Somewhere in my house, there's a copy of the programme for the 1991-ish West End production of An Evening With Gary Lineker, a play by Arthur Smith and Chris England. If I could be bothered trying to track it down from inside a collection of cardboard boxes, I could quote you the exact text from the biography of cast member Nick Hancock. Instead, I'll have to do it approximately from memory: "his television appearances include the roles of Cockney In Dressing Gown in The Bill and Cockney On Fire in London's Burning." It's a line that's stuck with me for over two decades now, because it has a degree of wry truth to it: these are exactly the sort of TV parts that actors have to take while they're waiting for something brilliant to come along.
In my latest article for Mostly Film - a review of the final season of Spartacus, entitled Friends, Romans, Juno's Countrymen - I mention another English actor, Simon Merrells. His CV was largely made up of appearances in soaps and the like, until this year he took on the role of lead baddie in Spartacus: War Of The Damned and tore the living arse out of it. His 'something brilliant' came along, and he grabbed the opportunity when he saw it. Good for him.
Most of the acting talent pool on Spartacus comes from Australia. So if English actors have to mark time in The Bill while waiting for their big break, what are the equivalent shows for an Aussie actor? Find out in this Red Button Feature, and specifically in the YouTube playlist below.