Simon Shepherd Pebble Mill
INTERVIEW BY: Sarah Green
SG: Tonight sees the starts of a new series of the hugely
popular Peak Practice, with my next guest now in charge of The Beeches surgery.
(clip from Series 4, Episode 1, Will being told The Beeches is bring reduced
to a two partner practice)
SG: Welcome to you Simon
SS: Thank you for having me
SG: What a fraught start to the brand new series
SS: Yes. I mean we lost Jack and Beth and then management
decided to totally reformat the show and after two episodes, unfortunately they
felt that the new format wasnít working. So we had to start all over again.
SG: What youíd already recorded two other shows since the
departure of Amanda Burton and Kevin Whately? So tell us a bit of the goss, what
happened with the two they decided they didnít want? You were in them
SS: I was in them. Basically they shot, totally finished two
episodes, they looked at it and as Iíve said in the press itís like cooking,
itís like a recipe. You hope that all the ingredients are going to make
something fantastic and memorable. They looked at it, decided the recipe wasn't
working, so they totally reshot the first episode except for about 10%, then
they reshot several bits of two other episodes. They removed two characters,
they brought back the old producer, they got the old script team on board
SG: So itís a case of they were trying to mend something that
wasnít necessarily broken - two characters were going?
SG: Now how does this affect Will.? How does it affect your
SS: It affects him in that originally, in the new format, Will
is the senior partner. Jack and Beth are in Johannesburg and they want him to
buy them out of the practice. So he's under pressure, he then finds a partner
and it was an older partner and they decided that that character was not - this
is what Iíve been told, you donít know because I didn't want to go in to it -
but they decided that character wasnít really working within the context of The
SG: So who was that character? Have we seen that person?
SS: No you wonít see him at all. Heís a wonderful actor Larry
Lamb, who was doing a terrific job with the character. But they felt that the
four doctors involved, there were two hot headed locums which are played by Gary
Mavers and Saskia Wickham and then this older partner that came in, and they
felt that the older partner was the wrong dynamic. So it totally changed the
dynamic for Will because he was then just stuck with these two hot headed
locums. Itís been a very bumpy ride
SG: It mustíve been
SS: Itís been a horrid time!
SG: How do you recover from that, pick it up and carry it? Not
just in terms of the character youíre playing, but yourself as an actor
SS: What you do is you throw yourself into your work, without
being too pretentious, you throw yourself into the resources that you have
inside your personality that you didnít know was there
SG: Weíve seen Will dealing with some very emotional
situations in his life, his private life, his personal has fallen apart
SS: All that happens in this one as well
SG: Does it?
SS: The wife, wonderfully played by Jacqueline Leonard, in the
first episode announces that between series sheís got married to Nick, who Will
doesnít like very much, who we saw very fleetingly in the last series. They're
moving to Florida and sheís taking the children with. It means that heís only
going to see then in the holidays. So I think it sets up that really,
romantically, heís free!
SG: Heís free, and theyíll be a little bit of romance creeping
SS: I think thereís a lot of romance!
SG: I also understand that in the first episode weíre going to
see a side of you that weíve not seen before - as a stuntman
SS: Yes. That was in the middle of all the managerial changes
that happened. I was asked, no I was indeed told, that Dr Will was going to be
rather heroic and he would be going 60ft up scaffolding. I thought Ďwell thereís
so much trouble going on, I donít think I really want to be another fly in their
ointmentí, so I just said Ďheights are absolutely fineí, as you do, then woke up
the next morning and thought, ĎOh my god. Iíve just said that heights are
absolutely fine - I haven't got a clue'. In fact they built a scaffolding tower
for this stunt and we went 60ft up and when I got to the top I discovered that,
thank god I donít get vertigo. But I wasnít quite sure.
SG: Have you ever had to do stunts before?
SS: Yes Iíve done stunts before but not actually involving
heights. I did a very funny film with Roger Moore in Switzerland; Fire, Ice and
Dynamite in 1990
SG: Iíve not heard of that
SS: No Iím very glad that youíve not heard of that
SG: Have many people heard of it? When was it shown?
SS: It was never shown here. I think itís on video here. I
shouldn't have said that though. Iíve just signed my own death warrant! Itís a
sports based bond spoof, thereís a lot of fun in it. I play a very camp
hairdresser whoís Roger Mooreís son.
SG: Can you do Roger Moore for us?
SS: No, but apparently...do you know Roger?
SG: mmm, no not personally
SS: Well I just wondered if youíd had him on. Has he sat here?
SG: Not yet
SS: He is the nicest leading man Iíve ever worked with without
a doubt. Heís the kindest and wisest actually sanest man, but when Iím nervous,
apparently the cameraman tell me that my left eyebrow does go up
SG: Oh it just did. Iím going to find that bit!
SS: If you freeze frame Peak Practice, youíll probably see the
eyebrow go up
SG: We'll try that as well. Watch this space for that next
week. Thanks so much for coming on Simon
SS: Thank you for having me
SG: Best of luck with the rest of the series and also I know
weíve got some more Bliss coming up as well
SG: Ladies and Gentleman Ė Simon Shepherd!