BBC Radio 4

    Life outside The Archers

    Well here I am back in Ambridge after a two month stint Educating Rita at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury - I popped up to Birmingham to do four episodes in that time but was otherwise immersed in the discipline and rigour of theatre. Most of my life as an actor involves doing something different every single day and having to do the same thing every night (and twice on Thursdays and Saturdays) for six weeks was a shock to the system. However the result is that I feel more alive and brighter than I have for years - a nightly dose of adrenaline is a wonderful boost to the system and feels like having one's batteries recharged. I recommend it.

    Of course I've returned to a Norman-less Ambridge, which is sad and very much the end of an era. It really won't feel the same. No doubt we will be recording scenes of the death of Phil at some point, which will be poignant for me, having lost my own Pa not so long ago. A little known fact is that as well as using the pen-name 'Bruno Milner', Norman also wrote Archers scripts as 'Norman Bentinck' - this long before I joined the show - weird or what? He was very different from my own father in so many ways but they had two things in common: they both had silver hair and beards and were both Google-like in their ability to answer almost any question you could throw at them. They both had prodigious memories and seemed to be able to recall everything that ever happened to them - unlike me: I am in the process of devising a one-man show about my life, with anecdotes, my songs and video, and have been trawling my friends for funny stories. It's terrifying the things that they've sent back - entire swathes of my life that I have no recollection of whatsoever. Scary.

    Happy Christmas to all, and be nice to me in Mustardland!

    Tim Bentinck plays David Archer in The Archers


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