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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

Five minutes with Paul Holmes

Broadcaster, author and olive oil maker Paul Holmes finds time to chat to us about his upcoming appearance on Shortland Street


Tell us a little bit about the character you play.

It was a difficult one.  I was being asked to play a rather arrogant actor, Leslie Grant who in turn was playing Lady Bracknell, a grand old dame of English society for whom appearances are everything. 

Getting a good match for her daughter means everything.  She's one of the great comic figures of English drama.  So it was kind of a double thing. 

I was playing someone who was playing someone else. It could do your head in when you think about it.

What did you enjoy about your time filming?

The pleasantness of the cast.  We had great conversations. The people I met were very nice and down to earth and they knew their lines.


What have you been up to since playing the role of Leslie Grant?

Doing my Radio and Television programmes.  Writing my columns.  Flogging Olive Oil.  And doing a lot of wonderful reading actually.


This is not the first time you have appeared on Shortland Street, how did this experience compare to the last time (in 1993)?

No, I think years ago I went on as 'Holmes' and appeared at the hospital reception trying to find someone, I think. 

It was a long time ago.  I never did see the episode because I was on 'Holmes' at the time.

Were you nervous on your day of filming?

Oh god yes.  I had a very big scene to learn and it took me a good couple of weeks at home to do it. 

I used to be able to learn lines really quickly.  But I was very nervous of strutting my stuff in front of the Shortland Street people and the crew.   

I hope I wasn't too over the top in my portrayal.


How did you prepare for your role?

Well as to the Lady Bracknell character, I was in the Importance of Being Earnest at school and I remembered the voice, the brilliant voice that my friend Sandra gave to Lady Bracknell when she played her and that voice was my starting point. 

And with that voice I learnt the lines, the Lesley lines were relatively simple. I hadn't learnt lines for a very long time but once I got them they seemed to stay in there. 

When it came to recording it was a very hot day and the costume they gave me, while it was great, was incredibly hot

Having had this experience, do you think you might continue with acting in the future (if the opportunities arises?)

I hope the audience doesn't have a terrible experience.  I hope that my appearance is at least vaguely amusing.

I don't think many opportunities will arise.  I think I might have left it a bit late to be a handsome young actor on Shortland Street.  I've enough to do acting being Paul Holmes.


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