This week we interviewed talented actor and devoted family man Ben Caplan. Ben is married to Emma and they live in Hertfordshire with their two children, Bertie and Jessica, and three pet fish. Ben is currently starring in the Kinks’ show ‘Sunny Afternoon’ in the West End and is also on our screens as PC Peter Noakes in the current series of the BBC drama ‘Call the Midwife’.
You are currently on our screens in the hugely popular period drama ‘Call the Midwife’ playing character PC Peter Noakes. Tell us a bit about your role, what’s it like playing an officer in the 50’s?
I have been playing Peter in Call The Midwife for the last four years and I have really enjoyed the challenge. He is a very good police officer who takes his work very seriously and wants to be the best he can be. He had recently been promoted to Sergeant, which he is very proud of having struggled with his exams previously. He is also a very dedicated husband to his beloved Camilla and his son Freddie and his family is extremely important to him even if is it is struggle to juggle work and family life. I get a real sense that playing a 50s copper is different to today as there was a real sense of community in the late 50s early 60s and everyone took the time to talk to each other and try and help and support each other. The police walked the beat and probably felt that people felt safe having them around and they would always be greeted and welcomed by the community.
You’re one of the very few male cast members on the show, describe a day-in-the-life onset, and is it as fun as we think it might be, working alongside Miranda Hart?
I love working with Miranda and we have a good laugh on set as well as taking the work seriously as we have a huge amount of respect for the characters and the material. Hopefully the fact that we get on so well off camera creates a good chemistry in our scenes together. Being one of the male cast members is a great privilege in such a female dominated show like Call The Midwife. We are a bit of a novelty and get to join in on all the banter with the girls. We did have a rare moment in the last series when it was all the men together on set which is so rare and we ended up chatting about how we had proposed to our respective partners.
You’ve starred in many other TV programmes, theatre and films, what has been the favourite part of your career so far?
I have been extremely lucky so far to work on some amazing projects with some wonderful directors/actors. Working on Band Of Brothers was definitely a highlight as it was such a privilege to meet and work for Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg but also to tell such an important story about the horrors of War. Also working on a new play with Mike Leigh was amazing as I was such a huge fan of his work and process and also recently I worked with the director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Enduring Love) on The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies which was hugely inspiring as I was a massive fan of his work too.
Would you like to see your children follow in your footsteps into acting?
I’m not sure if I would actively encourage my children to follow in my footsteps. Although I love what I do it can be a very tough and precarious job and you have to be very thick skinned. Obviously I will support them to follow their dreams and if they decide that is what they want to do I will support them one hundred per cent.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
At the moment the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. My ‘Sunny Afternoon’ cast got together and gave us a voucher when my daughter was born and with it we bought one for my daughter who loves it. I am currently watching her bounce in it right now and she looks very content and chilled.
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
My wife’s chicken soup is a family favourite. Boil up some chicken in a pot, skim off all the fat and add lots of stock, carrots, celery and onions and leave to simmer for a few hours. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some noodles. Delicious!
What would your dream role be, and why?
I think playing a complex character in a new HBO series in the US would be good, perhaps a new character in a True Detective type series or a new biopic about Franz Kafka. I went on a trip to Prague a few years ago and became fascinated by him and his literature.
We’ve read that becoming a father has led you to further embrace your sense of Jewish identity – tell us a bit about why your faith is important to your family life.
I am not religious but having a family made me realise the importance of passing on traditions, customs and a sense of identity and heritage. I want my kids to know where they come from and keep that heritage alive, and to know that family is a huge important part of who they are.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
I am currently appearing in a show in the West End about The Kinks called ‘Sunny Afternoon’ at the Harold Pinter Theatre which is great as I play a very different character to Peter and also get to play lots of music live onstage every night. Then there is another series of ‘Call the Midwife’ coming up and a couple of other projects in the pipeline. Watch this space!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
A devoted family man who loves to rock out and live life to the full.