June’s Spotlight On…
*** Jeffrey Holland and Judy Buxton***
I’ve now seen ‘The Ghost Train’ and thoroughly enjoyed it, can you tell our readers a bit about the story and your characters?
Judy: It’s about a group of travellers who miss their connection because of a ‘silly ass’ who’s hat blows off, so he pulls the communication cord. I play Miss Bourne, a rather feisty old lady who does get worried when she hears a ghost story told by the old station master, she ends up drinking rather too much alcohol and spends much of the play in a very comfy position on the table.
Jeffrey: I play the crusty old Station Master and the travellers want him stay with them to look after them because they’re in a remote location. They do end up persuading him to stay. The way we do this play so that it works, is straight down the middle, Arnold (Ridley, the writer of the play) was adamant that is must be played straight. There are some twists and turns the end, of course that I can’t possibly reveal!
Jeffrey, you started your career here at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, what’s it like to be back?
It’s wonderful to be back, I was here for five years in rep and then I think the last time I was back here was with ‘Allo Allo’ with Judy. It’s changed so much, the area is different, especially with the Millennium Bridge. It’s not my Coventry anymore or my Belgrade but it’s great to be back here.
Do you enjoy working together?
Judy: Yes we love working together, we haven’t for about four years, but we work together very well. When we’re each playing our characters there’s no hint that we’re married.
Jeffrey: We’ve always thought the same, we approach our work the same way. We’re similar that when we’re on stage playing our characters, that’s what we doing – and of course we save a fortune on phone bills!
What inspired you both to become actors?
Judy: I was sent to nursery school at the age of two, we had a German teacher so to ensure we didn’t pick up her accent we had an elocution teacher. I used to recite a lot of poems and it all started from there. I attended weekend drama classes and entered festivals, I think I did all the things that my mother, herself would have liked to have done. I then went to Rose Bruford College at the age of 18 for a three year course.
Jeffrey: I became an actor as a result of my raging hormones, I was a member of a boring church youth group with my friend Peter, he suggested we go to a local drama group for something to do. I “I’ve never acted before in my life” and the last thing I wanted to do was to look stupid, but he told me there were girls there! I sat down, started reading a play, heard laughter and thought “I like this, I’m having some of this” and something went PING! That was it, I had the bug.
Judy, I first saw you in ‘On The Up’, what are your favourite memories from your involvement with the series?
Judy: Great memories of working with Joan Sims, crying with laughter, she always ended up crying with laughter which is catching, isn’t it. We had lots of giggles. Dennis (Waterman) of course I’d worked with before and we got on really well, he’s great to work with because although as you would imagine, he’s one of the lads – he’s friendly with everyone including the crew and knows everybody’s name. It really was a great cast, but it didn’t seem to take off. It was a nice character to play and people would say ‘you’re not like her, at all’. Funnily enough, it was at a Rose Bruford reunion that I didn’t particularly want to go to that I was offered the audition for the part of Ruth. It had to be run past Dennis Waterman for approval, first so they rang him up and I got his approval to play his wife!
Jeffrey, what are your favourite memories from ‘Hi De Hi!’?
Great memories of lots of laughs, especially with Su Pollard and the cast, I don’t have good memories of being thrown in the pool, it was freezing!
My favourite show was ‘You Rang M’Lord’, though, the role of James was a gift, it was a straight role in a situation comedy. I loved the set and the costumes, I also enjoyed ‘Oh Doctor Beeching ‘ and thought it was a shame that it wasn’t given the right time slot so the ratings were poor.
What’s next for you both after the tour is finished?
Judy: I’m going to be in a short play written by on the South Bank, I think that’s sometime in July.
Jeffrey: Details of the play will be on Judy’s Facebook page.
And what’s next for you, Jeffrey?
Jeffrey: I’m going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with my one-man biography show ‘And This is My Friend Mr Laurel’, it’s a lifelong dream to play Stan Laurel, and I was in Edinburgh with the show, last year. It’s going on tour to UK venues in the Autumn.
Judy: And I’m going to be his roadie!
Are you going to be appearing in pantomime this year?
Jeffrey: No, we’re having a break this Christmas.
Judy: We might be able to have a nice holiday!
Favourite Things (quick fire questions):
Judy: Oooh, I know! Jeffrey Holland!
Jeffrey: Ah, Ok then, Judy Buxton!
Favourite medium – theatre, television, film or radio?
Jeffrey: Having both done sit-coms, I’d say theatre, because of the audience feedback and laughter.
Judy: Yes, I agree with that as it’s different every night and it’s great to hear the laughter.
Jeffrey: I think most actors would say theatre is their favourite.
Jeffrey: Ray Cooney
Judy: I was going to say Ray Cooney!
Jeffrey: West Side Story
Judy: Jersey Boys
(there was some deliberation after Jeffrey and Judy answered the last question as they have recently really enjoyed ‘Gypsy’ at the Savoy Theatre, so this is also their favourite musical!)
Follow the links to Jeffrey and Judy’s websites here, where you will find all information of their forthcoming work: http://www.jeffreyholland.co.uk/Jeffrey_Holland/Jeffrey_Holland.html http://www.judybuxton.co.uk/