I was born in Loughborough, Leicestershire on 13th March
I attended Garendon Secondary Modern School and left when
I was l5 years old.
Married? Offsprring? Current home town?
I now live in Bristol. I am married to Jane and have one
I had to ask my family what they thought my favourite colour
was and they reckon, green and I think they're right although
Leicester City play in blue so I'm also quite fond of that.
Favourite films are many, the latest being Il Postino. All
time favourites would include Jean de Florette and the Ealing
Comdies; Man in the White Suit, The Lady Killers etc.
Fave singesr/groups Fave Record
Favourite singers would include Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King
Cole, Van Morrison.
Current favourite record : Van Morrison's Days Like This.
First Record Ever Bought?
The first record I bought was the Beatles, Rubber Soul.
Fave TV Progs
Favourite television programmes currently include; Father
Ted, Harry Enfield, Rory Bremner, The Day Today, Reeves and Mortimer
and The Fast Show. All time favourites Coronation Street (of
course), Fawlty Towers and Heimat: An epic German serial which
followed the life of a community from before the First World
War up to the sixties.
At the moment I drive a Saab because I have to do a lot of
miles and they are reputed to be very safe. but I don't particularly
like cars and would love to do without one. In town I try to
cycle or walk.
Former Occupations before acting?
I have Worked as a gas fitter, plumber, ice cream salesman
and barman. Since becoming an actor I have also had stints as
a theatre director, (running the Little Theatre Company in Bristol
and directing the premiere of Raymond Briggs' when the Wind Blows
at the Whitehall Theatre, London), taught drama at RADAR Central
and Rose Bruford and written plays: Robin Hood The Truth Behind
The Green -Tights currently playing in Estonia, is published
by Samuel French, pre-dates and is funnier than Mel Brooks's
version which has a similar title!
At what age did you decide you wanted to act?
I was 20 when I decided to try for drama School.
What was your first role? How old were you?
At 23 I left Central School of Speech and Drama to go into
rep at Watford. My first role was Gonzalo in the Tempest. Gonzalo
is the oldest character in the play and L was the youngest person
in the cast. I was awful but feel there were mitigating circumstances.
Also in that production was one Ken Morley playing Irinculo.
In the next snow, John Osborne's A Patriot for Me, I also shared
the stage with John Savident as well as Marianne Faithful and
various other bods.
Did you have to audition for the role of Roy?
I was interviewed for the part of Roy having been recommended
for it by Coronation Street writer, Stephen Mallatratt.
The character of Roy is, as with many CS characters, evolving
from the charcter that initially appeared. How much, if any,
input have you had in the development of the character?
It is difficult to say how much input I have in the development
of Roy's character. Toe main meat of the character obviously
comes with the scripts, I guess the way I then do it might give
the writers other ideas. The character was initially flown to
do just six episodes so there is clearly an element of seeing
how it turns out, nobody is quite sure until the show is broadcast
and various reactions are gathered. It's an elongated process
where things are constantly reviewed.
The characterisation of Roy is excellent. Did you base
him on a particular person or persons?
My interpretation of Roy is obviously influenced by my experiences
of people and elements of him are based on people I know or have
known. I wouldn't name them though.
I read on your biog that you played a character called
Mr Webster in Eastenders. When was this and what was the character?
My appearance in Eastenders was very brief when as Mr Webster,
along with Mrs Webster, I tried to buy Nick Cotton's house.
Script editors decreed that the purchase should not go through
and so the bubble was pricked on an embryonic Soap legend!
Have you found that you are recognised in public now that
you are in CS? If so, how do you feel about it?
Being recognised in public is something you have to experience
to understand. When you're in a show like this it happens constantly
and I think I'm getting better at dealing with it. Most of the
time it's good fun and you get to meet people you wouldn't normally
meet. It depends on the mood you're in and how people approach
you. I remember one bloke on a cross channel ferry who felt it
was his duty to inform every passenger in the loudest possible
way that I was the weirdo from Brookside. It's surprising how
small a cross channel ferry can suddenly feel and I wouldn't
have regretted nearing he'd gone over the side. The flip side
of that is that on a recent flight one of the air hostesses turned
out to be an avid Street fan and her attention didn't bother
me a bit. I guess you've got to take the rough with the smooth.
Were you previously a Coronation Street fan?
I have always been a fan of the show and therefore suddenly
being in it is brilliant. Getting to do a scene in the Rovers
for the first time was a real landmark for me, a bit like Jim
Had Fixed It, here was me doing a scene with Jack and Vera and
I loved it.
Who were/are your favourite characters?
There are so many characters that have been in the Street
it is impossible to nominate favourites.
The little details about Roy are a constant source of
fascination to his fans in the newsgroup. The Saturn V rocket
in his flat, the omnipresent shopping bag, the Titanic book plastered
in Post-It notes and the front door key on elastic etc. Who is
responsible for these touches?
Details like the shopping bag, post-its, key on elastic are
things I have given the character. The Saturn rocket in his room
is down to the designer, who does talk to me about what should
be in there and I have a couple of ideas for bits and pieces
if we ever go back to his room again.
What role do you play in the ,as yet unreleased, Mike
Leigh film listed in your biog sheet. Have you any idea when
it might be released?
In Mike Leigh's film Secrets and Lies I am just one
of the subjects of Tim Spall's photography sessions. I don't
even have a line but I am proud to be associated with it and
delighted that it won the Palme d'Or at the Canne Film Festival.
Do you have any other up and coming appearances on TV
or Film, or any stage work? Or are you now fairly tied to CS?
I am now fairly tied to CS and had to miss out on a part
in my friend William Ivory's Common as Muck series for the BBC.
So other than the odd repeat - I believe my episode of Heartbeat
is coming up - I am only to be seen as Roy Cropper.
What hobbies do you have?
Apart from being a passionate supporter of Leicester City
Football Club I have little time for hobbies. I am doing an Open
University degree in humanities which has used up most spare
time for the last seven years. I graduate in December so my Christmas
cards this year will be from David Neilson BA Hons!!
What ambitions do you have, as an actor or personally?
I tend to keep quiet about ambitions as so much is down to
luck and circumstance. If my family can remain happy and healthy,
that will do me.
What makes you laugh?
You can get an idea about what makes me laugh from my favourite
television programmes. Coronation Street is consistently funny.
What makes you cry?
Terrible tragedies like Dunblane and Hillsborough have made
me cry. Like many people. I also find it hard to watch programmes
like Great Ormond Street. I have been known to cry in sentimental
movies, leaving me with a feeling of self disgust at having been
such a sucker as to succumb to tears and terrified that lights
will come up and reveal this fact to the rest of the audience.
How would you feel about a romantic interest for Roy?
I guess if Roy is to remain as a character in the Street
there will inevitably be some romantic attachment. I can't imagine
who with at the moment though, perhaps it will be Samanttna the
Rover's new barmaid!
If you could be anyone else, who would you be?
I don't think I could cope with being anyone else! It's a
full time job just being me. I do admire the philosophical courage
and bravery of many of the parents in Great Ormond Street and
Tim Parry's parents, (one of the children from Warrington who
was blown up by the IRA) have been inspirational in trying to
find the positive in such mindless barbarism. I would like to
possess these qualities but if tested to the same extent I doubt
if I would measure up.
Finally, if you were granted three wishes, what would
you wish for?
Three Wishes? My son says you can always lie and put 'world
peace'. But I Won't.