Interviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams
Hi Jan and Stephen, thank you for talking to us – we’ve been watching the DVD box-sets of ‘Howards’ Way’ and we’re loving it. What are your best memories of the series?
Jan: It was like one big happy family, it is the happiest show that I have ever worked on. When we held the after-show party after filming for series 6 had finished, we were all so upset! It wasn’t only the actors who were part of the happy family, but the crew as well. I think that because it was such a happy show, this came across to the viewers and is one of the reasons it was and remains so popular. All the people who have come to see me (at Memorabilia) today have been talking to me about Howards’ Way.
Stephen: First of all the best thing was that I met Jan (Jan Harvey is married to Stephen Yardley and they met while filming the series) she changed my life. The cast were wonderful and I love boats, I always have since I was a youngster. We were one big happy family and we had fun. I don’t think that the BBC had ever reached 14 million viewers on a Sunday night.
Did filming the series lead to you having an interest in sailing, Jan?
J: Yes, it did but Stephen is a sailor anyway and I’ve been out with him on the Norfolk Broads. I was born in Penzance in Cornwall so I am used to living by the sea, although my home is in London now.
Do you think the series should be re-visited and how do you think the viewing public would react if the original six series were repeated?
J: I think it’s the perfect time to re-visit it and we have been approached, although nothing has come of it yet. We would love to go back and film another series, it could show all the problems of the young rich. If the original series was repeated it would appeal to a whole new generation who have heard about it but never seen it.
S: It could definitely run again, I think the reason that it hasn’t is due to the royalties that would have to be paid out, especially as the cast increased each series.
Do you both keep in touch with the other cast members?
J: Yes, we do, we still see Tracey Childs (played Lynne Howard) and Edward Highmore who played my son Leo. Also Susan Gilmore (played Avril Rolfe) although sadly we have lost quite a few cast members.
Jan, you recently toured with ‘Calendar Girls’, did you enjoy it?
J: It was great, I really enjoyed touring with the play and I liked the role of ‘Annie’, it was a good one to be part of.
Would you and Stephen like to work together again and are there any roles that would tempt you both?
J: We’d love to work together again and maybe another series of Howards’ Way would tempt Stephen? I’d like to do a TV series as I feel that you get to know the cast members so much better and feel part of a team.
S: I’d be interested in plays by ‘Pinter’ and ‘Shakespeare’
Do you prefer theatre, Stephen?
S: I do prefer theatre, but I have made my money from television work because theatre isn’t very well paid.
Thanks for giving up your time for The Good Review, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you both.
First published 21.03.13