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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Defying Gravity: Peter Howitt

Peter Howitt as Trevor Williams

Peter Howitt, the award-winning director who made his writing and directing debut with the international box office hit Sliding Doors, recounts how he came to find himself in the somewhat unusual position of being both a director and simultaneously landing a recurring role on the series.

Originally approached by executive producers Michael Edelstein and Jim Parriott to direct some of the episodes, Howitt proposed acting, as well.

"I kind of cheekily mentioned, as I'd noticed there was this British reporter in the show, I said, 'If you want, I'll play him as well, 'cause I'm local and I qualify and I'm cheap.' They phoned up and said, 'Look, we'd love you to direct some episodes, and were you serious about playing Trevor Williams?' So I ended up doing both, which has been really good.

"Obviously, the Antares mission is being covered by the world's press because it's such a huge undertaking, with interest from all over the world," says the Manchester-born actor/director.

"Trevor is covering it for a major British news organisation, and he is a dyed-in-the-wool, old school journalist...He can see a bluff, and he'll get the story. He'll get the truth. Trevor almost represents the audience's curiosity on screen, because there's quite a lot in the story that makes you suspicious, and makes you wonder what's actually going on. Everything isn't quite what it seems," says Howitt.

"Trevor's the man who asks those tricky questions, and tries to get to the bottom of some of the more nefarious things that are going on, so it's a good character."

Howitt, who lives in Canada with his family, admits he often has a hankering to be back home on British soil: "I love living here in Vancouver, I feel lucky to live here, but I miss London quite a lot. There are times I yearn to get back to the UK.

"I'm lucky I have done three or four films in the UK since I moved here, but there are times when I miss my pals in the UK."

The 52-year-old actor, whose film credits include In The Name Of The Father with Daniel Day Lewis and Some Mother's Son alongside Helen Mirren, had a particular edge on acting the part of a journalist, since his father was one in real life.

"My dad, Frank, was a Fleet Street journalist for many, many years. He wrote for the Daily Express, and indeed uncovered the infamous Christine Keeler affair, the John Profumo scandal in 1963. He broke that story and I very nearly went into journalism."

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