Simon Shepherd What’s on TV Interview – February 2001

Falling in love again

It promises to be one of the most popular storylines ever featured in Peak Practice. Hold on to your hankies this week, as Dr. Will Preston and his estranged wife Kate finally get back together. ‘However, nothing is ever as totally straightforward for Dr Will,’ warns Shepherd he plays him. ‘Viewers are advised to watch right through until the end of the episode because the final scenes are very important. But they do become reunited which I know from comments over the past few months, is what the viewers want to happen.’

The couple’s troubles began in 1998, when off screen they left England for a new life in America. Tragically their daughter, Emily died while they were out there, putting unbearable pressure on their relationship. ‘When they returned to Britain, Kate was the one who initially wanted to get back together,’ says Simon. ‘Recently it has been Will who’s wanted it when Kate hasn’t. Now happily they both see a future together.’

From a personal point of view, Simon is delighted with the storyline, because it means more scenes with Shelagh McLeod who plays Dr. Kate. ‘Shelagh and I have known each other for years, since we worked on a British Airways ad in the late 80s,’ says Simon. ‘We struck up a friendship then. We were also neighbours in London at the time.’

These days, Simon’s main base is in the West Country, not there he’s there very much. He and his wife Alex both have jobs that take them away from home. Alex is an Oscar nominated film costume designer who last year, worked on, Captain Correli’s Mandolin, with Nicolas Cage. Simon meanwhile spends nine months a year in Derbyshire working on Peak Practice. ‘But I always get back to the West Country on weekends and Alex and the children visit me and Derbyshire,’ says Simon, Dad, to Joe, 13 twins, Billie and Arthur, nine and Beatrice, five. ‘I have a cottage there and it’s like having a holiday home. I see as much of my children as a father who works a nine to five day would.’

Simon, who returned to Peak Practice last year after a three year break, has committed himself to the drama for at least another year. But he’ll also be fitting in some other TV jobs. ‘I’m probably going to play myself again in the BBC comedy, Gimme Gimme Gimme he reveals. ‘James Dreyfus’ character has a crush on me. And if somebody offered me a part in a film that was being shot in the Caribbean or during the summer in Provence, and I could take my family along. I definitely consider for the time I’m not working on at Peak Practice.’

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