Radio Times Jan 2002 

QUESTIONNAIRE

 

JEREMY SHEFFIELD  

 

 

Holby City's dashing Dr Adams has a healthy interest in David Attenborough's job but would feel ill at ease without his passport or his cats.

 

What's your  first memory of TV or radio?

Wildlife programmes.  They're still the only thing I really watch.

 

Which programme have you recently enjoyed?

I adored The Blue Planet.  I've always bred tropical fish, and I have an absolute passion for them.

 

Which TV programme would you like to get rid of?

I'm not too keen on those trashy movie-of-the-week films that they show in the afternoon.  In the USA, they are scheduled against big American football games so women can go and watch them on the second television.  They are always very glossy and schmaltzy.  I was in one once as Melissa Gilbert's love interest in a movie called Her Own Rules.  I can now say that I snogged Laura from Little House On The Prairie.

   

What would you most like to change about yourself?

I'd like to be more self-confident and believe in myself more.

   

Describe yourself in three words.

Enthusiastic.  Aware.  Insecure.

   

Who or what is the love of your life?

My two cats, Missy and Busta.  They're named after the rap stars Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes.

 

Are you ever mistaken for a real doctor?

I have a lot of odd letters from people who are confused between fantasy and reality.  Quite a few people come up to me in the street.  Their opening line is "Doctor, I'm not feeling very well.  I need to be examined."

I reply: "OK, I'll just put my rubber gloves on, then," and they immediately run away.

 

Where were you born?

In Essex - I have the white socks to prove it!

 

What did you do before you were an actor?

I was a ballet dancer and spent nine years with the Royal Ballet Company in Covent Garden dancing opposite Natalia Makarova and Slyvie Guillem.  During a production of The Tempest, I once had Rudolph Nureyev sitting on my shoulders.

 

Why did you stop?

In the end, I fell out of love with it.  I  found it very limited creatively.  It was supposed to be an art form, but  it was more like being in the army.  You were told exactly what to do and treated like a child.  What was good about Billy Elliot was the incredible, focused passion he had for dance.  I had that once, but when I lost it I realised there was no point in being there anymore.

 

Whose job in TV would you like?

David Attenborough's.  I'd love to have the opportunity to be that close to such extraordinary natural phenomena.  I have a great passion for natural-history documentaries - they're showing s things we've never seen before.

 

What would be your first act a world leader?

Relieve world debt.  It would not be simple - far from it - but it would alleviate a lot of suffering.

 

What one possession would you rescue from a fire?

My passport.  If I couldn't travel, I'd feel like I was in prison.

 

What's the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

While filming Merlin, I had to wear a full suit of armour - I was playing Sir Lancelot.  The thought of clunking off to the lavatory was too much, and I thought it was safe to find the nearest tree.  What I didn't realise was that a bout 1,000 cast members were watching me from the jousting stadium.  They applauded me when I finished.

 

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Someone once told me always to be myself.  That's essential - in life as much as in acting.  I think it was Polonius who said "to thine own self be true".  I must admit, I was in the Royal Shakespeare Company for a year, and I still haven't read Hamlet!

 

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

I'd love to star in a Hollywood movie opposite Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges.  It's not much to ask for, is it?