INTERVIEW BY: Eamon Holmes & Fiona Phillips
FP: It’s day one of our Peak Practice special and fans will once again be able to have a weekly dose of the medical drama as it returns to our screens tonight. Today we’re joined by Simon Shepherd who plays dishy doc Will Preston, before we chat to the man himself let’s remind ourselves of his story so far.
Clips of Sarah telling Will she is taking the children to America (S4Ep1)
Kate telling Will she is keeping the baby (s4ep10)
Will tells Kate they have to stick together to fight Emily’s illness (s5ep2)
FP: Sexy you maybe but those ladies have been giving you a hard time haven’t they?
SS: I think they probably have but I think he probably deserves it, I mean he’s a bit wimpy sometimes
FP: And I have to say that he was actually wearing the same shirt as you’re wearing now
SS: I stole it!
FP: It’s such a popular series, in it’s fifth series now and you’ve been there since the beginning
SS: It’s extraordinary, none of us at the beginning had a clue how successful how it was going to be. I think that was the combination of all the hard work Kevin Whately, Amanda Burton and I put in right at the beginning with the brilliant Lucy Gannon and Tony Virgo, who produced the first series. It kicked of with the huge following that Kevin Whately deservedly has, and then people got caught in the story and here we are cracking into the fifth series.
FP: And it’s still as popular as ever despite the departure of Kevin Whately and Amanda Burton
SS: Yes, which I think is the strength of the script, the strength of the storylines and the fact that people just want to follow the characters in that great setting
FP: Now you have a bit of a bombshell to drop don’t you, sexy Dr Will Preston?
SS: Sexy Dr Will Preston is leaving, tired Simon Shepherd feels its time to move on. At the end of the last series, series 4, I decided that it was really time to leave. The producers came up with a great idea to get me out and asked me if I’d carry on just to settle the new series down. They’ve found a very good replacement; Adrian Lukis who was the awful Wickham in Pride and Prejudice. Gary Mavers and Saskia Wickham are talented and very popular, and I think that it stands a very good chance of becoming even more popular. Because the dynamic between the three, now I’ve gone they have to get Dr Shearer, played by Adrian, they have to get him in. Andrew is a very strong character and they’ve got this new very strong character coming in so I think it’s going to work very well.
FP: But they will miss you. Will you miss it?
SS: I will miss it, I have to be honest. I never thought when I started acting that I’d do a job for four years and it’s been a turnaround job, I’m very grateful for the job. It’s a character that I’ve lived with, I’ve put a lot of myself into the character, I hope I’ve created a character that people have enjoyed. I’ve heard that the audience have enjoyed it.
FP: Well the figures speak for themselves, 13 million
SS: And at times it’s gone higher than 13 million. I will miss it. What I’ll really miss is the Peak District and I’ll miss a lot of friends.
FP: However you’re no based up there are you? So you won’t miss the driving up there
SS: No I won’t miss that at all. As an actor you sign a pact with the devil with the freelance situation – why choose to leave?
FP: So you must have something else lined up? What is it?
SS: Bliss, I did a pilot last year about a scientist in Cambridge. It got about 10.5 million viewers for Carlton Television again and it was commissioned for four more 90 minute films. So I’ve just finished doing that, it goes out in the Spring. Will you have me back to talk about it?!
FP: We shall, we’ll put our bids in right now
EH: ER doing very very well
SS: I’d like to be in ER. The pace of that is so fantastic, it’s something English television attempts to do and sometimes gets it, but American Television does have that energy.
EH: A different show than Peak Practice. Simon great talking to you. See you back with your new venture.
SS: Thank you for having me