Stephen Tompkinson on his favourite summer reads

Stephen Tompkinson talks about his favourite summer reads, holidays and making a new series of Wild at Heart!

So you have just been to the Monte Carlo Television Festival. How was that?

“Great! I stayed on after the awards so I could catch up with my reading by the pool. It was a very good backdrop, although one of my books was set on the Isle of Wight, so I had to use my imagination!”

What is it like doing The TV Book Club?

“It’s a real treat having books chosen for you. It means that they’ve been through a selection process already. It’s like having a friend pick for you.”

What are you favourite types of book?

“I love whodunits, because they’re always situations you never actually want to be in yourself. There’s this voyeurism of seeing someone else in those situations from the comfort of your own armchair.”

How did you get into reading?

“My earliest memory is of my Dad reading Treasure Island to me and my elder brother. I remember discovering Winnie the Pooh as well – that’s a book I’ve always stuck with. You find yourself relating to different characters in it as you approach different stages in your life.”

Do you read to your own daughter Daisy?

“Of course. I’m experiencing the joy of reading all over again with her. She’s just discovered Paddington and she likes the Mr Gum books too.”

Why is it so important to read do you think?

“Reading is massively important, because it offers that escapism and freedom to work with your imagination. You can be transported anywhere, it’s limitless. In the times we live in it’s great to be able to do that.”

Would you like to write a book yourself?

“Yes. Once I turned 40 I started to think about it more. I don’t know if I’m ready yet, if I’ve got the discipline, but yes I think the seeds are beginning to be sown.”

Are you looking forward to going back to South Africa to film the sixth series of Wild at Heart?

“Yes. I find myself dreaming about the animals when I’m back in England – they have a big effect on me and I do miss them. I can’t have pets because I’m away filming a lot so it wouldn’t really be fair on them, and I haven’t got the ceiling room for a giraffe unfortunately. I’m working on it though! I’m excited about filming again. It’s a series that’s gone from strength to strength since it started and we’ve really hit our stride in the last two years.”

*The Book Club screens on C4 at 12.05pm on Monday

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