This is the interview we managed to arrange for the site’s first birthday in April 2007 , though the interview was recorded late February. All answers are pretty much word for word what he replied. The interview was carried out at the Grand Theater in Wolverhampton. This is quite a long interview and the questions are out of order from when they were originally asked to make more sense.
Audio from the interview can be found on the forum
Question 000 – From shelliwood: How did you get the scar under your right eye?
How did I get the scar under my right eye? That happened when I was about 13 and I was playing cricket and I got hit by a cricket ball.
I hit a ball and it caught the edge of the bat and flew back up into my face, and hit me right under the eye, split it wide open. But it’s been there and I’ve used it, on a couple of jobs I did I actually highlighted it slightly and made it a feature of the character.
Did I use it in Manimal? Did I or not, do you know I can’t remember. I mean it was more noticeable, it become progressively less noticeable, I don’t even notice it anymore actually. I haven’t ever had anything done about it but as one’s face changes so does it. It also stated a little higher it was nearer my eye so it gets a bit lower, force of gravity (chuckle) or something like that.
Question 003 – From Kerri: Do you find it weird that there are fan sites about you?
I suppose I don’t find it weird because I did when it first happened and therefore having accepted it, I know it’s there.
When Lonna Poland approached my manager in California, which was probably 1982, she would know better than I, but I’m sure it was 1982, it seem to me to a very strange thing, seemed to be rather an American thing because I hadn’t really experienced it much in the UK. We discussed it, my manger said, ‘No this is really fairly normal and it’s not a bad things at all it’s good for PR, it a good way of communicating with fans and we can control a lot of thing so forth to a degree.’ So anyway I said to Lonna that we’d do it and we did. So having made that judgment, from then on I knew about fan sites and therefore I knew what it could be like and Lonna was exceptionally good at running it.
What happened though that fan site was that I met a few fans in controlled situations; Lonna put together a few things partially when I was actually going to Dallas to do a play, and I met a lot of them at that time. Then various incidents happened and I learnt about how fansites brought people together. There was an exceptional story of a girl in one part of America, who lived as a recluse, literally as a recluse, and by pure chance, can you image the size of America, there was somebody in the fan club, who wasn’t that far away from her. These two made friends with each other, and this girl came out of her shell. As it turns out she was quite a good little artist, she would send me things and I would send things back and say ‘great,’ ‘terrific’ and then she started to send stuff to the newsletter and all those things. So when I realised then that there was sort of a possibility that though a common denominator people would get together and might help each other and even have fun. There was a group who got tighter to go to the premier of Jaw 3, I seem to remember, 5 or 6 of them including I think somebody from England flew all the way to Dallas. So therefore it was a big life experience for somebody to suddenly leave, because of that common interest. I thought well actually it’s a really terrific thing and a great honour to have, and to have people who not only like your work but actually respect you as a human being and to support you through it. Then I feel as though I can give something back, and they get something back by being in a club, any club will do that so in a way a fan club is no different than a golf club.
Question 004 – From Becky: How long do you plan staying in Casualty? Would you make another film?
Two questions, two answers. I don’t yet know quite genuinely how long I’m going to stay in Casualty. I’m feeling that I’m getting close to the end, because I want to move on. That then answers the next question which is that obviously I have aspirations to do some more film wok and to do different things and already there are things being discussed for 2008 that are very good for my career and for my soul on both levels and I’m excited about the prospects.
Questions 005 – From Georgina R: You’re an inspiration to me and my acting, so can you provide any tips?
Unfortunately in short order tips can sometimes sound a little trite but basically the first thing for anybody who wants to do this is that they’ve got to be absolutely dedicated and want to do it 100% you cannot play at it and that is more true now than it ever was. There are so may people out there who want to try and do it and with this new culture of celebrity-dom, there are so many people who are happy to be a celebrity for 5 minutes without thinking about the effects on life and on a life’s career. So being totally dedicated is the number one. Then actually within in the work, the key thing with anything that one does is to try to tell the truth and if you can tell the truth and find the truth in anything that you do, you can actually do anything and that’s what the audience responds to.
Question 006 – From Holly – What’s your favourite food?
My favourite food? I love food so food with a capital F is fine by me, I really don’t think there is anything I don’t like. I love fish and I love fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and all that kind of thing. Obviously not processed food, not fast food although like everybody, every now and then I might be seen sneaking through the back door at McDonald’s if I’m feeling seriously peckish. I like a varity of food but I think if I had to be consigned to a particular diet it would be fish, vegetables and fruit.
