We were super-excited to interview the glamorous and beautiful Tina Hobley this week, best known for her long running role as feisty Chrissie Williams in Holby City. Tina currently presents a Sunday morning show on Smooth Radio, and has just started rehearsals for new play ‘Dead Simple‘, set to open in January. Tina spends her time between town and country with her husband Oliver Wheeler and three children, Isabella aged 15, Olivia aged 6, and Orson, aged 4.
We’re huge fans of Holby City. Tell us a bit about what life was like on set, describe a typical day-in-the-life.
I spent 12 brilliant years on Holby, and I got to meet some amazing guest artists as well as the regular cast whom I grew to love dearly. Some of them still remain my best friends. Sharon Maughan played my on-screen mother, and she’s actually now Godmother to one of my children. After being there for a long period of time, Holby became like family to me.
A day in the life would involve leaving the house at 5.30am, for a 6.30am start in make-up, to be ready on set for 7.30am, where a typical day would last until 7pm. They were long days, but I always thought to myself – I’m probably getting paid a little bit more than a real nurse, and not doing nearly as much, so that put things into perspective.
Did you learn a lot of medical knowledge during your time at Holby?
Subconsciously it must go in, but I’ve got a terrible memory. During my time at Holby I did over 400 hours of television; I met lots of guest actors, a lot of whom I don’t remember as a result of the sheer pace and traffic going through the on-set hospital. I’m sure I could put a drip up, I could do injections, and I’d be fairly confident at CPR, but at the same time I wouldn’t stand up on a plane in an emergency and say I was medically trained!
Would you ever return?
Luckily, they didn’t kill me off, so that’s good. You spend your time putting so much into the role, and sometimes they kill you off just for audience reaction. I find that terribly heartbreaking, so I was delighted that they didn’t go down that route and that the door is still open.
At the moment I gave it my all for such a long time, I’m now enjoying freedom and the time to do other things. So right now, no, but who knows?
We’ve heard on the grapevine that you’re back on stage after a long sabbatical – tell us a bit about this.
I’m very excited about this. I’m in a new play called ‘Dead Simple’, adapted from the book by number one best-selling author Peter James. The book has sold over 2 million copies worldwide so far.
It’s a great part – I play the lead in a thriller where I get to be very bad, with lots of good looking men! It’s an amazing part. I hadn’t previously thought about doing a tour like this, because of the restrictions of having children at home. I’m a real homebody, I absolutely love spending time at home, but at the same time, this part was just too good to miss. We’re just about to go into rehearsals this week and we open in January. Dead Simple will be showing all over the place, from Malvern, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cambridge, Truro and Richmond – and many other locations. We’ll then hope to open in London.
Where does your real passion lie – in TV or stage, and why?
I went to drama school where they tell you to do all of it. I did something at the Old Vic with Kevin Spacey a while ago which was an adrenaline rush, but with 20 years of television experience and very little theatre experience I’m really enjoying the buzz of this new play, a buzz you don’t get doing television. Ask me again once Dead Simple is up and running and I’ll probably say ‘never again!’
The great thing about this job is that there are so many different facets, and if you’re lucky you can try as many things as possible.
You’re currently a Sunday morning presenter on Smooth Radio – how does that compare to other roles / jobs you’ve had, and what do you love most about it?
I was absolutely petrified when I first accepted, I don’t even think I’ve ever been interviewed on radio, but I’m a huge fan of Sunday mornings, and as a family it’s the one time of week that we would listen to the radio. I was approached to try it out, and I’m open to everything, so I agreed, and I absolutely love it! It’s a bubble that I really enjoy. I covered for Kate Garraway the other week, filling in for her weekday live show and I loved that. It’s another string to the bow.
You have children of differing ages, the eldest being 15, and the youngest being 4 – share with us some tips on how to keep the whole family entertained when you’re all together.
Every child deserves individual one on one attention, so I try and do that as much as possible. They really appreciate that. My teenager is currently studying for her GCSE’s, she’s brilliant, she’s been no trouble at all, but you find as your eldest grows up you’re faced with new territory you don’t know much about. My six year-old girl always wants to do what my 15 year-old girl wants to do! We try to do things together, ice staking, find a movie that everyone will enjoy, or we split up a bit, do different things, and all come back together to enjoy lunch.
Town or country?
I’m a complete country convert, having grown up in London, it’s something unusual to admit to. I find peace and serenity in country, and my kids would say I’m not such a shouty mummy! Now I’m in my mid forties, I enjoy a lazier and slower pace of life. In bed by 9.30pm is the perfect night out.
Share with us your favourite family recipe.
I did MasterChef earlier this year, the main reason being that I was sick to death of husband taking all the credit in the kitchen. I’ve learnt so much, and have found a new love of cooking. I also realised that it was a cunning ploy by my husband to get out of the bedtime / bathtime routine, as he’d be in the kitchen with a glass of wine. Now we share the cooking I’m not entirely sure how enthused he is, as he has to do more of the kids’ chores upstairs!
My favourite dish would have to be a slow cooked shoulder of lamb, with traditional roast potatoes and veg with Yorkshire puddings. I follow my Gran’s amazing recipe for those – the kids want Yorkshire puddings with everything! A traditional roast would definitely be my meal of choice.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
I think my Bugaboo. Even now my son is nearly five, I cannot bear to part with it. I’ve had lots of Bugaboo, and I’m holding on to this last one. My husband is always asking why – but it’s as though when I finally let go of my Bugaboo my babies really will be all grown up.
I also couldn’t do without the Stokke High Chairs. These are just brilliant; you don’t need to buy another as they convert to all ages. They’re amazing great and they look great.
How will you and your family spend this festive season?
For first time since little ones are born we won’t be here, we’re off to San Moritz skiing. We have a week off and all of us are going. We’re back the day after Boxing Day and will have Christmas then with the grandparents… And then it’s back to work!