Adrian Hedley Interview Adrian Hedley, mime extraordinaire, actor, writer, director, its lovely to talk to you.   You have had such a varied career that I seem to have gone mad with the amount of questions I want to ask, so please forgive me in advance. Q: Many children, now adults, remember watching the shows that you starred in. What's it like knowing that you are still remembered after all these years? It’s a great compliment to know people still look back fondly on some of the series I starred in, particularly “Jigsaw”. I still do a fair amount of performing in between directing series and people often remember my mimes and the mask character I created called Noseybonk. Thank goodness, they’re less afraid of him now! Q: As most people know, you trained as a mime artist. What made you want to get into this area? I originally trained as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. While there I particularly enjoyed the physical side of performing and my mentor, Ben Benison (from Theatre Machine and the “Vision On” TV series), recommended I study at the renowned Jacques Lecoq School of Movement in Paris. Q: Did you have a job before going into mime? Was there a backup plan if it all failed? No, I had decided from the age of 8 that I wanted to act and direct, and have since done exactly that all my life. Big Break Q: What was your 1st big break on TV? I've heard rumours it could have been 'New Faces' or 'David Essex Showcase'. My first break on TV was on “Lucky Numbers”, a live phone-in TV show with Noel Edmonds. I was a guest performer booked for one appearance only on the show and fortunately it proved so successful that I was invited to be a regular act on the series. I also later did do New Faces, as a jokey bet with a friend that I could get on it – so I won the bet but came second on the series and went through to the “Near Winners Final”! I also did “The David Essex Showcase” quite a few years later – which was interesting as it led to a pilot TV show with Chris Barrie and Richard Digance, who like myself, had already been performing for several years. Q: How did you end up being on the show, as mime isn't something that you would normally see breaking onto the scene? (Comics had working working men's clubs to try out their material first, where did you go?) I used to tour my one-person mime show around theatres and festivals in the UK and abroad, and also did a double physical comedy act at the newly opened Comedy Store. Q: Was this the 1st time you had been on television or had you tried to break into TV earlier? No this was the first time I had done TV, around the age of 22. Q: Was it nerve wracking thinking that you were being watched by millions? Not really. The trick on TV is to imagine you are performing to just a handful of people – a bit like some of the venues I had played during my tours! Q: I'm assuming that appearing on the show opened up opportunities. Was this instant and what did it open up for you? (Lena Zavaroni Show?) On the back of “New Faces” I signed with London Management, one of the biggest agents in showbiz, and topped some international cabaret venues around the world. I also guested on “Lena Zavaroni and friends” for a series and won a prestigious Variety Award. Jigsaw Q: One of the shows that you are most remembered for is Jigsaw, a unique programme that made the viewers use their mind and work out the clues you presented to them. How did you get the job on Jigsaw? Was you head hunted? I got the job on “Jigsaw” as an immediate follow up to “Lucky Numbers”. Clive Doig, who produced “Lucky Numbers” was looking to do a follow up series to “Vision On”…and that series was “Jigsaw”, so in a way I was head hunted!  Q: Most of the time you were dressed in dungarees for the programmes. This seemed to become a trademark of yours, was this a conscious decision, or did it come about by accident? It was a conscious decision – but by the costume designer! I later insisted on changing the dungarees for a more modern high-street look. Q: The character 'Jigg' was superimposed on the screen, which was quite advanced at the time. Did you find it difficult to act with something that wasn't there? No, fortunately my mime training had given me the necessary skills to interact with imaginary beings, albeit a jigsaw piece. Q: In the show you also played a character called Noseybonk, a strange looking person that used to run all over the place, being chased etc. Are you surprised that many children were scared of this character, most of them hiding behind the sofa and peeking out to watch? It was a complete surprise to me when I heard people were afraid of Noseybonk, although of course he did look rather OTT. I was the first to create and perform a mask character on TV but looking back, I’m not surprised there was such a reaction to Noseybonk. That said, he still has a huge following and gets thousands of hits on youtube. I bring him out of hiding on most Halloweens too! Q: Is it true that the character was an invention of yours? How did he come about? Yes, I’m proud to say he was my invention. I was at a mask festival in Basel, Switzerland, and saw this rather strange looking mask in a shop window, and that inspired me to create Noseybonk. Q: I noticed while trawling through your site, a picture for a show called 'Mem' (Al Jazeera) which stood out at me. Is that Noseybonk I spotted? Has he made a reappearance, and how did that come about? No, Noseybonk did not appear in “Mem”. “Mem” was a visual comedy series I directed for Al Jazeera about a magician. However, I have been writing a series starring Noseybonk and hope it will be made shortly. Q: There were a number of cast changes over the years during Jigsaw's run, one of the major ones was Janet Ellis leaving for Blue Peter? How did this change the dynamic of the show and how did it affect you? (I'm assuming you got on?) I got on very well with Janet, and was delighted for her when she went on to present “Blue Peter”.  