Question 001 – From Kerri: Have you ever had any obsessive stalking fans that constantly harass you?
Have I ever had any obsessive stalking fans? No, not really. I’ve had a few people who’ve written a lot and who are a little strange. But no I haven’t actually, I’ve not really been pestered and I’ve always managed to deal with them, and I give most people time and most of them in the end, they get bored.
Question 007 – From Leez – What it’s like filming on Casualty, and whether do you enjoyed being in theatre?
Most of the fans know this, I love my work period. I find something very special about all aspects of it so it doesn’t really matter whether is television, radio, film or theatre, writing, directing, acting, producing frankly. What I really enjoy about the work on Casualty is the instantaneousness of it and the challenge that I go in everyday knowing a framework within what I have to do but sometimes I go in there to have to perform some kind of operation or whatever it might be, which I have to learn right then and there both from an intellectual point of view and also from a physical point of view in terms of what I have to do with my hands and body and all the rest of it. The challenge of learning hat and being able to execute it in a short amount of time is enormously refreshing. The team work which we all work under is terrific fun.
Theatre is very different and the thing I love about theatre more than anything is the chance to keep playing with something and tying new things and being slightly different each day and so on, but also playing with an audience who are themselves different every day. It’s essential for an actor to remind themselves what if feels like to actually – I’m trying to make you laugh or I haven’t, either your not with it or I haven’t quite done it right.’ Very, very valuable for the work you then do on film and television because obviously you don’t have that instant response.
Question 008 – From Linda – What attracts you in a woman?
What attracts me in a woman! My God! Why is Linda asking that question? (Chuckle)
There are so many things. Obviously I’m not adverse to just simply the beauty of the female form. But actually in the end it’s about spirit, it’s about bright spirited eyes, sense of humour and in the end one couldn’t have a long term friendship with a women, as probably not even with a man to be honest, if they haven’t got some intellectual stimulation that comes out of it, so you can really enjoy each others company and spar off each other. But I think, I like my women t be sexy and sexy isn’t necessarily the overt things so many people think sexy is, you know short skirts, big boobs and all that is not necessarily sexy it’s actually about a women being completely secure in her own skin. I think probably if I had to answer it in one simple answer, I love women who are absolutely strong and secure in their own skin, that I find incredibly attractive.
Question 009 – From Sall – What do you really think about having to meet fans?
I have no problem with meeting fans at all, there are obviously odd occasions when it’s not as convenient as others. We do a job that relies on, if not fans, certainly the general public either tuning in or making the physical effort to get in a car and drive to a theatre or go to a cinema or whatever it might be. Anybody who is prepared to do that has my respect and if my work is something they particularly come to see or they like the things I’m in generally, it just happens that I am adding to the experience, then I am very happy to give them time because I think that’s an important piece of what we do. It’s a way of saying thank you to them for coming and the support is excellent. I also love, as I touched on a bit earlier, the fact that I can actually sometimes make a difference, I have met a few people and I know stories where fans have met somebody that they like and that has helped them to change aspects of their lives, or have some courage, we were just talking about you coming here today, all those things are very valuable and if by making ones self available and giving a bit of time you can help somebody else and I think that’s very much part of the value of what we do.
Question 002 – From Kerri: What’s the worst/scariest fan incident you’ve experienced?
Worst scariest fan incident? No, these are always difficult questions because you put them to one side most of the time, I can’t remember one. No, I haven’t really; I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad incident with a fan. Obviously certainly not left any indelible thing. My wife had had quite a few, which I also don’t really remember, I know she did have. I never have.
You get quite a few where fans can be a little over enthusiastic and actually be a little difficult to get rid of politely, particularly if you’re rushing somewhere and I always stop and give people time. But by the same token, I rather hope that they will understand when one’s got a life and moving on when sometimes rushing to do things, but I’ve actually been treated exceptionally well by the fans.
Question 010 – From Sall – What do you think about being a heartthrob?
Well I don’t take it very seriously obviously it’s there, it’s fun and actually it’s very flattering and there are moments when it’s great fun, I can’t say that it bothers me terribly. I went to an art gallery the other day and suddenly I found myself surrounded by a whole bunch of rather attractive female art students, it was very pleasant, thank you very much. I’d much rather be a heartthrob than an enemy of the people.
Question 033 – What do you think your appeal is?
