7 things television has taught me...
don’t wear red on Star Trek
‘If you’re beamed aboard the
USS Enterprise under the command of James T Kirk as a new crew member, don’t join the queue for red shirts! If you get a red shirt, you’ll be sent as an advanced landing party to some strange planet and the odds are you won’t be coming back. So, either wear a different colour shirt or nip down to see Dr Mccoy and tell him you’ve sprained your wrist playing space chess.’
Sooty should be a daytime chat show host
‘Most actor interviews on daytime telly last about five minutes. So why not have Sooty whisper into the actor’s ear and then the actor can reply,“what’s that, Sooty? You want me to tell you all about my latest project?” In the background you could have Sweep in his dungarees trying to do some decorating.’
Wild at Heart had lots of animal magnetism
‘My dad always told me to remember that, as a TV actor,
I’m a guest in people’s homes and that’s true enough. People come up to you as if they’ve already met you because they’ve invited you into their house by watching you on the telly. These days they normally want a quick selfie or an autograph. It’s always nice to get a bit of encouragement from the viewers.
‘People often ask if Wild at Heart is coming back. I’d love that, as I really miss the animals. Working with them
was a special treat.’
embrace technology we’re addicted to hospital and cop shows
‘We can’t resist watching what happens to people who end up in hospitals or police stations. If you ever do wind up in the latter, you’d want someone as dogged as Banks helping you.
‘Actually, talking about hospital shows, once upon a time I almost landed a role as a regular on Casualty. It was between me and Robson Green [for the role of porter Jimmy Powell] and, of course, he got it. That was my Sliding Doors moment – who knows, I could have ended up singing with Jerome!’ ‘If TV sport coverage has taught me anything, it’s that we shouldn’t be afraid of technological advances. In cricket, you can now tell whether a batsman is out LBW or not and in football we now use goal-line technology, which means we no longer have to debate whether the ball was over the line or not.
‘Plus, it’s been great for tennis, as you can see whether the ball has landed in or out. Embrace the fact that it has enhanced the whole experience immeasurably.’
Now DCI Banks is back for a fifth series, Stephen Tompkinson tells TV Times what he’s learnt from a lifetime watching the box
radio breeds great Tv
‘We should also remember how influential radio is on television. Radio shows can often be successfully adapted for TV, especially in comedy. Hancock’s Half Hour, The League of Gentlemen, Goodness Gracious Me and Little Britain all began life on the radio before becoming huge TV hits.
‘My all-time favourite radio show was a 1981 BBC Radio 4 production of Lord of the Rings, featuring Ian Holm, John Le Mesurier and Bill Nighy. I was hooked on it as
a kid, I thought it was absolutely brilliant.’
writers are the key
‘Writers are the heart of any show. They should be cherished, yet they’re often ignored. I’ve been terribly lucky with the ones I’ve worked with. When I did Drop the Dead Donkey, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin would still be penning the script on the day it was recorded, which was the day before it went out on C4.
‘I was also lucky to work with Kieran Prendiville, who created Ballykissangel. The show attracted 15 million viewers, which is the biggest audience I’ve ever had.’
‘Who are you calling a Cheetah?’ Owzat! England paceman
Stuart Broad celebrates
Oh no, looks like Scotty’s in trouble...
Silent witness Sooty waits for co-star Sweep to squeak up
Robson got the green light instead of Stephen
My dad always
told me to remember that, as a TV actor, I’m a guest in people’s homes and that’s
true enough Hancock enjoyed a lot more than half-an-hour DCI BANKS is previewed
on pages 66-67 Television set: The cast of Drop the Dead Donkey