INTERVIEW BY: Fiona Phillips & Andrew Castle
FP: Tuesday nights. I’m talking ‘Peak Practice’ night and it set our pulses racing again this week when Kate Preston, the estranged wife of Dr Will Preston, made an unexpected return to Cardale. The good doctor and his wife, played by Simon Shepherd and Shelagh McLeod are with us this morning. It’s lovely to see you both back actually. You (to Shelagh) at the very end of the last series and you (to Simon) from the beginning of the last series.
SS: It’s great to be back actually. We’re off for a couple of weeks, I think we come back on January 2nd for the next series and the cliff-hanger at the end of the last episode on Tuesday was after a terrible day he turns around and…..there she is…..
SM: There I was!
FP: There she was! What made you both want to return? Was it hard to let go in the first place? I know you’ve been very busy both of you since leaving but there you are back again.
SS: For me when they asked me to go back I just thought ‘Well it’s a great show’. It’s still up there, it still gets the ratings, it’s a wonderful cast, it’s a great crew, it’s a new production from when I was there three years ago and I miss Derbyshire.
FP: So much so that you now have a house up there which you live in while your filming
SS: It’s like a weekend cottage.
SM: and we all go over there.
SM: And have cups of tea, he cooks us supper. It’s great.
FP: Tea and sympathy.
SS: Tea and sympathy with Dr Will in Derbyshire.
FP: But it’s so beautiful up there isn’t it?
SM: It is yes.
FP: But how do you manage? Because I know you both, I mean your family home is in the West Country (to Simon), your down south as well Shelagh and you have one little daughter.
FP: And you have four children.
SS: Yes, two boys, two girls.
FP: How do you manage when most of the time you’re up there?
SS: Well you get more sleep! Early calls are nothing! It’s just mix and match. You keep the balls up in the air and I’m very lucky because I come and go and I probably see my kids stranger hours but probably if I was doing a nine to five job I wouldn’t see them as much as I do
FP: I don’t know how you do it because your wife’s very busy as well. She’s a costume designer isn’t it she in the movie world?
SS: Yes, one of the best. I mean we take it in turns at the moment. She’s not working this year but she’ll be working again soon so we rely on fantastic nannies.
FP: You must have good help as well Shelagh.
SM: Yes we have a fantastic nanny; Rachel and my husband’s brilliant, he does the nights and I bomb down the motorway whenever I have a moment!
FP: It must be tiring.
SM: The motorway driving is the only down side of the job. Everything else is fabulous. I mean I was thrilled to be asked to come back, especially to act opposite him (Simon) – my ex neighbour!
SS: You have to say that
SM: Yes I have to say that
FP: Because you’re good friends aren’t you, the tea and sympathy and all that but you get on very well which helps doesn’t it?
SS: Yes well Shelagh and I have known each other for about 15 years, we were neighbours in West London
SM: In Shepherds Bush
SS: In Shepherds Bush
SM: Literally a stones throw away from each other
AC: But America has beckoned for you hasn’t it?
SM: Yes I lived in that States for seven years then I kind of got to that stage when it was time to come back, and I loved it, I loved L.A. I had a brilliant time, I was lucky I worked over there. But you know there comes a point when you think ‘Am I going to stay here for the rest of my life or do I want to come home?’, and I came home
FP: Good. Well we’re glad you did and we’re glad Kate came home to poor Dr Will. We’ll see what happens from the 2nd January when the new series kicks in. Have a lovely family Christmas both of you
SM: Yes and you
SS: And you
FP: Lovely to see you
SM: Thanks a lot
SS: Thank you