I don’t know? It’s difficult, I’ve often said to actors particularly people poncing about a bit and said ‘if you think you’re that good you’re in trouble’ and actually you can’t see your own appeal because it’s very much in the eye of the beholder. You don’t play at it, it’s not something you go ‘I’m think I’m gonna be this or I’m gonna be that’ you are just what you are. I think it’s a combination of things I’ve been very lucky, physically I’m in reasonably good nick and a traditional English leading man type looks which obviously is one thing but I think in the end it goes back to the answer I gave to the – what you should do if you want to be an actor’ that it’s honesty. I think I play a kind of honour, I’m honest, when I work I’m honest and I think people respond to that.
Question 012 – I’m sure this goes both ways but, what does Susan think of all this attention you receive?
We don’t really talk about it very much. Susan had so much attention when she was young that it’s been a feature of our lives really that we can’t go anywhere really without the possibility of somebody or more that somebody, a group of some bodies. Even if we go to the supermarket, we go to Marks and Spencer’s, if we go out to dinner there’s a chance that there is somebody who in some respect, please to see us there. So in a way it’s been a part of our life, I said to her the other day I was coming to Wolverhampton, this is the first time really that in terms of the play that I’ve been in what I call the provinces, because everything else was sort of reasonably Londony sort of based. Actually when I was in Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes is such a strange place in terms of getting in and out of the theatre, Kerri would probably tell you, you drive in straight to the theatre, go into the theatre come out and if I want to have a meal or something it was literally right next door, so I never really got in amongst the people. Here in Wolverhampton is the first time, I mean I can’t go out on the streets here, kids just fall off their bicycles and come rushing over to shake your hand, which is lovely and I was just saying that to Susie yesterday and she was very supportive of it. She knows it’s nice to have that recognition, and it’s very nice to have people, a vast range from literally kids this high right the way through to senior citizens who all come and say particularly, that they really like Harry so you’ve got a character that seems to be crossing the age divide enormously and the sex divide. I’m very surprised to find teenage girls who I would have thought aren’t even watching the programme, so it’s a very interesting range Harry covers and that’s very nice. It’s very nice to get in touch with it because it means, I think actually in the end it informs my work, I think I know subconsciously how to play certain things knowing that audience are responding.
Question 011 – What would you like to do and still have the opportunity to do or you can do now you’ve reached a certain age?
The answer to that question that basically I always thought that my career would be at it’s best at the end of my career. Whether that was just me thinking -Well things are going ok and it’s always going to get better, so that fine.’ But actually I’ve genuinely felt it I think because I’ve always been a base baritone in terms of my voice and the traditional leading man is really more of a tenor just slightly higher ranged voice, so when you’re young and you’ve got a heavy voice the package doesn’t quite fit. So I always felt that my career would be as a leading man between 45 and 65 and if that all worked well then ones got a really nice latter day career, when you can do all sorts of nice bits and pieces and doing some character work and all the rest of it. So in a way I feel my career is absolutely on track for that, therefore plans are very much to capitalise on that I’m still fit and not desperately looking my age and so I think I can take advantage of that for a little bit longer and still be a leading man in certain things. That means television, it probably means theatre and supporting leading man in some films is still very possible. So that is what I’d like to achieve and that’s what we are aiming to achieve, hence the reason there is some question about whether I stay in Casualty because although I’m doing that in Casualty I don’t now need to, I really need to see whether I can actually do more.
Question 013 – Who do you admire?
It’s a relatively common question, not one I’ve been asked in a little while about who are the people you admire, is there anybody to model yourself on and all those kind of things. The answer is that I don’t model myself on anybody but I have a tremendous admiration for an enormous number of people because this is a tough world were in, and it’s a tough world for everybody, doesn’t matter what job you do. I have great admiration for anybody who goes out and puts themselves amongst it and gets on and does a job, and does a job well. I enjoy even watching some of the kids who get up and do X-Factor and stuff, they’re having a go, they’re putting there guts and talent on the line to try to achieve something. I adore great sports personalities who are putting sometimes their bodies on the line one knows they’re also putting a great deal of dedication into getting fit, strong and ready, and denying themselves so much to achieve things. Anybody who is an achiever I have great respect for, I think that was also my credo, I never believed I was particularly gifted and so I knew if I worked hard and therefore I really respect anybody who works and achieves. Anybody whatever field it’s in and in acting of course I look up to the obvious people that have gone through my life in one way or another. Obviously I look up at Olivier, and Anthony Hopkins, even Brando and people in the past and then obviously even now some superb actors out of Hollywood and in the theatre in the United Kingdom. What Helen Mirren is doing and Judi Dench, unbelievable work from these people. But my life is not exclusive to acting, ballet dancers and opera singers just about anybody with a gift they use, even actually people who don’t have much of a gift but who use what they have and really go after it. You can only ever do your best and I admire people who have a go doing their best.
