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Tim as Lesley having his wig positioned!
Although not appearing until the third series of the ITV hit comedy series Benidorm, Tim's character Lesley has become an integral and hilarious addition to the cast - and off screen he is just as funny as I found out when we sat down together during a break when shooting at the Sol Pelicanos hotel.

I couldn't stop laughing as I looked at him .... full face of OTT make-up and  red nail varish. He couldn't wait to remove his wig and bra as soon as filming had stopped - "don't know how you girls put up with it... and heels too" he chortled in his broad Geordie accent. I sometimes wonder too I told him.

I was intrigued to know how on earth he got to play this most "unusual" part  - I remember him from the days when he played Dennis Patterson, butch builder in the television series Auf Wiedersehen Pet ... a far cry from his current character Lesley !

"Well its like this" and he began his story ..... He was at the "TV Quick awards" in 2008 when "Benidorm" won the Best Comedy Show. He went up to Derren Litten, writer of the series to congratulate him and said in jest that he would love to be on it but as a completely unbelievable character such as a transvestite! He said this tongue in cheek so was then astounded and shocked when he was sent a script some time latter with him being cast as Lesley. "Well I had no excuse as he'd written it specially for me like" he laughed. Well goes to show, never say anything in jest as it may come back to bite you! But the viewers are certainly delighted that you are on the series I told him. The hardest part for him is being away from his wife, actress Denise Welch and his boys - particularly his youngest Louis who is 10. Denise and Louis had just been in Benidorm over the half term break and they they had a great time - Louis found a great friend in Oliver, who plays Michael Garvey in the series. "Its difficult for Oliver as he is the only child in the series so he and Louis got on great and he doesn't live too far away from us so Im sure they'll stay in touch"

The transformation !
I asked Tim how he got into acting and was rather suprised to hear his response. His father was an amature dramatics fan and he use to watch and help with the curtains and lights from a very young age. He then got his first part playing a negro boy and had to be blackened up with boot polish - "can you imagine that happening now" he laughed. "I did my face, neck, arms etc but then forgot that I was due to wear three quater pants and forgot to do my legs!" "So you obviously got the bug and went to acting school" I responded. "No pet, I worked in a factory as a welder". He joined the TA (Territorial Army) Parachute Regiment and whilst there use to perform to the troops during their themed events - often playing the court jester or dracula. Then in 1973 he saw an ad for the Northern Arts School where he obtained a grant and slowly got into acting.  He was of of the founders that set up the "Live Theatre Company" on Tyneside where they tour and put on productions in community halls and working men's clubs - to audiences not normally associated with going to the theatre. Tim loves working in the theatre as "you get an instant reaction from the audience" unlike televison which is all recorded.

Opening Claires salon earlier this month.
Tim does a huge amount of charity work .... and co-founded the "Sammy Johnson Memorial Fund" which was established to support young talent in the North East. Sammy, an actor was a close friend of Tim's and he died suddenly in 1998 when they were both training for the Great North Run. The memorial fund host a fund raising concert every 2 years - the next one is on 12th February 2012 at 5pm & 8pm and there will be a host of celeb freinds taking part. In the last one Denise and some of the Loose Women cast came up and did a spoof sketch called "Slack Women"... To date he has raised over £120, 000 which funds up and coming children in performing arts. They funded the purchase of a cello for a girl and she will be performing at the fund raising event.

Earlier this month he took time out on a Sunday to open a beauty salon "Claires" in Albir for Claire - who was doing his nails for his role as Lesley! He is only too happy to help out anywhere he can ... what a gent he is. Infact, Claire's partner Stuart from the Geordie Bar in Benidorm is also a huge fundraiser and puts on lots of events to raise money for Emaus in particular - a local childrens charity - maybe its a Geordie thing but whatever it is - well done lads!

On this trip he has bought over his motorbike and car so that on days off he can wizz off into the mountains. "Is that what you're doing tomorrow on your day off" I asked. "No pet, its laundry day tomorrow - Ive nought clean left" ! He use to come to Spain alot as he had a place in Callahonda, near Marbella but that has now been sold. Instead he has a holiday villa in Turkey ... but has only been twice in the last six years as he's always too busy !
With that the crew came back from lunch and the costume department were waiting to dress Tim and transform him into Lesley again. What a truely lovely chap he is - I wish him all the best for his fund raising event in February next year.

Comments  

+1 #1 Jason Green 2013-09-16 20:12
tim healy ,, can you drop me a mail plzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzz
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