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Q&A: Christopher Timothy

Published 21 June 2016

Star of stage and screen Christopher Timothy is perhaps best known for his roles as James Herriot in All Creatures Great And Small, and as Mac Maguire in the BBC soap Doctors. He also performed in Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre and has starred in numerous West End productions. This month he returns to the West End as Jim Heeler in Hobson’s Choice, alongside fellow television star Martin Shaw. 

How would you describe your character?

Fellow ‘toper’ of Henry Hobson, friend and confidant.

Why do you think Hobson’s Choice has endured for 100 years?

Because it is an especially good play, totally relevant today and very funny.

What was it like performing as part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre?

I was part of a company of very talented people doing great plays, with a 99% success rate! What a privilege.

What sparked your interest in performing?

Pantomime, musicals, films and radio as child; I decided would be an actor at 6 years old.

What is the finest performance you have seen?

There are so many, but if pushed, Alistair Simms as ‘Scrooge’ in 1950 movie.

What do you consider your big break?

James Herriot in All Creatures Great And Small.

Following your successful TV roles, how often do people ask you about their own or their pet’s medical conditions?

Maybe once a year, and never seriously.

Have you made any sacrifices for the sake of your career?

Erm – well – the only sacrifice (and it was hardly a sacrifice) was not going for a recall, because I’d promised to do something with my kids!

Do you have any theatrical superstitions?

No!

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Snowy Christmases in North Wales.

Who or what has inspired you?

People I believe in, actors doing and saying things I believe. Things I’m not afraid to copy!

What will always, without fail, bring a smile to your face?

The sight or sound of children’s laughter.

What book, film or album would you recommend to a friend?

The 1950 ‘Scrooge’ film, or Stephen King’s novel ‘Dolores Claiborne’ and so many others.

What could you not be without?

Family.

What would you choose as a last meal?

Does ‘last meal’ mean before my execution? I’d rather not think about that.

Do you have any advice for you actors?

I’d point out the pitfalls I suppose, starting with the fact that 92% of the acting profession is unemployment. If that doesn’t put them off…

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?

Unhappy, unfulfilled, hell to live with!

Hobson’s Choice runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until 10 September. You can buy tickets through us here.

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