Question 014 – What would you like to achieve in the next 5-10 years
That’s a really tough one because, actually obviously it would be really silly not to say things like -Well I want to do a big feature, I want to win and Academy award’ because those are the accolades those are the pinnacles. But actually I just want to do good work. I want to more work, I want to do good work, I want to improve and I want to give myself the opportunities to have the latter day career I feel I was always going to have and in a way which I’m having. Harry is in the central role, in a way, of a television series that’s been the Saturday night flagship of the BBC for the last 20 Years. Going out on a tour like this, carrying the headline, is a very good position to be in, they’re talking about me doing another one next year, different kind of piece and that’s very exciting. I want to go on doing that, I want to challenge myself more perhaps than what I have been doing, and have the opportunity to do something exceptional. I don’t necessarily know what that is nut what I want to do is work in film, theatre and television, world wide and continue to do it until I turn up my toes.
Question 017 – What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked or what’s the strangest thing you’ve been sent by a fan?
I don’t know why but my life with fan’s had been actually pretty OK. I once let it be known to Lonna Poland that I collected elephant figurines, which I have actually now stopped doing. I did get and awful lot of them in various guises from big plastic ones to very nice silver ones and everything in between. So I find myself with a rather large number of these little plasticy jobbies with bit’s and pieces attached to them with funny messages. Lots of elephant key rings and things like that. Generally fans are incredibly respectful, I’ve had so few things, certainly nothing so weird that it’s making me think about it.
Question 018 – What question have you been asked the most?
What question have I been asked the most? Well I suppose the question that gets asked the most is what’s your favourite job you’ve done, would be pretty much up there, the question you asked me a few minutes ago who is the person you either model yourself on or idolise the most. Is there another one? I think the heart throb one gets asked a lot, I don’t know if I’m being vague? No I think those are probably the three that are closest to the top of the list.
Question 028 – Biggest/greatest achievement
I really don’t know? Still being here I think, I mean not being found out, still working at 55 I think that’s an achievement.
Question 015 – What charities do you support?
I support a lot of charities but we ourselves, there are an enormous number of charities out there. We do some work for a leukemia charity, we do some work for a lot of the animal charities in fact we spread ourselves a little thin across a lot of animal charities, particularly horses and rescue horses. I do some work for the local hospice, down in the Somerset region, St Margaret’s Hospice. I haven’t actually at this time chose one to dedicate myself to, partly because I’m afraid that since we’ve move to the west country with the horses and with Casualty time is so much in short supply, that I haven’t really got the time at the moment to give to a particular charity to do a particular good job. So what I generally do I spread myself a little thin across a number of things when asked. As I said we do quite a lot for animal charities generally and that sort of thing, it is something very much in my mind to choose a charity that I think I will then dedicate specifically to. At the moment I’m currently doing a lot for a lot.
Question 029 – Do you prefer playing ‘Bad guys,’ ‘Good Guys’ or guys a bit like Harry who can be a bit mixed at times?
Harry’s a great character, he is indeed a bit mixed. Bad guys are interesting because there are no rules very often, I actually like the complex characters, the complete characters, the characters like Harry and a little bit like Peter Sinclair, had a bit of a dark side too. But Harry has been a very, very good character, he is not straight forward. Bad guys are a little bit one dimensional as indeed very good guys are so I think the complete characters are more interesting, so somebody like Michael Starkwedder are more interesting than some others because he’s got a lot going on in his brain. I think a fundamentally, a flawed good guys is probably the most interesting sort of mandate.
Question 020 – How would you like to see Harry leave?
I haven’t thought about it, because it hasn’t actually reached the point when I really thought it was time for Harry to go. It is now reaching my consciousness and therefore the conversation might well be had in the near future, but the BBC and the show owns the character, they can decide what to do irrespective of my point of view because they may have things they want to do for the show for what ever reason. I think I would like to go out in some kind of blaze of glory not in a box, and not to be killed off and not to go off in a box. I don’t really fancy that and then there’s always the possibility there might be some good reason why he pops back for some reason but in the end it’ll be their decision and we’ll see.
