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29 October 2014
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Monarch of the Glen

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Live Chat
Anthony Head

As Chester in Monarch, Anthony's brought a little bit of Essex charm to Scotland. Having made his fortune in poultry, Chester's been ruffling some feathers by chasing Isobel, much to Paul's annoyance.

Anthony joined us after the show on Sunday 14th November for a live interview about ladies' cardigans, high heels and the Highlands.

The first question was from JoJo: How on earth does filming in the peaceful wonderful setting of monarch of the glen compare to the madness of monsters, vampires and Joss Whedon!
Anthony Head: Horses for different courses really. The thing that attracted me to Chester was that it was unlike anything anybody's seen me do before… and it was fun!

Question from Kelly: what made you choose Monarch over other projects?
Anthony Head: I look to see what I can bring to something and where it puts me in the way people perceive me and if I can change things a little, I do. Chester was a long way from anything anybody knows me for. It's about constantly reinventing yourself. I don't want to be in a position like a well-known film star who recently said he'd become disenchanted with the business because he was bored with doing the same thing. I still find it a challenge and I love it.

Question from Anya: Does Tony have any real links to Scotland and The Highlands?
Anthony Head: Yes, quite a few. My father's Christian name is Seafield, after the Earl of Seafield or something. But also, while I was up there I went up to Grantown on Spey, because my grandparents were Grants. But I didn't go further than the gatehouse of the family seat. I thought it was rude!

Question from Ralph: Do you have any unfortunate relatives called Richard? Anthony Head: (Laughing) No, but I did hear about an army guy called Major Richard Head.

Question from Anne: Did you have to learn to shoot for the role of "Chester"?
Anthony Head: Briefly, yes. And I've already had several offers to teach me to shoot properly. Happily, I don't shoot though and I have no intention of shooting - anything! We didn't have to do many takes of the clay pigeon shooting because I wasn't actually shooting at anything.
We shot with blanks which don't really have much of a recoil but when I shot with a proper shot I nearly bruised my eye because the recoil was stronger and my eye was too close.

Question from Lara: did you find it daunting coming into a well established series like Monarch?
Anthony Head: Not at all. The director was a friend. I've never worked with him before but it was fun. We have a very similar idea of what was required. And Chester's whole being seems to be about winding everybody up so I just got in there and had a good time! (Laughs) I didn't really care.

Question from Rebecca: Do you think Chester will be around for a while in Monarch and does he actually have a soft spot for Isobel or is he just winding Paul up?
Anthony Head: I guess we'll find out, on both counts...

Natasha: I'm a huge Buffy fan (love Giles) and i was wondering....what ever happened to Ripper (the there were rumours of you and Joss doing a series based on Giles)? Anthony Head: Erm, it's not dead... Joss still wants to do something. It may end up as a two hour film as part of a series of films about various characters. He wants to do something with Spike and maybe with Xander. He still wants to shoot it but the world needs Joss Whedon to do some movies and that's what he's doing.

Question from Amy: If there was anything that you could have done with Giles apart from being evil, what would it have been?
Anthony Head: Been more evil.

Question from Marc: Are there any plans for you to participate in any other Little Britain sketches?
Anthony Head: No, I mean, I am the Prime Minister and hopefully will remain thus ever so. The second series is moving to BBC1. I think there were some slight fears they might have to cut some stuff. It's pretty cool, if not a little disturbing in places!

Question from Britt: After working in Rocky Horror, have you ever worn those pumps around the house?
Anthony Head: (Laughing) They weren't pumps, they were three and a half inch heels. Once Sarah caught me in them I didn't really put them on again. But she also caught me wearing some of her cardigans, which was more disturbing.

Question from Sharon: There are rumours of a Little Britain stage show that will tour next year - do you know if your schedule will allow you to take part?
Anthony Head: I have no idea. The boys have talked about it and I guess, if I'm around, I'll do it. But I don't think it'd be regular. Who knows? I think it'd be a great show. We did one sketch at the Albert Hall, at the Great British Comedy Night. It was great fun. The Jamie Theakston sketch. It was fun doing it live.