Naturally, it changed the dynamic of the show, but hopefully the inventiveness and zaniness of the series still remained. Q: One thing, is Wilf Lunn really as mad as a bunch of crackers, or is it just an act? No, it’s not an act. Wilf is one of the true great creative eccentrics. Q: You are accredited as writing for the show. How did this come about, was it planned from the beginning? It was very much a collaborative show, with us all contributing to the creative pot. We had a hugely creative team of performers – including Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport – who all brought a wealth of comedy skills to the series. Q: I believe you eventually talked in Jigsaw. Was it a relief to be heard at last or was it nerve wracking? It was only in the first series that I didn’t speak. For the other five series I regularly spoke but still did just as much mime and physical comedy. Magic Micro Mission Q: This show had you as a commander of a spaceship looking for personalities to help play some of the latest video games of the time, with help from school children. This seems a departure from your other shows, what made you want to do it? I wanted to do something completely different to what I had presented before. The mix of video gaming and interviewing celebrities was new to me and the experience was hugely enjoyable. Q: To be honest I've never seen the show, can you give us any more details on it? You’ve basically summed it up in your previous description! I just remember it being a mad spaceship, with the bossiest on board robot in the world! Wizbit Q: How did you get involved with Wizbit? Clive Doig, the producer of “Jigsaw” recommended me for the series. It was a perfect vehicle for my talents as a comedy performer, mime artist and keen magician.  Q: Wizbit seemed to be a strange show (which I personally loved), how was it to work on? It was great fun to work on. As a child, I was always into performing magic tricks so working with the great Paul Daniels and learning to perform numerous new tricks was a delight. I also enjoyed performing as Pierrot, the French mime, and Grock, the Swiss clown. Q: The show was based on an idea by Paul Daniels, was he approachable (as he was a big star at the time)? Paul Daniels was most approachable and tremendous fun to work with, as was his wife, Debbie. Just as a note of interest, I directed both Paul and Debbie last summer, 2011, on the new “Sooty” series. Q: The show only lasted for 2 series. Why was this when it was so popular? I have no idea, especially as you so rightly say that it was extremely popular. Q: Was it a shock when the show ended? Not really, as one gets used to series being cut and not being given a reason. Theatre Q: I know that you've worked in Theatre for many years, but how did you end up running one? It was an instinctive progression for me – I was working as a performer, writer and director on my own devised work, so it seemed only natural to create my own company, which I initially did with an Arts Council Grant for the International Mime & Visual Theatre Festival in London. Q: What was it called and where was it? It was called the Present Mime Company and we performed at various Festivals, including Edinburgh, the London International Mime Festival, the Salisbury Festival and several theatres throughout the UK. Q: I'm guessing this type of job came with many pressures. How hard was it to deal with? The main pressure was that of management which took away from the creative side. Q: Why did you move on from this role? I’ve always been interested in diversifying and taken on new creative challenges, and it felt time to move on into other media.  Behind the Camera Q: Not many viewers know that you made the transition from in front of the camera to behind it. Was this planned, or had the work dried up at the time, forcing a change in direction? This was a natural progression for me. I had always wanted to direct and had planned to do so from the outset of my career as an actor and mime artist. Q: What was the last show you were seen in front of the cameras? I make occasional guest appearances on shows, the last one being as an art class teacher in a visual comedy film with Justin Fletcher.  Q: I can't believe how many iconic Children's TV shows you have been involved with over the years, such as Zzzap!, Fimbles, Big Cook Little Cook, Sooty etc? How have you achieved this? Luck, chance and persuasion…and from knowing quite a lot about children’s TV having now been working in it for nearly 40 years. Q: Concerning Sooty (who is a national treasure). How many different presenters have you directed and how did you end up joining such an iconic show? I joined “Sooty” through the recommendation of an executive producer of the series, and have since directed two series. I seem to have directed most children’s presenters over the years, alongside a whole array of other celebrities. Q: As mentioned you have written/directed many children's shows. Which one holds a place in your heart more than the others, and for what reason? They all hold a special place in my heart for various different reasons. Each series has its own special magic, its own special family and to pick out one from another is impossible. Q: Some of the shows you were involved in have won awards, do you have any sitting at home and where are they kept? Yes, I do have them at home and they are protected by the gaze of Noseybonk! Q: Which of them are you proudest of and why? I’m proud of them all. Q: I know I shouldn't ask this, but which do you prefer, writing, directing or starring in front of the camera, and why? I love all the roles. They all have a magic about them. But if I was to be perfectly honest now, my favourite role is directing young actors and presenters and nurturing their talents. Q: Even though you've been behind the camera for many years, I see that you haven't forgotten your past and still perform mime. I'm guessing it's in the blood? I still get asked to perform as a mime and still get a buzz from it after all these years, so yes I’m guessing it’s always in the blood. About you Q: Can you tell us what to expect next from Adrian Hedley? I’m always working on all sorts of projects…but I’d love to do a new Noseybonk series, and a visual comedy series for mainstream TV. Q: How would you describe yourself to others? I best leave that to others! Q: With sure a busy schedule, what do you do to relax (hobbies)? I’m an active father, with two wonderful sons and a wonderful stepson, who take up most of my time. Q: I always like asking people this, what is your favourite TV show of all time? Phew! A difficult question! When I was younger, “Vision On”.  Now, just too many to pick one. I can't believe there are only a few episodes of the shows you starred in out there (see Hopefully some will be officially released, so we can remember them and how good they were.   It's a pleasure talking to you, and thank you for giving us this interview.
Bookmark and Share
© Superted - The Superhero Superted - Thrown Away Like a Piece of Rubbish Superted - Spotty Man Brought Him to Life Superted - The Superhero Toys & Gifts T-Shirts Bargain DVDs