Simon Shepherd Magazine Interview – October 2000

After three years away, actor Simon Shepherd is thrilled to be returning to Peak Practice. He just hopes that the viewers will be too. ‘It’s a gamble. There’s no guarantee my character will be as popular as he was last time,’ says Simon, who plays hunky Dr Will Preston. ‘But Will’s a character I’ve grown to love and if the letters I’ve received over the past three years are anything to go by he’s a character that the audience will still respond to.’

After coming to Andrew’s rescue last week, at his hearing for an alleged sexual assault, Will is back for his first full episode in three years and he’s barely had time to settle into his old job at The Beeches this week before he has a falling out. ‘He gets involved in a head on confrontation with Dr Sam Morgan,’ explains Simon. ‘They fall out over a young lad who needs a new kidney, and it drives a wedge between them.’ Simon, who’s 42 and lives with his wife and their four children, thinks viewers will notice a change in Will. ‘In some ways Will is like a new character. He spent some time in America and has picked up lots of ideas from there. He’s more self disciplined, more alert, and his private life has changed too. Although we won’t see how for a while.’

Simon has been busy during his three year break from Peak Practice. He’s played a scientist in ITVs Bliss, a wheelchair bound landowner and Catherine Cookson’s Tilly Trotter, and the father of a missing child in the Inspector Wexford mystery Harm Done. He also appeared with Ewan McGregor in Rogue Trader and played himself in the BBC to comedy Gimme Gimme Gimme. ‘I’m not coming back to Peak Practice because the work dried up,’ he says. But Simon’s aware that the series popularity didn’t slump without him. ‘Peak Practice survived when I left, I just hope it continues to do well now that I’m back.’

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