Everything’s going to plan for Gary Mavers. He’s found fame a Dr Attwood, but he’s always looking 10 years ahead….
Why do you prescribe school as a prison sentence?
I hate any kind of establishment, being told what to do, how to think. I felt very restricted and couldn’t wait to leave. The school punishment book just consisted of my name and my two brothers – any prank imaginable we got up to. I was strapped nearly every day and my wrists were constantly marked with black and blue bruises, with a hole imprint from the leather strap where they used to hang it up.
Do you agree with corporal punishment?
It’s much easier to sit a kid down and talk things through. The strap obviously didn’t do me any good, because I carried on being naughty. When you get treated like that, you just rebel against it.
When you sat in class, where did you want to be?
I’ve always spent my life wanting to be 10 years on, and I’m the same now. I was thinking about leaving school and achieving things. Daydreaming. My daughter Abby’s school report comes back and it says, ‘dreamer’ right the way down, and I think, ‘That’s my girl!’, it’s exactly the way I was. You can’t stop people dreaming, it’s the best thing in the world.
Where did you end up when you left school?
I liked working with wood and had an apprenticeship as a joiner, but the day before I left school the teacher said I had to stay on an extra year because I’d missed the leaving age by 12 hours! It messed me up and when I left I couldn’t get an apprenticeship, so I went into a butchers shop full-time, where I’d been working since I was 14.
From butcher to luvvie! What made you apply to RADA?
I had a bit of a scuffle with the boss and walked out without a reference, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Although I enjoyed being a butcher, it paid badly and was a dead-end job. I had to rethink my future, and decided acting was something I could survive in if I was competitive and good enough. RADA was the only drama school I’d heard of.
How did you know you’d have what it takes as an actor?
Desperation! It was the classic thing of watching people on TV and thinking, ‘I can do that, it’s not difficult’. I had no experience – when I was five, I was cast as a tree in a school play but it got cancelled! And I’d only ever read one book, but I went to the play shelf at the library and got the complete works of Shakespeare and various playwrights and read them all back to back, so four months later, I had lots to talk about at the interview.
Pretty-single minded then! And you’re like that outside work too?
Whatever hobby I’ve had I’ve always become a bit obsessed with. That’s why I’d never take up golf, I’d be creeping out at 5am with my check pants on. My wife’s already a car widow – I’m bang into classic cars, working on their engines and restoring them.
Because you’ve always believed in working to live, rather than the other way round?
Yes, when you get home, that’s when the living starts. Forget all this, ‘I love my job and career, I’m never having kids.’ Who wants to get up at 5.30am and go to work when you can lie in bed and enjoy life with your family?
Your role in Peak Practice has earned you a ‘heart-throb’ tag. What do you think your appeal is?
I don’t know what the fuss is about – if people could see me first thing in the morning! It’s nice and it’s flattering but I don’t take it seriously.
You say you’re a ‘total coward’ when it comes to women. Why?
I’m quite an intuitive person but I can never work women out or tell when they’re giving you the come on. A lovely woman will bounce over to you in a nightclub and say, ‘My gran really loves you, but she thinks you’re a bit podgy’. One of my friends said to me, ‘Gary. what women do is say the opposite to what they’re thinking. Basically, they’re madly in love with you but will never say that’. Tell me how to work women out and I will.
What do you like most about women?
They’re like a packet of Revels, you open them but never know what you’re going to get – but you know it’s going to be expensive!
A newspaper called you a ‘simple soul’ – is that the worst thing someone could say bout you?
I hate it when people assume things and make things up for the simple reason I haven’t done an interview. That’s the most disgusting thing. It’s my prerogative not to do an interview.
You rarely give them. It’s what you hate most about showbiz?
Yes. I don’t feel comfortable with interviews, I’m a private person, and deep down I’m not good at them – but I’ll do my best. I like my work, I get paid really well for it and I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in and I don’t really want to go and shout it from the rooftop.
Do you think actors generally give too many interviews?
Yes. There’s not that mystique or enigma if people know too much about you. Why anyone would want to talk about themselves is beyond me. I’ve always been a bit reticent about people I don’t know. It’s human nature. Why do interviews and open your heart to someone you’ve never met?
The other thing you don’t much like about your job is stripping off?
I don’t like giving interviews, and stripping off is one step further. I couldn’t think of anything worse then stripping off for an interview!
Do you work out?
Yes – if a part requires me to take my kit off, it’s only natural to want to look my best. I certainly wouldn’t want to at some big fat belly on telly or a guy with boobs! If it’s nice to look at, you watch, it’s part of the job.
What’s the best bit of advice anyone ever gave you?
Don’t look back. It was a maths teacher. I was about to leave school, and he gave me a pep talk and said I could do well in the world if I kept me head. I thought, ‘Hang on he’s right, you can throw everything away or work towards something you want.’
Do you have a plan for your career?
To a certain extent I’ve always had an agenda. I left drama school in 1986 and I’m still on course for that agenda and what I want to achieve.
There were rumours a few months ago that you were quitting Peak Practice. Are you happy there?
How would you best sum Gary Mavers up?
Some oik trying to do the best I can, like.