INTERVIEW BY: Nick Owen
NO: Tomorrow night sees the return to our screens of Britain’s favourite medical drama Peak Practice. However in this new series there’s been a slight reshuffle in the doctors rota. Central characters Kevin Whately and Amanda Burton have said goodbye to the country town of Cardale and have left it’s surgery under the solid command of Dr Preston and it’s new locums Andrew Attwood and Erica Matthews. Sadly things don’t seem to be getting off to such a great start.
(clip from Series 4 Episode 1, Will and Erica arguing as Andrew looks on)
NO: And with us now Gary Mavers who plays Dr Andrew Attwood and Saskia Wickham who plays Dr Erica Matthews. Good morning to you both.
GM: Good Morning
SW: Good morning
NO: And good luck with the new series. I mean you’ve been it it before (to Gary) you were in the last series weren’t you?
GM: Yes, I came in 6 before the end of the last series
NO: And now you’re in for the first time
SW: Yes, brand new
NO: And one of the first things you did was get soaked on the river bank
SW: Completely yes, completely drenched
NO: What happened that day then?
SW: What happened in the actual filming?
NO: Yes, you didn’t have to go in did you?
SW: We actually had to shoot it twice because the first time a lot of the cameras didn’t work, so the first time we shot it I did go into the water and do everything but the second time…..
NO: The camera’s didn’t work so you had to do it a second time?
SW: The second time we did it was in December and I said ‘I don’t think so’ – so they got a stunt double to go in to the river
NO: Prima Donna!
SW: Prima Donna completely
NO: But it still had to look authentic
SW: It had to look authentic so we got covered with buckets of cold water which – I might as well have gone in to the river, and of course I had to do the underwater stuff which we did in a swimming pool which wasn’t heated and was outdoor
NO: So it’s not all cosy is it, being an actress?
NO: What’s it like coming in to an established series like this which has done really well up to now? It’s quite a pressure on you, isn’t it – in a way?
SW: I haven’t thought that is has been. It’s been other people saying to me ‘it’s a pressure’. I think you’ve got such a good head start because it’s very established and it’s got a great bunch of people who are already there. And because Gary and Simon were there who’ve done it before it wasn’t completely brand new, and my characters very different from the one Amanda Burton was playing. I just hope people like her as much!
NO: Now, Gary, in the beginning of this new series things are not going too smoothly are they – in the practice?
GM: No , obviously Kevin and Amanda have left now
NO: You’re understaffed, there’s a flu epidemic
GM: Yes, there’s all kinds going on. It’s in complete chaos when the series starts. Erica’s come into the practice, things don’t go according to plan
NO: Is there going to be some love interest flying around?
GM: Yes, there’s plenty!
NO: I sense there might be some lovey dovey going on. Are you going to tell me who’s going to love who?
SW: Erica loves everybody!
NO: Why do you think it’s such a success?
GM: Well I think it’s partly to do with the beautiful locations we film at
NO: The Derbyshire Peaks are absolutely magnificent aren’t they?
GM: I think the people who watch Peak Practice like to think they can identify with the doctors
NO: Did you actually investigate a doctors life before you took this part?
GM: No, I’d be a liar to say that. We have a nurse on set all the time so when you have to examine someone in a certain way or give an injection in a certain way, she’s always at hand to tell us exactly how to do it
NO: Do you actually do injections?
GM: Well we don’t actually do them but very nearly
SW: They’re quite good fun, my sister-in-law is a GP
NO: So what’s she told you about it?
SW: She’s an inner city GP which is a bit different but you get a sense of the lifestyle they lead. She has a beeper when she’s on call, you go for the weekend – she has small children – and suddenly her beeper goes and she has to go off. It could be someone who’s got a headache or a brain tumour and you’ve got to make that decision.
NO: That’s the big thing isn’t it – coming in with something that could be really simple and in fact it’s life threatening.
SW: I think being a GP is the hardest part of doctoring because you have to know about everything and everybody always wants and answer. People aren’t necessarily coming in because they’re very ill, they’re coming in because they want to chat or something. They’re lonely or they’ve got psychological problems. So there’s a lot you have to learn about.
NO: Now you’ve always been in this business (to Saskia) but you came in to quite late didn’t you Gary? Tried other things in life
GM: Yes I suppose I have a certain affinity as the character of Andrew. I worked as a carpenter, as a butcher, as a chauffeur, did just about every job before I decided to embark on a career as an actor. Just like Andrew, he was an electrician and decided he wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. I was 20 when I went to RADA. It was a big change from what I’d done before. I’d never done acting before but I suppose we’re the same in that we both entered what is thought of predominately middle class professions and against all odds here we are
NO: Absolutely, well good luck with the new series
SW: Thank You
NO: Starts tomorrow night
SW: 9 O’clock
NO: Peak Practice ITV, I’ll be watching and you (to Gary and Saskia) keep apart for the beginning – you’ve got to do your job