The Daily Telegraph - Travel
Villain of ‘The Archers’ finds peace in Greece
When not outraging listeners as Rob Titchener on the radio soap, Timothy Watson dreams of happy returns to the laid-back, child-friendly island of Lefkada
Iknow we’re in the minority, but in our house there was a collective sigh of relief when Rob Titchener survived his comeuppance at the hands of his wife Helen. An actor’s life is an uncertain one, and for some time now I have been nervously checking my Archers scripts for the words “Rob dies” – wondering if we might dare budget for a summer holiday. Such is the precarious nature of life as an actor, and anyone with an ounce of sense would have given it up as a mug’s game years ago, launched a highly successful travel company, become chairman of a Premier League football club and travelled the world doing philanthropic works… but we’ll come to that in a minute.
“You’re alive!” said my 11-year-old daughter Mabel one evening not long ago. “Does that mean we can go to Lefkas?” she added over the sound of The Archers theme tune.
“Mousses!” shrieked my five-yearold son George over the sound of Minion Rush. Let me explain. In 2005, a year after our daughter was born, my wife and I were looking for that most elusive of things: Lefkada afficionado Timothy Watson, below: ‘With so many variables in our lives there’s a magic in constants’ something akin to the holiday we might have had Before Children (BC), but With Children. We wanted somewhere discreet and tucked away, somewhere where we might still read a book by the pool, somewhere intimate and peaceful, but with the things that kids like, too. What we discovered was Mousses. Here, on the beautiful Ionian island of Lefkada (or Lefkas), are 12 delightful villas named after the Greek muses (with a few other mythological characters thrown in to make up the numbers). No matter. They fit the bill so well that we’ve been back nearly every year since. And when we haven’t, we’ve wished we had. Try not to judge. I know we sound terribly dull – and perhaps we are – but this place is something special. The man behind its success is Graham Simpson, a former actor who gave it all up as a mug’s game in the late Seventies, launched a travel company, chaired a Premier League football club and… need I go on? I’ve never met him – and it’s difficult not to hate him – but he’s clearly a wiser man than I. Anyway, in 2002, he launched Simpson Travel (a sophisticated reincarnation of Simply Travel), specialising in just the sort of magical, unspoilt destinations my family loves. The main aim of a holiday is to arrive home calmer and more rested than when you