Actor Adrian Lukis on his perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 14:33 08 April 2011 | UPDATED: 05:41 20 May 2014
Best known for playing Wickham in the BBC’s landmark adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Adrian Lukis has appeared in numerous TV shows, including Peak Practice, Spooks and Judge John Deed. Most recently starring in Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Kingston’s Rose Theatre, away from rehearsals the Surbiton resident likes nothing more than enjoying the shops, pubs and walks right on his doorstep
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2011
So we’re through the first week of rehearsals and it’s the usual mixed bag of feelings – great to be working again, tempered with the chilly realisation that (1) Shakespeare is bloody difficult to get right and that (2) in three-and-a-half weeks it will be Press Night and a posse of jaded critics will be sharpening their quills out front and preparing to tell their readers whether or not we have succeeded.
I live in Surbiton, in a substantial square just off the lovely Maple Road, and now it’s Friday night and people are out having fun, blowing away the week, strutting the clubs.
I phone my friend Simon, who plays in a band called the Luddites.
“Do you fancy heading out?” I ask.
“Yeah, alright,” he says.
Twenty minutes later, we’re at the lovely Albany pub in Thames Ditton, supping our pints and looking at the river. Simon mutters something about Cameron and I grunt back something about Clegg and we watch the formations of geese overhead and the swans crash-landing in the water.
Afterwards, if I’m lucky, he and Roxanna feed me supper (they give me the occasional square meal out of pity) and we set about editing our documentary Glitzkrieg, about four men frantically treading water in the chilly seas of middle age in a rock band, which we filmed over the summer.
We’re not called for rehearsal (that will come later) so I head off to the David Lloyd gym in Kingston. I’m not mad about what being in your forties does to one’s physique, so of necessity I clamber aboard the cross-trainer from time to time but mainly I go for the pool. I’ve recently discovered swimming and I love it.
If I can’t make the gym, I usually walk along the river to that magnificently schizophrenic masterpiece, Hampton Court. Sometimes, I venture further afield, along the towpath to Richmond town or up into the park where, safely out of earshot, I bash away at my lines. One day, they’ll cart me away for stampeding the deer…
On the way home, I stop at Atari-Ya, the fantastically friendly and delicious Japanese wholesaler in Norbiton, and stock up on salmon sashimi, which is surely what the gods feast on. Norbiton may sound like the spotty, friendless boy at the back of the class, but in terms of its shops and delicatessens, it’s the six-packed captain of the football team, with its wonderful fish and cheeses.
In the afternoon, if England are playing any rugby I cheer them on at my local, The Antelope, where there’s always an enthusiastic and knowledgeable local crowd. Many hours have been spent in this friendliest of watering holes, once I confess in costume (The Winslow Boy, 2009). I am in so much trouble!
Sunday involves the usual list of suspects – The Archers, Desert Island Discs and usually a good roast, especially if my daughter Anna is visiting from drama school. Very occasionally, I might be able to persuade her to take a walk afterwards. I show her Surbiton station, a superb deco affair that I love. But then, Surbiton is anything but the bland uniform place that its name might suggest. Take a look around and you’ll see a mad potpourri of architectural styles and eccentricity from the twenties and thirties to the grand villas of prosperous Victoriana.
I genuinely love this area. The sheer variety and choice; the lack of urban threat; above all, the river which on Monday morning I shall be walking along to rehearsal breathing in the good fresh air and counting my blessings. It really is a good life.