Tessa Peake Jones – aka Raquel in Only Fools and Horses – turns up in Doctors this week as Sue Bond, GP Simon’s mother. Sue’s delighted to see Simon – but Tessa reveals the real reason for his parents’ visit…

Tell us about Sue?
“She’s been a dedicated wife and mother and she’s very proud of the fact that Simon’s a GP. Simon’s an only child and she’s dedicated everything to him and she’s been very loyal in helping her husband build up the work he does. Sue’s husband, Simon’s father, Howard suggests popping to visit Simon – but it’s later revealed that he has an ulterior motive.”

Sue’s just happy to be visiting Simon though, isn’t she?
“She loves it! Simon takes his parents around the surgery, which is very exciting for both of them but particularly for Sue because she’s so proud of him and thinks he’s done so well in his studies. She does tend to go on about his results and boasts about him – but she wouldn’t see any harm in that, she’s just proud of him.”

Simon soon discovers why his parents have come to visit…
“Sue knows nothing about it at this stage but Howard tells Simon that he’s brought her here because he wants to tell her he’s leaving. He’d rather do it with Simon around because he knows that she’ll be in bits, he can then go, and Simon can pick up the pieces. While Sue’s making tea, Howard takes Simon outside and tells him what’s going on.”

But as far as Sue’s concerned, life couldn’t be better when she and Howard have lunch with Simon and his new partner…
“Life is wonderful and they’re so open about Simon being gay. She’s very keen to meet the new chap on the scene and she thinks how brilliant that we happen to be here at the time Simon is in this new relationship. So everything’s hunky dory for her.”

And then Howard drops the bombshell… How does Sue react?
“Initially, she gets terribly upset and angry and chucks him out, saying she never wants to see him again, and he disappears. And then Sue basically has a very fast nervous breakdown. Poor Simon is trying to hold down this new job and he’s suddenly got this demented woman on his hands at home. Sue goes from sort of manic joy to great depression and floods of tears.”

How does all this affect Simon?
“Well, he’s brilliant. I think both parents have a good relationship with their son but it’s clear that Sue and Simon have quite a close mother-son relationship. When it’s your own family it’s harder to give advice because you’re so involved yourself and, of course, Simon has loyalty to his father so in the end he asks someone else to come over to cheer Sue up.”

Who?
“Cherry from The Mill comes to help early on and just brings a load of vodka which is the last thing Sue needs because, although it’s never suggested she’s an alcoholic, she does drink the whole bottle. So that doesn’t really help very much.”

Is Zara more help to Sue?
“Zara visits and just very bluntly says: ‘This is what you should do’. She’s a very forthright, strong character, which is what Sue needs; she needs someone who just says: ‘Right, let’s stop self-indulging and let’s get on with it’. Zara suggests revenge, which is the last thing Simon would want, particularly as it’s his father they’re planning to get at.”

Does Sue go through with Zara’s suggestion?
“I won’t give too much away but we called each other Thelma and Louise, from the movie. It felt like we were Thelma and Louise on the rampage.”

Do you think we will see more of Sue in the future?
“There could be an opportunity in the future. Perhaps if Simon was going through some tragedy it might be worth seeing it the other way around; seeing how Sue copes with handling him. But who knows.”

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