty? – Relic Hunter mask?
Yes! (He stopped – Stethoscope?) Yes I have a stethoscope and I have a couple of Harry’s badges and I kept the tie, I wear the same tie in my first episode and my last episode. I’m not sure I really wore it in any other episodes (he did but only on 2 other occasions) I wore it on the first one and I saw it and I went I want that one on the last episode so I wore it on my last episode and now I have it.
I didn’t keep the mask no, I don’t know really why. I think partly because the Relic Hunter thing was coming to an end as I was going on to Casualty so it was all a bit of a rush, getting one finished and the other and I don’t know why I didn’t
019 - What was your last day on set like?
I had two very busy days so actually the Monday and Tuesday the 7th and 8th January I was literally working wall to wall. So in a way, I said when I finished and when they made the speech on set afterwards I did say actually this had been a strange day because it’s literally been business as usual to get through to get the day done, it’s only now at half past 7 that I realise that actually this is my last moment in this building and I’m on my way. It was emotional, of course it was, but we also shot episode 27 after episode 28 my actual goodbye scene had been shot before Christmas when I still knew I had some extra work to do, so actually that took some of the emotion-ness for me in that I wasn’t saying goodbye on the same day I was saying goodbye. Which would have been quite tough to play so I was actually playing other scenes that were not quite emotional in their content. In terms of my last day, it was a tough day
020 - What will you miss the most?
Weill I’ll miss Harry, he was a good character. I love turning up to work to deal with the challenges of Harry everyday and the challenges of him as a character and him and his medical world and all those things. I will miss it; I will miss the fact going to that place and working everyday. This is very different, I’m back in the big world, I might never work again after July, you know I’m back in that arena. So I will miss a piece of that, the security of a character like that of Harry. No I’ll miss Harry most, he had a lot going for him.
021 - What won’t you miss?
Well I wont miss, is the very thing that I miss actually in a way, is the unpredictability of the schedule and the fact that I could never make hard fast plans to see people and to do things because I was frequently letting people down, the one thing about doing the play is I pretty much know where I’m going to be at any given time on any given day between now and the beginning of July. I know where I’m going to be sleeping overnight I know what time I got to be in the theatre I know therefore I can give a Tuesday morning at 12 to a phone call. So that’s part of it is what I won’t miss, is the unpredictability of scheduling and the relentless grind and the fighting to tell the truth under pressure. Fighting to tell the truth under pressure in television is very tough ‘cos you’ve got scenes that just don’t make any sense they’re not very well written because of the nature of the beast it’s nobody’s fault and you’re just feeling the pressure ‘I want to get this right and I don’t have the time to get it right’
022 - Preferred nickname?
I’m called a number of things. I was often Mack, just plain Mack. I have a number of friends who call me MacCork. I became Corky all the way through Casualty, very early on because it just happened we had myself Simon, we had Simon Kaminski and we had one of our doctor advisors was called Simon. So one of the very early days there were 3 Simon’s effectively being addressed on set so the First Assistant Director ended up calling me Corky that day, which I had been Corky many times in my life, but Corky really became and sat through all the years I was Corky to an awful lot of people and will remain so. I still get texts to Corky
023 - What’s the most important/valuable lesson you’ve learnt in your career or in life?
Well there’s slightly different answers to different parts of the question. As a total answer, to be humble, anything that I have is luck and I’m no better than anybody else, I’m no different from anybody else and I really genuinely believe that. Being humble is the lesson I’ve learnt throughout. In terms of acting I would say telling the truth as a performer is the most important thing you have to do.
Last bumped by shelliwood on 29 Apr 2008, 21:41.