Simon Shepherd Today with Des & Mel April
INTERVIEW BY: Des O'Connor & Melanie Sykes
DoC: Now our first guest for many years played the role of
Dr. Will Preston in television's medical drama Peak Practice. He's soon to be
back on our screens in Avenging Angels, a new 90 minute comedy drama for ITV.
Please welcome Simon Shepherd.
DoC: Now, you played the dishy doc Will Preston in Peak
Practice. He was a good guy, a really good guy. Now you've got this new guy in
Avenging Angels and you play Pete Thorburne
SS: Pete Thorburne, who's not such a good guy.
DoC: I would say he's a bit of a tinker, not exactly Mr
Pleasant is he?
SS: No he's not and he's a great character to play, a
real tonic from Peak Practice. Very different, he's very high energy. He's an
advertising chief and he's a horror.
DoC: We've got a clip here - this is him!
Clip from Avenging Angels, showing Simon as Pete Thorburne
SS: Its a wonderful part
MS: If by nature you're quite a nice chap it must be
fantastic to get your teeth into a character like him
SS: They're the best parts. He has all the good one
liners in the office scenes. Poor old Jessica (Stevenson) just has to put up
with him, she has to react to this monster. It's a really good story.
DoC: Is it just a one off, because it's 90 minutes or will it
blossom into a series?
SS: I don't know, it could. It's absolutely open ended
and it's a sort of caper movie set in the advertising world. It could go into a
series and I would love it to because for me it's a smashing departure.
DoC: He looks like another JR, he does!
MS: Now we've got to talk about Peak Practice because
you were there for 7 years and you walked away from that
SS: I walked away for 3 years in the middle
MS: Why did you leave in the first place?
SS: Because I felt Kevin Whately, Amanda Burton and I
started it, they left and I did a year after that and then I suddenly thought;
'Actually I didn't become an actor just to play one part, however the great the
part is, however great the series.' So I nervously left and then was offered a
huge amount of work, I left on the back of a film called Bliss. Then I did a
film and several TV series. Then they asked me to go back.
MS: What influenced you to go back again?
SS: I've got four young kids! It's a great part, and the
public, god bless them! They kept on saying 'When is Dr Will coming back?!'
Eventually it's like an erosion, suddenly you go 'Oh why not!' It was great and
I was thrilled to go back.
DoC: When you win awards for TV's sexiest doctor. You can't
take it too seriously
SS: No l look at my kids and they really are going
to say 'Dad, You're the English answer to George Clooney!'. It's a good tag to
have but you don't take it seriously. There are lots of tags and that's another
DoC: Will we be seeing anymore of Peak Practice?
SS: I think you can still get it on satellite and
maybe they'll repeat it one day but there'll be no more new stuff, absolutely no
new Peak Practice.
DoC: I guess you were always destined to be an actor because
you were brought up in Stratford-Upon-Avon, right near the Theatre Royal, but
not actually in the theatre.
SS: No, in the pub! In the Dirty Duck. If anyone knows
Stratford, it's just opposite the threatre. We used to live above the pub and my
Dad was the proprietor of the pub for 30 years.
DoC: So you'd meet all the actors. Did you used to get a buzz
SS: We used to get a buzz from the first nights. Mum and
Dad would be at the hairspray, that was my Mum! And bow ties, in those days they
used to wear bow ties. Mum's black ruche dress used to come on. They'd be party
atmosphere that went onto the early hours of the morning. My brother Robin and
my bedroom was above the pub and you'd hear people roaring drunk and you'd think
that was normal!
MS: But you're father didn't want you to be a publican
or an actor?
SS: No, and I become an actor and my brother
became a publican. That's why I won't tell my kids anything at all.
DoC: Acting can be a very precarious position and you've had
highs, but along the way you've had some lows. You nearly lost your house once
SS: We have a house in Brittany. Classic mistake, you
buy the house with the tax money and the tax bill comes in, and another baby's
on the way and the two income family suddenly becomes a one income family and
you go 'House, Tax, House, Tax, Bank, money please!'. And the bank actually
bailed us out and then Peak Practice bailed us out even more, and it was the
best job of my career, it was a wonderful job.
MS: What advice would you give to a wannabe actor?
SS: I would say is there anything else that you could
possibly do! I really would, if there's nothing else you can do then just
grab it and do it. But it's an extraordinary world, I'm very privileged to be in
DoC: It's better than working isn't it?!
SS: It's much better than working!
DoC: Good luck with Avenging Angels -Simon Shepherd everybody!