Simon Shepherd What’s on TV Interview – June 1993

There’s trouble in store for Peak Practice’s handsome Dr Will Preston

Like Dr Will Preston, the character he plays in ITV’s Peak Practice, Simon Shepherd knows only too well the stresses and strains of modern living.

But the 36-year-old actor wouldn’t dream of getting himself into the sort of financial scrapes Will finds himself in. This week, the weak-willed doctor feels under attack from all directions. At work, Dr Jack Kerruish (Kevin Whately) continues to dazzle patients as well as senior GP Beth Glover (Amanda Burton) with his bedside manner, while, at home, Will’s wife, Sarah, wants the life of luxury his pay packet just can’t afford.

‘Without thinking, he takes up an offer from a drug company to test medicines on his patients for money,’ reveals Simon. ‘But he doesn’t tell the other doctors. When one woman gets sick, the pressure mounts.’

Best-known for his range of upper-class cads – he was the scheming Piers Garfield Ward in the drama series Chancer and the possessive Edgar Linton in the recent film version of Wuthering Heights – Simon admits he enjoys devilish roles.

‘I have been typecast,’ says Simon, ‘but I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me. It makes all the difference if you work with actors you respect. Kevin is great. If you think he’s nice on telly, he’s even nicer off it!’

Despite his flair for his latest role, Simon says he couldn’t be a doctor. ‘I’m too squeamish,’ he reveals. Although when he had to deliver a baby in a recent episode, he had some experience to draw upon. Simon was present at the birth of his twins, Billie and Arthur, now 18 months. ‘It was an extraordinary experience,’ says Simon, who’s married to stage designer Alex Byrne. The couple also have another son, five-year-old Joe. With three children to budget for, Simon says, unlike Will, he wouldn’t live beyond his means. ‘The most extravagant things I buy nowadays are nappies!’

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