Tuesday 19 November 2019

Bertie Carvel: People don’t recognise me from Doctor Foster

Bertie Carvel says he likes that he can keep a low profile.

Bertie Carvel
Bertie Carvel

By Julia Hunt, Press Association

Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel said he has never faced a backlash for playing a cheating husband – because people do not recognise him.

The actor, 40, stars as adulterer Simon Foster in the BBC1 drama, opposite Suranne Jones as his ex wife, GP Gemma Foster.

But he said he has never been recognised in public as the person who plays the villainous character.

Carvel told Radio Times magazine: “I think it’s because I don’t look like Simon Foster.”

The actor suggested being able move around under the radar has its uses.

Simon (Bertie Carvel) and Gemma (Suranne Jones) in Doctor Foster

“I’m aware that there are people on the internet saying how much they hate Simon Foster,” he said.

“With the millions who watch it, there are likely to be one or two who can’t distinguish between me and the character, and feel a hatred of Simon. So I suppose that puts me at risk.

“And at the level of the really famous actors – which I’m not – that risk is scaled up, and you might be sensible to think about your security.

“But I’m not paid enough to live in a gated community with private security, and actually I wouldn’t want to live like that.

“You have to just hope that most people enjoy the fictional reality of Simon without thinking he’s real.”

Carvel said he almost rejected the part when writer Mike Bartlett sent him a draft of the opening episode of the first series.

“I had a strong reaction that Simon was such an obviously bad guy, and I felt that was a mistake,” he said.

Bertie Carvel

“I wanted it to be more nuanced, and with a sense of why Simon behaves in that way. I wrote to Mike, and I think, in his own way, he reflected some of that in the rewrites.”

The second series of the programme is currently airing, and looks set to be a ratings winner like the first.

But Carvel admitted he would prefer to go on being ignored on the bus and in the supermarket.

“I hope that kind of recognition never does happen to me,” he said. “I keep a low profile. I’m quite cautious about social media. I keep my private life private.”

:: This week’s Radio Times is out on Tuesday.

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