I love the va­ri­ety of act­ing. Do­ing the same role at length isn’t for me


Llanelli Star - - SPOTLIGHT -

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

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