Actor Simon Shepherd gets to grips with his hectic doctors life…..
Simon Shepherd didn’t need make-up for the bags under his eyes in his role as Peak Practice’s under pressure doctor, Will Preston.
A punishing filming schedule in Derbyshire, combined with frequent trips home to London to see his family – wife Alex six-year-old son Joe and two-year-old twins Arthur and Billie – was more than enough to exhaust him.
But Simon insists he wouldn’t change a single thing about his hectic life. ‘I’m delighted Will has a more integral part to play in Peak Practice now,’ says Simon, 36. ‘My role really develops and I have a chance to explore his inner feelings.’
Although Will appears smooth and dynamic on the outside, his marriage to Sarah (Jacqueline Leonard) is in crisis. ‘It soon becomes clear that Will is very unhappy at home, as well as having to cope with a very demanding job,’ says Simon. ‘I relished the opportunity to show that side of him.’
As well as getting to grips with Will’s emotions, Simon had to master that practicalities of a doctors work. ‘If you don’t believe that you’re correctly measuring someone’s blood pressure or listening to a patients chest, then the viewers certainly won’t!’ he laughs. ‘I hadn’t studied biology since I was a schoolboy so I had plenty to learn.’
To help with medical matters, a real-life GP, Derek Cooke, was present on set to coach Simon and his co-stars Kevin Whately and Amanda Burton. ‘I’ve realised that country GP’s don’t have an easy time,’ admits Simon, who made his name as the suave and scheming Piers Garfield Wards in ITV’s Chancer.
‘Not only are they on call all the time, they have to deal with a wide variety of situations,’ says Simon. ‘Going to the doctor will never be the same for me again.’