I love the variety of acting. Doing the same role at length isn’t for me
HOLBY CITY’S MARK MORAGHAN HAS PLENTY TO SING ABOUT IN ROAD MUSICAL LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. MARION McMULLEN CHATS TO HIM ABOUT SOCCER, SOAPS AND SCOUSERS
Your career has covered everything from Brookside and Holby City to Coronation Street and Emmerdale. What do you get recognised for most?
ALL of them really. Not everyone has seen everything I’ve done, but people still recognise me from Brookside or Holby City and as Barry Scouser from Harry Enfield And Chums – [in over-the-top Liverpool accent] ‘Calm down, calm down’. I did that back in the 1990s, but they keep showing it on UK Gold even now.
I’m also the narrator on Thomas The Tank Engine on TV. I don’t watch everything I do, but I’ll watch it if I think I did a good job.
It can be cringing watching yourself, but it is part of the job if you want to improve.
I always manage to find something I don’t like though. I tend not to watch the really old stuff.
They are on Betamax and will never see the light of day.
Did you ever want to do anything apart from acting?
NO, never, I was single-minded. Even back in my early school days I didn’t want to do anything else.
People would tell me ‘Find a proper job’, but I ignored them. I was sleeping on people’s floors and borrowing off Peter to pay Paul so I could go to auditions in London.
You have to be pretty thickskinned in this game. I just kept going until the lean times became less and less over time.
What was the big turning point?
I THINK Brookside was a turning point. It gave me a leg-up in terms of television. I had done mainly theatre before then and a couple of other TV bits. And Holby was big as well. I like the discipline of film, theatre and television.
That’s why I became an actor. Doing the same type of role all the time, for me that’s not an acting job.
It’s all about variety and the quality of work. I have been lucky.
You’re now playing Grandpa in the UK tour of Little Miss Sunshine. Have you seen the Hollywood film the musical is based on?
I’D HEARD of the film but I’d never seen it, but the script for this was so great. I only watched the film two nights ago.
I got my idea for Grandpa done and on paper first and then went to see what Alan Arkin did with it in the film.
He won an Oscar for the role and wonderfully underplays the character, but in the musical you have to be larger than life.
We did not have a great deal of rehearsal time, but the opening night went fantastically well.
The show tells the story of young Olive who has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Do you get the chance to sing any of the numbers?
I’VE got two numbers of my own.
One when the character offers his grandson Dwayne some, ahem, grandfatherly advice on the fairer sex – that’s a polite way of saying it – and there’s also a lovely song with his granddaughter.
I take part in some of the other numbers as well and there are some incredible harmonies, just beautiful. Any excuse to sing.
I have four grandchildren aged between nine and 14 so I’ve got a bit of experience to draw on for the role.
I’ll be catching up with them on the tour and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for them to come and see the show.
You reached the final of Celebrity MasterChef in 2008. Do you still enjoy cooking?
I DO like to cook for the family.
I do most of the cooking at home and I enjoy it.
I take great delight in watching people enjoy my food and I like trying new things.
If there’s a cookery programme on television I will normally be sitting there watching it and I check out any new cookbooks. I make a fantastic pork roast with crackling and all the trimmings and I really like cooking Chinese food.
For the MasterChef final I did a whole Chinese banquet with everything from sea bass and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves to jade soup, tofu and little toffee apples for dessert. I had a hell of a lot of prep to do.
I’ve auctioned myself off as a chef since for a charity called Claire House and I’ve tried on my MasterChef whites and gone to people’s houses to cook them dinner.
I think it went well, but they might just have been polite. My dad used to say ‘even if you can’t do it always look as if you can’.
Are there any roles you’d still like to play?
I ALWAYS wanted to be the baddie Front-de-Boeuf in Ivanhoe and come on swinging a big sword.
I never got to do that and I’m probably too old now, but as I get older the roles get better.
I did a film called Allies in 2014 about D-Day. I played an army colonel and that was great.
It was a role I would have never have been cast as normally, it was very fulfilling.
Little Miss Sunshine tours until October. Go to littlemisssunshinemusical.com for ticket details.
Actor Mark Moraghan
Mark as Grandpa with Evie Gibson as Olive in Little Miss Sunshine