Question 022 – Would you have voted for Harry?
Would I have voted for Harry? Absolutely, 100%, he didn’t want to be a politician, he wanted just to make a point. He’s a fine upstanding citizen he has a point of view and he’ll fight for it and do a good job as a politician.
Question 023 – Do you know the effect the scrubs have on the fans?
Scrubs? In terms of wearing scrubs? Do you know I’ve never thought about it but having said that I like wearing the scrubs. As an actor I’ve spent a lot of time doing two things. Either being smart and sophisticated or a bit rough and grubby and action man-y or whatever. The action man thing has always worked for me and I think it’s always worked for the fans too. I think they actually quite like the characters I play and probably therefore me, being more down and dirty and getting on with it. The sophisticated bit works for them but at the same time I think they like it when he gets a bit roughened up so the thing I like about the scrubs is it’s an action activity, it means here it is getting down and dirty, this is what we do, we get it to it and I’ve been trying to get in to the scrubs and out of the suit over that last and it’s probably been noticeable. I’ve been trying to do that partly because it accurately reflects what’s going on in the National Health Service and that the suit thing has done its job for me. I came into Casualty and said Harry is going to wear really sharp suits, shirt and ties, he’s always going to be that he’s going to be a disciplined uniformed man. I actually envisaged that he actually did a spell probably in the Navy or something like that, so he understands the fact ‘the guy with the most gold on his shoulder, he’s the one I want to talk to because he’s the guy who can get something done.’ So Harry walks through that department wearing the suit knowing that everybody goes ‘Ok, he’s the guy I got to talk to’ and by presenting himself in that way he’s up to be shot down or take the flak or be responsible, but having done that I wanted then to start to get him beck down on the ground floor again. So whenever I can I get him in to scrubs, which has been more frequently in the last little while. I think that’s a conscious choice on my part. It’s also a bit of a choice on the part of the show now because there were certain producers who liked the suit thing and there were others who were beginning to feel we weren’t quite reflecting the National Health Service in quite the right way.
Question 024 – You’ve been doing Casualty longer than anything else, yet you seem the sort of person to get bored easily. What makes Casualty different from the rest, or is there another reason in being there so long compared to everything else?
The truth of the matter is you don’t get many jobs in this business were you can stay for a very long time. I obviously could have stayed in Falcon Crest longer but really didn’t want to, didn’t feel that was going to move me any further forward and so forth. Counterstrike we did three years would have gone on and I would have gone on with it for I think I was obliged to go on for 5 years, if it had gone on for five years, but for various as much political as technical reason they actually stopped at the end of three. So I might easily have done five years on that. I would have loved to do that, Peter Sinclair I loved as a character and I loved the show and everything about it so it’s only by chance that Casualty has been as long as this, it’s not been that I have not been able to sustain that. To say I get bored easy, I don’t think is fair, I love challenge and I love change and as long as something is stimulating me then I would never get bored. I’ve always got the other things in my life that I’m doing anyway that actually help me sustain a kind of energy and that’s part of what it is, like having the horses, I go home, I do that so I’m not just in Casualty. But actually a lot about Casualty is the fact that it’s really demanding on a day to day basis and the medical thing is very, very demanding. I made it a challenge to be as good and believe able as is possible, I’ve succeeded, so many people ask me on the street sis I ever have medical training or was I a doctor before I became an actor, which is a really nice compliment. So I like the challenge and I like the fact that the BBC also like the challenge they have not at any point said ‘Right Casualty’s great we don’t have to worry about Casualty it will be fine week in week out’ they’re trying all the time to re-invent the wheel, make it more interesting finding ways of just changing it and updating it, while they’ve got the will to do it, it’s very easy for the actors, the team to have the same reaction.
Question 021 – Harry and Beth/Selena/Lara/Ellen/Anna/(Maggie)etc?
(I then mentioned I thought Harry and Maggie would be good)
Harry and Maggie would be very good, she’s a feisty character and would sort him out and I think that’s why I like the Lara relationship because she was feisty, strong, feisty and put him on his toes. I’ve always thought that actually since Lara went the relationship that really Harry is looking for hasn’t happened, he hasn’t found the girl that really challenges him. I think the relationship with Selena would have been a very lovely relationship and they would have got on terrific and she would have be a great mother to his kids and all of those kind of tings but I don’t think it would have be a particularly sparky relationship. Ellen was about a young girl being kind actually to him at a time when nobody else, not necessarily was, but there wasn’t anybody in his life. She actually just was a good looking girl who was nice to him and nice to the kids and it wasn’t entirely appropriate and it was a shame that it had to stop but it was the right thing that it should stop and they remind friends and became actually closer through not having a relationship which was actually I think the really nice arc about that story. Selena has been a good friend and they’ve missed but in actual fact I’ve often said the relationship that still hangs in Harry’s heart is the Lara relationship.
