6 April 2011
Here’s one reason why GQ likes John Simm: “When I was shooting The Lakes, the World Cup was on, but the producer wasn’t keen on football. He said we were going to finish a scene, and I said, ‘No, we’re really not,’ and staged a walkout. Well, I did warn him…”
Here’s another: everything he does is good. Well, OK, almost everything (we’re not countingThe All Star Comedy Show). From Cracker to State Of Play; from Life On Mars to his latest, the dark drama Exile with Jim Broadbent, about a journalist who returns home to his now-senile father – 40-year-old Simm is a one-man divining rod for that rare home-grown thing: quality TV.
As Simm himself says of taking roles: “I’ve got this sort of Spidey sense that goes off.” The same applies for leaving them – Simm’s never done more than two series of anything, rejecting several offers to stay on. “It’s about the quality. If it’s about to wane, I stop. I never wanted to be in a soap. It keeps it interesting.”
That Spidey sense is also why he’s never bothered with Hollywood (“You get this thing now where you’re not allowed to look at the script when you audition. I’m not keen on that. I want to see what I’m signing up for”), but then Hollywood’s loss is definitely British TV’s – and football fans’ – gain.
Exile begins on BBC One next month.
Originally published in the April 2011 issue of British GQ.