He’s well known as David in Heartbeat, the popular Sixties-based television series which ran on ITV from 1992 until 2010, spanning 18 series in total. Actor David Lonsdale is reprising his role as the simple side-kick for a stage version of Heartbeat, which is at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre until 2 April 2016 and then touring until 2 July. I caught up with him to find out all about this new production.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg Review, David. What’s it like to be back on the road with Heartbeat on stage and how does it fee to be stepping back into the character of David’s shoes, again?
I was unsure how revisiting David would feel, and Steven (Blakely, who plays PC Geoff Younger) and I actually discussed whether we could remember how we used to play the parts! However, it has been a joy. I really like David Stockwell, he’s a much nicer person than I am, so it’s good to spend time with him again.
What can the audience expect from Heartbeat on stage? How has the show been received so far?
The stage production is a completely new story, but with many elements of the original TV show which the audience will recognise immediately. There’s the pub of course, and several familiar characters, along with tons of music. Heartbeat always blended a main drama story-line with a light hearted sub plot; we’ve done that in the stage show and there are plenty of laughs. Audiences so far have really taken to it; we obviously can’t reproduce the Yorkshire Moors, but with projection and a clever set design we do get the audience out and about! The atmosphere of the piece is wonderful.
Do you think The Royal could also work as a stage show?
I think that, with a little imagination, anything is possible on stage so I don’t see why The Royal couldn’t be done.
Do you think it was the right time to finish Heartbeat the television series? Do you feel the show had run its course?
I honestly believe that there is still a place for Heartbeat. It needed a break and a little refreshing, but the level of interest and affection is still huge. It just hit the right note! However, dramas like Heartbeat couldn’t compete financially with the Sunday ‘result shows’ and their phone-votes, so they had to go. I think making 24 a year was too many; it stretched the format (and the cast, crew and writers) too far.
What’s your personal favourite song from the sixties era and why?
My favourite 60s song is probably She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles. I loved it as a kid and, now with children of my own, it still works. A great song.
What are your favourite moments from filming in Goathland?
My favourite moments from filming in Goathland were days in Spring when we were shooting in an out of the way spot surrounded by that beautiful countryside. You could really believe you were in 1960s Aidensfield on days like that.
Are there any characters missing from the stage show that you feel would enhance the production, even more?
I would have loved to have had Lord Ashfordly in the stage show. He was a great character and would have been very useful to the plot.
What would you say to potential audience members to encourage them to come and see the show?
I’d recommend Heartbeat fans to come along, have a laugh, wallow in some un-apologetic nostalgia, and enjoy some good music and a great story. I’d actually make the same recommendation to people who aren’t familiar with the TV show; Heartbeat on stage is just a good-fun, easy entertaining night out at the theatre. Hopefully see you there.
Huge thanks to David for taking the time out to chat, I’ll be seeing the show in Coventry at the Belgrade Theatre on 11th April. You can see it too, the list of tour dates and ticket purchase information is here http://www.heartbeatontour.com.
Featured image courtesy of: http://www.davidlonsdale.co.uk/