Question 036 – Best memory you’ll take with you when you leave Casualty?
I think working with and being able to influence in someway the work space with a team that’s so non-egotistical and working as such a unit, is probably overall the thing I shall remember. That we all work together, we share and try to make each and everyone of us better. We support the day players when they come in because they’ve got to be good otherwise we’re not good, we support all the supporting artists and have a great relationship with them and I think just the overall feeling of camaraderie and working together as a unit, being able to influence how that unit works with my own energy and enthusiasm, I think that’s the exciting part and that’s the bit I’ll miss.
Question 037 – Do you think Harry should just hit Nathan and get it over with, even though he’s better than that?
I don’t think he’s gonna hit him I think he’s going to kill him. I think this maybe the end of Harry. Harry may end up killing him. If he does kill him it will be very slow and very painful and I have told Mr Price who plays Nathan that this is how it’s going to be, but if he doesn’t kill him he sure as hell’s gonna hit him very hard. (I said I’d pay to see that!)
(Why do you think he’s like that?)
Jealous, completely jealous and he’s inept, he’s a useless individual he has no place in society, Harry is everything Nathan can never be and he’s immensely jealous. Possibly actually he’s the voice of his conscience, everything that Harry could be is the opposite of Nathan and he hates him for it.
Question 025 – Do you think the NightMan episode could have been improved?
Thinking about it I don’t quite know because of the nature of the beast (Chuckle). For me it was a lovely challenge to do it again because I wanted to see how the morphing effect would be that much more efficient than what we did first time round. So for me that was the value of doing it. Clearly it could have bee a better episode if it had been an episode of Manimal and not of NightMan but because the two shows had to join together. They actually did a pretty damn good job joining two shows together and giving enough time so the Manimal bit was actually not just a little add on, it was quite a significant part of the program and if anything it was a bit more Manimal than Nightman as an episode which was about as good as it could have got under the circumstances, because after all it was his show not mine. So it probably could have been better but I think under the circumstances I’m not sure quite how, I think we really achieved what we set out to.
Question 026 – If Manimal did return what would you like to see happen?
I would actually like to see it come back and I would like to do something about it, it’s one of the things in my brain for 2008.
I’ve said it before but of course I haven’t had the chance to do anything about because to do it I’ve got to go to America to meet a few people and also have the time to do it. If I did, I would take a little bit of the NightMan idea and that it would be something like Son of or Daughter of Manimal kinda idea that he actually was imparting it, he was therefore more of the sort of Anthony Hopkins role to Antonio Banderas in Son of Zorro, that kind of thing, that kind of relationship. And make it much more ecologically based and not criminally based those would be the main things I’d do.
Question 027 – What’s the most memorable line you’ve ever delivered?
The most memorable line I’ve ever delivered? The ones that end up being memorable are the ones you look at on the page and say ‘who on earth wrote this and how am I going to do this and get away with it?’ I think there were two in Casualty that really always caused people to really laugh and actually at the same time pat me on the back and say ‘you’re the only bugger who could have got away with that.’ One of them was when I said to Simon Kaminski ‘I may not be God but I am master of your destiny’ that was one of them, and the other one was in the big show we did when the buildings collapsed and we knew we had this majax(sp?) going on and I’m sitting on a bed waiting to get up, as the first people come in I say ‘and now it all begins’ was a little bit cheesy but we got away with it. I think the master of your destiny line was the one that got the biggest roar in the screenings.
Question 016 – Which character have you played that is closet to yourself?
Probably Peter Sinclair in Counterstrike. (Thinks) Counterstrike, probably Peter Sinclair was probably overall closet to me, I think.
Question 019 – I’ve heard you’ve had a few unusual accidents over the years, are you accident prone?