Question from Caitlin: You have released a successful album and are constantly being badgered at conventions to sing! What music do you have in your CD player in the car or at home at the moment and whose music puts you in the mood for lurve?!!
Anthony Head: Oh, it's a funny old mix. The car - it's a mixture of an old David Crosbie song, cos I'm going to do a song with my daughter. A bit of Norah Jones, a bit of The Pixies. But at the moment, I'm waiting to buy Kings of Leon and Snow Patrol. And also, there's a song by Beck which I love which is on the soundtrack of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's a beautiful cover. I can't remember what it's called but it's a classic cover. Hopefully, I'll get an MP3 player and be able to get single songs on it rather than a whole album. And for lurve, usually some classic soul does it for me. A bit of Aretha.

Question from Simon: What’s your favourite cheese?
Anthony Head: (Thinks) I do like Brie. I always come back to Brie. It's simple yet subtly complex.

Question from Rebecca: How do you feel about the idea that you've managed to make libraries look sexy?
Anthony Head: Suits me fine! I'm not quite sure how! I blew up my library. But there WAS a snake in it at the time…

Question from Noria: You've recently done "Now, Voyager" for BBC Radio 4 and I was wondering: How do you do a stage kiss for radio?
Anthony Head: On the back of my hand. We did try kissing for real and it just sounded... well crap, basically. It just didn't sound like anything, much, so I just did it on the back of my hand.

Question from Meg: What is it like working on 'Little Britain'? By the way, you'd be a cool prime minister.
Anthony Head: It's absolutely horrible and I'm extremely uncomfortable with Matt and David. (laughs) No, they're actually lovely guys and really generous. They're not precious about their work and if you have an idea, they welcome it, which makes it a lot of fun.

Question from Nash: During the filming of True Horror for the Discovery Channel, did you come across anything that surprised you? For example a legend being more real than you expected?
Anthony Head: Oh, yes! Pretty much every episode had something which not only took me by surprise but took my breath away. And as the series went on it got more and more real. Zombies, in particular, was scary. Demons, had its moments. Pretty much every episode had something that stopped me dead in my tracks and I hope, will do the same for the audience. In the first episode, about vampires, we investigated a recent case where a family had disinterred their grandfather and ripped his heart out with a pitch-fork because he was a vampire. What took me by surprise was that it's a common ritual! This was in Romania. We went all over, to Transylvania, to Vlad the Impaler's castle. It's extraordinary stuff!

Question from Debbie: What piece of your work are you most proud of?
Anthony Head: Two things. A stage play called Rope which we did in Chichester. And Spooks. I mean, Buffy is up there. And Frank N Furter is up there too. Basically, when the characters take over and you can lose yourself in a character it's very exciting. You don't recognise yourself.

Question from Linda: What was the most unusual acting job you've been offered and why did you accept or turn it down?
Anthony Head: Hmm… I guess Frank N Furter was the most... Well, actually no. I'm doing something at the moment. It's a movie called Click directed and written by Oliver Parker. I'm playing Piper Perabo's father. Normally, I wouldn't be cast in the role. The character's like a worn-out old shoe. He's extremely hen-pecked and put-upon. It's not a part I would normally be cast in but Oliver wanted me. And from the beginning it was made clear that if I could present myself as five years older the part was mine. I've resorted to using not too much make up. I'm wearing Hush Puppies and wonderfully ill-fitting suits. And Celia Imrie is my long-suffering wife.

Question from Jessica: You are really an inspirational person to many people but my question is, who inspires you?
Anthony Head: Sarah Fisher. And thank you, to Jessica. Don't let me take myself too seriously. Sarah is my long-suffering partner. She always give praise where it's due and constructive criticism where it's needed. I also owe a vote of thanks to my acting teacher. He's called Milton Katzelas.

Question from Dominic: Do you ever regret making *that* tv ad?
Anthony Head: I couldn't possibly! If I hadn't done that TV ad, I wouldn't have been in the position where I needed to be to open up the marketplace. I wouldn't have looked further afield in Los Angeles and I wouldn't have been able to open the doors that I could in America. And we wouldn't have the home that we do. Or the farm, where Sarah's able to do the work that she does. And given the same opportunities, I would do it again in a flash!

And the final word from Anthony: Thank you to everybody that's logged on. It's a very exciting old ride at the moment and has been for some time. Stay tuned. I have no idea where it's going next and that makes it really interesting!

Anthony's official website >>

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Anthony Head


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