Ben Hull is an actor who has appeared in many television soaps. He is currently in Holby City on BBC1 and is also a presenter and does the regular competition spot on This Morning for ITV. He talks about holidays in Norfolk, his mum’s Teasmaid and his first acting role >>
FTB: What gets you out of bed in the morning, coffee or tea?
BH: I love a cup of tea in the morning. I have to have one fi rst thing or the rest of the day is a write-off. My mum used to have a Teasmaid, which was the longest boiling and loudest thing in the world – it sounded like a plane taking off but made the best tea! I think it’s a sign that I’ve hit my forties that I’m thinking about getting one.
FTB: City or country?
BH: The country now that I have kids. I’ve lived right in the heart of a few different cities in my younger years and had a great time. But now I live in a tiny little town, where if you accidentally bump into someone in the street it’s met with, “Oh, I’m terribly sorry” rather than, “What?” and the threat of menace, so I have to say I much prefer it.
FTB: Where is your favourite holiday destination?
BH: Anywhere. What are you offering? Never mind, I’ll take it.
FTB: What is your favourite childhood memory?
BH: My parents used to have a caravan in Norfolk, and I spent nearly every school holiday there. I loved every second of it – the beach, crabbing, the gangs of friends you’d make for a summer and the heartbreak when you had to go home. The North Sea has a unique and wonderful smell. If I even catch a whiff of it, I’m instantly transported. It’s probably sewage!
FTB: How did your career start?
BH: I got my first television job while I was still in drama school. In the audition, I was warned that my character would appear naked but was assured it would be a closed set, ie, essential personnel only. When the day came to shoot the scene that demanded I was tied up absolutely stark naked to a saddle rack, I have honestly never seen so many people on set in my life – I’m sure some of them were just people wandering in off the street! It was a baptism of fi re, and I’ve never looked back. I’m sure half the people on that set wished they could say the same.
FTB: What are you currently doing?
BH: Currently, as an actor, I’m lucky enough to be playing gynecologist Mr Thompson in BBC1’s Holby City – it’s such a brilliant show. I’m doing lots of presenting work at the moment too, which I really enjoy, most recently the competitions section for ITV’s This Morning. I’ve written a comedy script that I’m trying to get produced… what else…? Oh, and I’m also a dad to two little girls aged three and a half and 15 months, so as well as all that I’m a taxi service, a cook, cleaner and expert changer of nappies. It’s a busy time.
FTB: What would be your dream role?
BH: I’m certain most actors would say ‘going to Hollywood and playing the baddie in a movie’. Well, for me, my dream role would be something much more low key. I’m at my happiest when I’m playing a regular character in soaps or ongoing dramas. It’s such a wonderful thing feeling part of a family, a team, and getting to the point where you really know your character inside out and the writers are writing with you in mind. I’d love that opportunity again.
FTB: What would be your ideal home?
BH: I love old houses and houses with character. There is something quite wonderful about living somewhere with a bit of history especially when you decide to do something drastic like sand the fl oor boards and you unearth features that maybe haven’t seen the light of day for 50 years. I live in a 1930s semi now with loads of original features, and I absolutely love it.