Yours – 16th December 2008 to 1st January 2009

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My lessons from life…

Simon MacCorkindale

The 56-year-old Casualty star and producer reflects on religion, marriage and difficult times

Age is just a number
I don’t think of myself as getting older, so I still behave like a youngster! I haven’t calmed down or slowed down. My passion for acting and producing is as strong as it’s always been and I’m working harder than ever – currently in The Sound of Music. It’s my fourth job in a year and I don’t see why I should slow down just because I’m getting older.


Tough times will pass
I’ve tried to meet difficult times in my career with courage, faith and fortitude, knowing they’ll pass. Early in my career I was offered about six jobs at the same time, but the one I chose was later cancelled. I spent three days feeling sorry for myself before deciding to write a novel. I’d already written quite a chunk of it when I was offered work. I never did finish the novel, but it ended up being a good exercise for the screenplays I later went on to write.


Real friends are invaluable
When I lived in Los Angeles I had very good times and met some extraordinary people, but I found it a very shallow place. People tended to like and respect you for where you sat on the star structure, rather than for you as a person. People fell from grace just because their project had not been particularly good. In New York and London, the showbiz friends you have are usually with you for life.


You can learn from anyone
This is why I like to give time to people at the stage door and generally keep connections. My school rugby coach, former international Danny Hearn, who had broken his neck and become a paraplegic, taught me to prioritise. Once, when I didn’t own up to having an injury, he told me I’d got my priorities wrong; that it would have been better for me to work on the injury and be in good shape for the end of the rugby season. Prioritising a sequence of events has since become important to me.


Marry your best friend
This feature in marriage is most likely to lead to longevity. My wife (actress Susan George) is my best friend, absolutely. I love the qualities she has; qualities that are almost intangible, such as loyalty. In marriage the journey together isn’t always easy, it takes work, but it’s positive work.


Faith matters
I believe in God and love to read the Bible. I’m going through a phase now when I need to consider the bigger things of life.


Grudges waste time and energy
I can get very cross with someone who I think is doing me wrong, but within minutes I’ll let the anger go. At school a boy picked on me because I chose to be my own person. We ended up having a fight and then became best friends. Disagreements don’t need to turn into something permanent, even if it is very big.


Make the most of yourself
I have never believed that I’m particularly gifted in anything apart from my passion for life, but my greatest achievement is that I have made a pretty good job of not very much.


Simon MacCorkindale is playing
Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

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