Interview with Paul Chequer
There’s not an awful lot about you on the Internet regarding your private life. Wikipedia mentions only briefly that you’re married to a female actress. Are you a very private man, do you prefer to keep as much of yourself off the internet as possible?
Paul: I don’t go out of the way to keep private or to publish anything about myself. It all just happens (or doesn’t as the case is) around me. I’m not married to a female actress or a male one for that matter!
You appeared as Jamie in As If, a Channel 4 drama featuring 6 young adults living in London, having relationships and seemingly following the same format, as Sinchronicity where you played Nathan, who seemed to have the same kind of life. When you were cast as Eugene did it feel as if you were being typecast, having played this type of role before? Eugene again is someone who holds a torch for another, is young free and single, albeit a bit ‘out there’ in terms of his obsession with the alien whose eye he’s looking after.
Paul: The Sinchronicity series was made by the producers and director of As If and though the character was very similar and the show similar in style I wasn’t worried about being type cast. The job was a completely new experience and one that I really enjoyed. That’s important to me.
You have a voice that I could listen to all day, it was one of the things that I liked most about Random Shoes, the narration. Have you narrated before, and have you done any audio dramas, or audio books?
Paul: Thanks very much. I read a lot of Audio books and love this type of work. I mainly read kids books and young adult novels and this best suits my voice. I love being in control of a story from beginning to end and children’s novels are full of exaggerated characters and crazy plots which are great fun to read aloud.
In Sherlock, Series 1, Episode 2 you played DI Dimmock in The Blind Banker. What was it like playing a completely different role to Eugene, and being on the set of Sherlock?
Paul: It being the 1st series I had no idea it was going to be the phenomena it has become. I’ve loved watching all the episodes and being part of it was great.
I’ve just watched the trailer for Private Peaceful and it looks a brilliant production despite the mixed reviews on IMDB. Can you tell us more about your role within the film and what it was like playing a film which shows so much of the grittier side of WW1 that we don’t often see in films?
Paul: I’ve a long history with the Private Peaceful story. It was first adapted by Simon Reade to be a play for one actor in 2004 and I was the first actor to do the show back then at the Bristol Old Vic. I’ve done the radio version and audiobook download for the BBC and I’ve now returned to the play and am about to embark on a tour round the UK with it. So the story means a lot to me and I have a strong relationship with it. The film was also adapted and produced by Simon Reade and he asked me if I’d like to be involved even though there wasn’t really a part in it for me. Private Peaceful is 17 years old and as a 38year old (young looking!) man I can just get away with it on stage but not on screen! So I went along to the set for a weekend and shot a couple of scenes. So basically I’m barely in the film but it was amazing to see Simons dream, that was being talked about in 2004, finally coming to life in 2011.
The film release date for Private Peaceful was October 12th 2012 are you currently working on new productions and can you share any of this with us?
Paul: The Private Peaceful show takes me to July and beyond that we’ll have to see….
In the role of Eugene you had to play a character that was dead but following the crew of Torchwood in order to find out WHY you were dead, how difficult was it for the cast to NOT look at you during the entire filming until the end when you appeared before Gwen? And how often were there bouts of uncontrollable giggles during scenes with Gwen (Eve Myles), because I just think there would be and if there were can you share them or any of them with us?
Paul: Working with Eve was just brilliant, she was a real laugh and a fiery presence. You’re right the invisibility thing was a bit tricky to negotiate. We had a scene going along in the car singing to a song (I can’t remember which) with Eve not being able to acknowledge me. Singing on camera is embarrassing for me anyway and the situation was just weird and we got the giggles then for sure.
Eugene had a rare collection of alien artefacts, bits he’d collected over the years, when you were growing up were you ever a collector of anything, trading cards, mugs, fossils, etc? (obviously I just went through my list!!!)
Paul: Yeah I was a big collector of stuff. PG tips cards, skulls, fossils, crisp packets, beer mats, stamps, sticker books, alien artefacts, you name it I loved collecting things.
During periods of resting how do you fill your time when you’re not acting, and have you, when you were first starting out as an actor, take other work to keep a roof over your head – as I’d imagine there must have been a few lean months when you first started out?
Paul: There tend to be more months when I’m not working than months when I am! I’ve got kids so when I’m not working I’m doing my best at bringing them up.
What vehicle do you currently drive and what vehicle would you love to own? Are you a petrol head or do you prefer to commute?
Paul: I love train journeys and will always choose that over a car for getting about. I’m heavily considering a camper van at the moment, as I’d like a project and the idea of getting away with the kids for a weekend at the drop of a hat really appeals. They love camping anyway and it’s the natural upgrade from the tent. Tent+.
For anyone who wants to become an actor, be it stage, television or film, what advice would you give them?
Paul: Feel entitled.
What advice would you give your 12 year old self if you ever had the opportunity?
Paul: Always be kind.
When you were growing up in Hampshire, what were you like as a child, were you sporty, did you have a wild imagination, were you into music, head in a book, avid tv fan, what was your favourite programme growing up, favourite bands etc and how have your tastes changed over the years?
Paul: My dad loves his sport and we were brought up playing sport, mostly racquet sports, and I still play these now. I’ve taken up golf too but alas too late to be any good at it!
I loved Wham. I loved Wham bars too!
You changed your surname presumably when you became an actor, where did the name Chequer come from?
Paul: It’s my name.
Mickie: What was it that drew you to the role of Eugene? And was there anything of yourself in him?
Paul: Hi Mickie, the whole series seemed like a really exciting project. Eugene was a special character because he was always there and yet alone. He had real desire and a need to discover how he’d died and this made him a brilliant part to play.
Mia Thompson: When is your birthday? Who do you prefer playing: Eugene or D.I Dimmock on Sherlock??
Paul: Hi Mia, My birthday is on 15th November and now I’ve told you that I’m expecting a card! At least a card! Eugene was a more interesting character to play, because he was a ghost and it’s not everyday you get to act as a ghost and go to your own funeral! That was creepy. Very Creepy.