Joe Absolom reveals he’s broke after working on Death in Paradise, but doesn’t regret taking a guest role in BBC1’s Caribbean murder mystery.
In a laughter-filled chat with What’s on TV the laidback Doc Martin and EastEnders’ star explains why he likes being a jobbing actor and is enjoying fatherhood. He also spills the beans on the return of Doc Martin and tells-all about former co-star Kevin Costner’s close encounter with a bee!
You guest star in Death in Paradise as volleyball coach Aiden Parker. Was it a tough job to say yes to?
“I know, I know… tough sell! I was supposed to be going on a family holiday to France to visit my mum and dad when I got the call from my agent telling me I’d been offered a part in Death in Paradise, and could I go to Guadeloupe instead?”
How did your family react when you told them?
“They’d been really excited about France and looked so sad when they heard I was off to the Caribbean for two weeks. So my girlfriend and I decided we’d make it work and take all three kids too. My parents were gutted and a bit jealous. And it turned out it rained in France when we were supposed to be there! We’re absolutely skint now of course, but we don’t want any sympathy. It was a good way to spend money and we all had a fantastic time.”
How nice is it to be offered a role and not have to audition?
“It doesn’t usually happen. It’s only happened once before with Midsomer Murders. Auditioning underlines my little foibles! I can go into the audition room and even though I’ve rehearsed something and felt good about it at home, suddenly I think things like ‘I don’t like this chair’. But I like being a jobbing actor, it’s interesting and good fun. Yet the reality is sometimes you only do one or two jobs a year.”
Is that enough?
“No! Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. The fact we went to Guadeloupe as a family – that’s an amazing experience. Listening to stories and meeting really interesting characters – our family photos with all the Death in Paradise cast and crew are fantastic.”
Were your children impressed by you?
“No, they were impressed by the pool! My little boy learned to swim. For Liz and me it was the best holiday we ever had, even though I had to work nearly every day. It’s a beautiful place with a beautiful atmosphere. Kris Marshall and Danny John-Jules’ kids were there too, and everyone got on fantastically.”
Did you have to do any special preparation for the role of volleyball coach Aiden?
“They told me to get a tan because I was so pasty and the character is supposed to have lived on the Island for 10 years!”
Does this mean Death in Paradise now rivals Doc Martin as the best job in television?
“Doc Martin really is a great job. We film in Cornwall and it’s really good fun with lots of very nice people. But that’s now been usurped by Death in Paradise. They flew me to the Caribbean – and when you’re not working you can sit around a hotel pool!”
What’s next for you?
“The new series of Doc Martin starts filming in Cornwall in March. I might have to get a proper job while I’m waiting for that – these kids keep growing!”
Do you mind not working?
“I prefer to be busy because I genuinely find it fun and interesting to be on set. But I’m also enjoying my time with the kids; it’s a priceless time to be with them. At the same time, I’ve to make a living as well.”
You worked with Kevin Costner in Hatfields & McCoy. Have you any good anecdotes about that?
“One time we were filming and a bee flew into the shot on set and he said ‘get the bee out of here!’ I fell about laughing – you can’t tell a bee to get out! But Kevin Costner was a cool and humble fella. It was a cool thing to be involved in.”
Watch Joe in Death in Paradise on BBC1, Thursday, February 12 at 9pm, when his character Aiden Parker is suspected of murdering a rival volleyball team’s star player