Simon Shepherd TV Times Interview – March 1996

Is it love again for Dr Will?

He’s lost his partners, wife and children, but we needn’t feel too sorry for Peak Practice’s Will Preston. Just weeks into the new series he’s already found a possible new romance. The woman in question is neighbouring doctor Kate Webster (Shelagh McLeod), and their friendly dates look set to develop into something much warmer. In any case, Dr. Will is a changed man. ‘He’s much stronger and more interesting these days,’ says 39 year old Simon Shepherd who plays the hardpressed medic. ‘When everything’s falling apart around him, he doesn’t buckle or break down and cry, the way he did in the last series. His wife’s left him and gone to America with the two kids, which was a great wrench, but he wants a chance to find love again. We still haven’t filmed the final episode though so I don’t know whether he’s going to marry again.’

At one point, it looked as though there’d be no Will Preston in the current series because Simon had quit. ‘I was bored with my performance and with what they were writing for Will, and I knew the audience would be bored because I was stale,’ he says candidly. ‘I resigned, then Kevin Whately and Amanda Burton decided to finish and the situation changed.’ He talked it over with his wife costume designer Alexandra Byrne, with whom he has four children, Joe, eight, twins Arthur and Billie who are five and nine month old Beatrice, and decided to stay.

‘I think we have a good series,’ he says. ‘But ultimately the audience will decide whether we’ve got it right.’

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