I think they used to think I was accident prone but I think it’s perfectly explainable. I do take on an awful lot, I’m incredibly busy, I have an enormous amount of energy, I do slightly got at things with a great deal of enthusiasm much after the manner of a bull in a china shop, and I think under some circumstances one is therefore prone. Indeed when I took the part in Casualty my wife said that on several occasions in the first stages when she said to people on the telephone ‘Is Simon there? No, he’s in Casualty’ the reply was things like ‘Oh no not again!’ So I think there is some evidence that there is truth in that. We had a few friends who said to us over the years ‘Oh my God, your lives, there’s always seems to be something going wrong’ you kinda go actually if you try to do about 50 things during the day chances are that at least one of them is going to go wonky. If you try to do 5 you might get away without anything going wonky. So actually be talking on too much you do actually expose yourself to things not going right and to cock-ups which include the accidents and the falling over and the putting a pitchfork though your foot but that clearly was bull in a china shop. That was me going out there on the farm, in a hurry, trying to do a job using it as exercise therefore pitching into it in a big way to the point where I put the pitchfork through my foot, and then drove myself to hospital and back because everybody else was to busy to pay any attention
Question 030 – What current music do you like?
What current music do I like? I’m not very good with current music only because I never bloody well remember who anyone is. But there are some very interesting voices out there, I love Katie Melua and that sort of thing, there are a number of ladies in that range who I think are very talented and very listenable to, she’s the first on that would come to mind.
Question 032 – Last film you saw?
Actually the last film I saw was Little Miss Sunshine, which I saw last night on my laptop, but don’t ask me about it, I thought it was rubbish. I saw The Queen, I’ve seen an awful lot of the current films, because I’m a member of both Academies’ so I vote for the awards. To be honest over the course, with Casualty and the play I haven’t seen anything like what I normally would see, so I’ve cherry picked a little bit. Last year I enjoyed an awful lot of the films particularly the ones that got up into the Academy nominations. I thought that Capote was a terrific, and I love the George Clooney picture
Question 034 – Football or Rugby – Favourite teams?
I’m a rugby player or was, so rugby is my favourite game and I’m a Scottish supporter, I still do support Scotland and I used to actually play a lower level but I used to play for London Scottish for a while in league Rugby way back before I ended up not being able to do training sufficiently so I kept being dropped, I was never there for training because of acting, I went back and played for my old school instead because the didn’t mind quite as much if I didn’t train to a certain degree, or I was inconsistent let’s put it that way.
Football, I’ve always enjoyed football, there’s a lot about it now I don’t like in the modern idiom, too much cheating and too much money, too much ill discipline, too much arrogance. Manchester United have always been my team because I was around at the time or soon after the Busby Babes, the Munich air crash and because of course there’s a romantic element in me about being an actor and all that stuff. I don’t have a home team to support I supported Manchester United just because of the fact that they had lost half their team, therefore supported them all the time when they were nothing as a team and after that period they went down and down, and then they went up and up but of course there is always the danger that people think you’re just a fair-weather supporter, supporting one of the big teams. But I do get upset when they don’t win, I do follow everything they do.
Question 035 – What’s a typical week/day for you?
There’s no typical, busy, I don’t have much time to breathe half the time
Question 038 – Evilest character you’ve ever played.
(This one ends kind of suddenly because the recorder decide to stop)
The evilest character I played actually was the character I played in Poltergeist: The Legacy, Reed Horton I think his name was so he would be the evilest, he was living in hell so that was probably why.
(I then brought up Alec Chandler – Le Femme Nikita, and that the character disturbed me, (first person to say I’m disturbed enough already is to be shot!))
Well actually you’re right it’s a very good one I’ve forgotten about him, yes because I did actually play him as a very sweet man who just decided that selling children was fine and I think that was pretty evil actually. I think that’s probably fair dues because I actually decided he was somebody who had justified what he was doing and sometimes justification of evil is actually really dreadful, he justified what he was doing because he was taking young kids off the street where they were going to have no kind of life, selling them for his gain and his argument was they’ll have a better life by being sold into slavery
The recorded decide to cut out even though it was lying to me and saying it still was recording so for these two I only have a written response from Simon, in his own words
Question 039 – Have you ever been heckled on stage? What was your response?
Not been heckled – yet! Have had audiences answer questions posed e.g.: Unexpected Guest – “Hello?” “Anybody there?” Response from audience – “Yes, love!” “We’re here!”
Question 040 – Biggest regret?
Regrets none! Will have one I know about if I never play on Broadway having turned down opportunity in early 1995. Hopefully I’ll still get the chance.
Interview recorded February 2007