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Soaps Interview

'Doctors' Simon Rivers chats Inside Soap Awards, Kevin future, more

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During 15 months on screen in Doctors, relative newcomer Kevin Tyler has been at the centre of some of the soap's biggest storylines - including the dark tale of Lauren Porter's murder and the shock fire drama which claimed the life of Freya Wilson.

Simon Rivers, who plays the character, is now up for 'Best Daytime Star' at next month's Inside Soap Awards, appearing in the category alongside a handful of his Doctors colleagues as well as rivals from the Australian soaps.

Digital Spy recently chatted to Simon about his nomination and what's to come for Kevin.

Simon Rivers as Kevin Tyler in Doctors

© BBC



Congratulations on your nomination for 'Best Daytime Star' at the Inside Soap Awards. How does it feel to be in the running?
"I'm kind of shocked, to be honest! It's really nice to be nominated, so I'm honoured and flattered. It's always a surprise, because there are so many talented people in the show. Everyone does their own thing and everyone's so good, so I'm quite chuffed to be considered."

How do you rate your chances?
"Not highly! Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Owen Brenman and Lu Corfield are all up for the award too, and they're all brilliant actors and actresses in their own right. I'm not even thinking that much about it - to be put in the same group as them is enough for me. If I managed to somehow win it then I'd be over the moon, but I'll be happy if anyone from Doctors does."

Doctors is also up for 'Best Daytime Soap' against Neighbours and Home and Away. Is there anything you'd say for why soap fans should vote for Doctors?
"Well, we're home-grown so seeing as we've had the Olympics here, it'd be nice for us to have a little Inside Soap victory too! Plus we're better than Home and Away and Neighbours, which I say very cheekily! (Laughs.)

"I think we're a great show and everyone works hard to make it. I think it'd be really nice for us to win something this year."

Kevin

© BBC Pictures

Inside Soap Awards 2012 Logo

© Inside Soap Magazine



How would you sum up your time on Doctors so far?
"It's been fast - lightning fast! I think Kevin has evolved quite a lot already, which is really nice. But I'm just having a blast, really. You don't have much time to dwell on things, but I can't believe it's been a year and a half already. It's flown by."

You joined the show alongside Lu Corfield (Freya), and many of your scenes were with her. Is it strange not having Lu around now?
"It is! It was really weird doing the scenes where Freya died, but I think it helped that it also felt like a loss in real life - as Lu was quite a big character on set and so the dynamic changed when she left. I was able to draw on that in the scenes, which was really nice for me.

"As the new character Jas has come into the show and she's an old medical friend of Kevin's, we've got a slightly similar relationship forming there, where there's a bit of banter! It's not exactly the same, though, because myself and Lu both started together at the same time. We knew we were there for six months and we didn't know who was going to stay, so the storyline was mimicking real life in that way!"

Will Freya's death continue to affect Kevin?
"Well, you never really hold on to anything for too long in Doctors, but there are undercurrents of Freya still coming through. She's still quite present in Kevin's storylines that are coming up."

Mandy Marquez and Kevin Tyler reminisce over Freya

© BBC

Simon Rivers and Lu Corfield filming fire episode

© Twitter / @LuCorfield



Are there more Kevin and Mandy scenes on the way?
"We haven't really worked together for a while, to be honest, as there are some new characters who have come into the show, so we're both doing our own thing. It's quite nice that there's that bond between them, though.

"I think Mandy and Kevin's relationship is always going to be a bit frosty because of the whole Freya situation. It's a nice dynamic of wanting to get over the past, but not really knowing how to. They try not to talk about it, but they know it's there."

What have your favourite storylines been?
"The Freya death was obviously a really big one. It was draining, but I quite liked it. There are also hints about Kevin's past which are always good to play on, because you don't really know much about him. For example, his mum's a shadow character and eventually she'll be introduced.

"It's quite nice playing Kevin, because he's a bit of an idiot and he's always managing to get into problems with women! So all of that has been fun. Plus, the Lauren murder was another big, heavy storyline for him. Those are the kinds of things that I really enjoy doing, so I've been quite lucky."

When we interviewed the Doctors producer Peter Lloyd a few weeks ago, he promised a new storyline involving Kevin examining his identity and race. Can you tell us anything about that?
"We've already started filming it. I don't want to spoil too much, but let's just say that his past catches up with him in a big way! Kevin's identity is going to be thrown totally into chaos. The big story arc for me at Christmas will be exploring all of this.

"Kevin is someone who only knows half of his family, so his journey now is going to be getting to know the things that he's never known growing up as a kid and exploring his culture. He thinks of himself as very British and he's adamant that he's not Asian, so that storyline's going to come through a lot more now."

Doctors fans have noticed a chemistry between Kevin and Zara. Would you like this to become more than just a friendship in the future?
"Well, I think Zara is way out of Kevin's league, but I'm sure that he would love to have something more with her. It's quite nice having that banter with Zara - they like to tease and play along with each other, without crossing the lines. But who knows?

"I suppose it's up to the writers to write it. It would be interesting to see what would happen, but I don't really think if they got together they would be a great couple or work very well. It'd be interesting to play, though!"

Zara (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh) and Kevin (Simon Rivers) give Barry Biglow (David Perks) some silly advice.

© BBC

Kevin Tyler (Simon Rivers) supports Zara Carmichael (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh).

© BBC



A few cast members have left Doctors this year to pursue other projects. Is there a specific time you'd like to stay with the show for?
"Well, at the moment I'm quite happy and I haven't really thought much about it. My contract ends at Christmas, so I don't really know what will happen after that, but I would happily stay.

"I suppose there's an expiry date on all characters where they become a bit stale, but I haven't found that with Kevin yet. Plus, it's just nice to be working as an actor because it's so tough out there at the moment."

You've done quite a bit of theatre work in the past. Do you miss it? And how does Doctors compare?
"I do miss theatre work, and Doctors is a completely different animal. I have a lot more sympathy and respect for soap actors now that I've seen everything first-hand. On shows like Doctors, you're going backwards and forwards in time, doing bits of one episode before you've finished scenes that actually take place earlier.

"With theatre work, you know you're there for about six weeks, you bed down your character and you go through the journey every night, so it's a different skill set. I do miss the stage, as the reason that I wanted to become an actor was to do theatre work. Sometimes - especially when you see a play - you long to be back on the boards and have that thrill of being in a stage production where anything could happen!"

Who are your best friends on the Doctors set?
"We're all quite close, actually. I get on really well with Danielle Henry who plays Mandy - we hang out quite a lot when we can. Ian Kelsey is another good laugh to have on set.

"As a group, we try to have cast meals and get-togethers when we can, because we don't really see much of each other even when we're on set - as we're off doing 'stories of the day' or working with guests.

"There's nobody that I don't get on with and it's nice to have a mix of younger and older actors. It's great to chat to some of the older actors off set and hear stories from their careers, as I've really learned a lot from all of them."

> Read more 'Doctors' spoilers and news
> Read more of our Inside Soap Awards coverage

The 2012 Inside Soap Awards - sponsored by online fashion retailer boohoo.com - take place in September. Voting is open via the Inside Soap website.

Doctors airs weekdays at 1.45pm on BBC One. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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