This months guest blog is from Mervyn Robinson himself:
Now that the first instalment of my memoirs have been released to the general public, I can finally talk about how exciting it’s been for me to relive a key episode from my life in the 90s with the likes of the lovely Sophie ‘McCoy’s-Ace-in-the-hole’ Aldred and Stuart ‘voice-of-Tom’ Grant! I’ve been writing stuff down for weeks, actually, but before it was released the writer/producer Steve Broster kept censoring me. Apparently there was an NDA involved at some point early in the process, which it turns out doesn’t actually stand for Nineties Doctor Adventures.
So, now that I’m allowed to write about how much fun, and above all, culturally significant, the whole experience has been, I thought I’d use this opportunity to set a couple of facts straight about what really happened during the production, and why I don’t think I upset the so-called “real actors” by being over-familiar and making inappropriate suggestions.
For example: the scene where I surprise Tracy in the shower, as played by Sophie. I did suggest to Sophie that we method act this scene and do it for real, but only because I really wanted to know what it would be like to surprise an attractive lady in the shower – you know, so that I could inject further realism into my performance. When I said this to Broster he didn’t seem to believe me for some reason. “But I thought this actually happened to you? It’s in your memoirs, isn’t it?”
“Mate” I said, “I’ve basically forgotten it – there’s so many Tom memories in my head there’s no room for anything else.”
Sophie pointed out that Method acting was more about finding memories that had the same emotional resonance as the experience one was trying to convey, so I used this technique when we did the scene. Apparently, during the first take, at the point where I surprise Tracy, I shouted out “Mum!” which made Broster think the whole Tracy story was made up and it had happened with my mum instead. “Why don’t we call your mum up and get her to shower in front of you if you’re interested in method acting?” was his snarky question. “Because she’s 72 now, so it wouldn’t have the same effect,” I said, “and anyway she’s dead!” That shut him up alright. She’s not really dead, but I don’t see how he’s going to find that out.
Anyway, never mind about all that – I had a fantastic time, particularly listening to the frankly astonishing Tom voice of Stuart Grant. Once or twice I closed my eyes and imagined I was in the presence of the great man. This did make me miss one or two of my lines, which got me into trouble with Broster again. “Just open your eyes and read the bloody lines!” he shouted. Inspirational director. Not.