We were thrilled to interview actor Ben Hull, best known for his roles in Hollyoaks, Family Affairs and currently, BBC’s Holby City. Ben is married to the gorgeous actress Anna Acton, they live in Buckinghamshire with their two daughters, Grace, 5 and Lana 3.
You’re currently on our screens in Holby City playing loveable Consultant Obstetrician Derwood Thompson. Describe a typical day-in-the life on set.
Ha! I don’t know if there is a typical day really! I normally arrive at Elstree about 7.30am which means leaving the house at 6am (having woken everybody up in my efforts to be as quiet as possible). Then into my dressing room where I pull on my outfit, then stagger into ‘make up’ where the fun begins! Here, I’m pumped full of coffee, whilst a make up artist miraculously makes me look quite healthy! It’s also normally where I’d find Chizzy Akudolu who plays Mo, as I have most of my scenes with her. It’s fair to say that I’d hear her first! She is amazing to work with, so much fun, mischief and energy. My fifteen minutes in the make up chair is normally spent cracking up laughing, and quite often fending off physical attack , which then continues towards set, where, (in case any Senior ‘Holby’ people read this) I am very professional, focussed and in no way disruptive or noisy.
You’re married to actress Anna Acton, most recently known for her role as Emma Summerhayes in Eastenders. How did you first meet, and what’s life like living with another actor?
We first met on Channel 5’s Soap ‘Family Affairs’. It’s such a shame that show has gone, it was brilliant fun to work on, with some brilliant people. It’s great that Anna is also an actor as we both understand completely the stresses and strains of the job: The hardest part of being an actor isn’t the acting , it’s how you survive in-between jobs.
You used to live in Clapham with your family, but have since relocated to Buckinghamshire. Where are your favourite places in both areas, family friendly, and for a no-kids allowed night out?
I love being in the country as there are so many beautiful places to walk to where I am, I’m very lucky. My girls are at an age now where I don’t have to carry them the whole way too which means we can go further and have picnics, which I just adore! There are loads of ace pubs which are brilliant for a kids free night out, and some amazing restaurants, The Hand and Flowers for instance!
Clapham was great as it was so handy to get everywhere, and had it’s own unique brilliant, beautiful buzz. However, the riots did it for me. Anna was out with our baby on Clapham Common when a policeman approached her and told her it wasn’t safe for her to be out. Barricaded in your own home? No thanks. Ta- raa London!
We’ve heard you’re a dab hand in the kitchen. Share with us your favourite family recipe.
I do a mean roast chicken with all the trimmings. The secret is to stuff the bird full of garlic, onions, herbs and lemons, and to cook it mostly breast side down. Also, cover your roast tatties in thyme whilst they are in the oven. Mmmmmmm!!!
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The fact that I’ve been doing this ridiculous job for over twenty years, and that during that time I worked at all, is a highlight for me.
What’s the best thing about being a dad?
There are too many things to mention really, I love being a Dad. Along with managing to convince Anna that marrying me was a good idea, it’s by far the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I feel blessed to have such wonderful, funny and lovely girls who make every day a joy. Being a parent means you have to address what’s real and important in life – it stops you being so self-centred and far from narrowing your horizons, opens up a wonderful world of discovery, fun and adventure!
We’ve been told that you can change a nappy single-handedly, AND you’ve got both your one year old and three year old dressed and out of the house in a P.B of an hour and a half. What’s your secret? What top five pieces of advice have you got for new dads out there?
Ha! Wipes. Lots of wipes. My advice to new Dads is first, don’t worry, you’re new to this, as your parents were, so learn by your mistakes. Secondly, your child has been in the dark for 9 months, of course it’s not going to know when to sleep yet. So sleep when you can, and enjoy the cat naps (an eye mask is a good investment). Thirdly, keep a quote book. Your children will say without doubt the funniest things that you’ve ever heard, so write them down or you will forget them. Fourth, an online local community parenting group is a brilliant place to get some bargains such as a spare buggy or high chair etc. Find your local group – they are amazing. Lastly, and most important of all, enjoy the time with your children. They grow in the blink of an eye. If you miss it because you were at work chasing your career, or on your computer, or worse still, on your phone checking Twitter, you will kick yourself for the rest of your life.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
I loved my baby carrier, that feeling of having a baby strapped to your chest, them seeing what you see and feeling so close to them… I loved it.
We’re personally hoping you’ll stay on our screens in Holby, tell us what else you’re up to, and what the future holds?
I run a small business, called ‘Electric Reels‘. It’s amazing how video really helps bring a website to life, and it’s great being the other side of camera. I feel very fortunate to have found something that I enjoy as much as acting and it’s such a novelty having some level of control in my career!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
A lucky, lucky man.