WISE WORDS: Shaun Dooley, Star Of 'Broadchurch' And 'Ordinary Lies' On A Father's Advice, And Hitting Pause

WISE WORDS: 'My Father Changed My Life With A Few Words'

In the latest of our new WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of walks of life share the important lessons they've learned along the way - we're chatting to actor Shaun Dooley, star of 'Broadchurch', 'Misfits' and, most recently, 'Ordinary Lies'.


Shaun, who's been acting since he was a teenager , has been increasingly high-profile of late - with his enigmatic turn in the second series of 'Broadchurch', 'Misfits' and in tonight's concluding part of 'Ordinary Lies'. We chat to him on a rare day off before he heads to the coast to continue filming police drama 'Cuffs' and find out what's really important...

Shaun Dooley stars in the concluding part of 'Ordinary Lies' tonight on BBC1

What do you do to switch off from the world?

I find it quite hard to switch off. My mind is really active. If I try to switch off, I’m thinking of all the films I want to write, the children's books, etc. Intead, I'll sit down in front of a film, commit to it and just escape.

How do you deal with negativity?

I must admit I tend to hunt it down. I will type in negative things to find them, but it's because I’m better at taking negativity than compliments. When I'm on set, if someone tells me we need another take, I can respond to that more positively than if someone says it's all okay. I use it as a fuel to make me work harder.

When and where are you happiest?

Definitely with my wife and four kids, I love Christmas with the kids. They're aged 10, nine, four and three (three girls and a boy) - the perfect ages for festivities - and we don't have any outside interference. This year we filmed Father Christmas coming down the chimney.

Shaun with David Tennant in the second series of 'Broadchurch'

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

It was from my dad when I was about sixteen. He changed my life with a few words. I wanted to be a vet when I was young, but I failed all my exams. There was one little light, in that my theatre group teacher though I should be an actor. I went to my dad and asked him what he thought. He was a miner. He told me, 'You're going to be unemployed whatever you do, so you might as well be unemployed chasing the dream."

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

That I can’t slow time, I can’t keep the world from revolving, I can’t keep my children as babies. I just want to hit pause and not miss anything. I'm having trouble dealing with that.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self?

I wouldn’t tell him anything. I’d be Marty McFly. The mistakes I made, everything I went through, brought me here to my beautiful wife and kids, so I honestly wouldn't change a thing.

What are the three things are at the top of your bucket list?

For a film I've written to be made, for a novel I've written to be published, and a song I've written to be played on the radio.

What do you think happens when we die?

I think you live on in the loved ones you leave behind.

When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?

When we're in nature and other people’s culture. I love travelling and I'm trying to pass that to the children as well.

I like undulating landscapes. I went to South America, and climbed a mountain for sunset. A condor flew down, and my first instinct was to grab my camera, but I put it down. I just wanted the memory for myself.

What do you try to bring to your relationships?

I just try to be a decent human being, treating people the way I would wish to be treated.

What keeps you grounded?

Family life. I presented a BAFTA award once to Stephen Moffat and, when I got home, there was a welly on the doorstep covered in dog poo for me to clean. That told me.

What was your last good deed?

Yesterday, I was filming in Brighton, and there was a lady on the train struggling with her bags. I jumped out of my seat, opened the door and made sure she got off the train.. I believe very much in being a gentleman. My boy will be a gentleman.

Ordinary Lies concludes on Tuesday 21 April at 9pm on BBC One. Trailer below...


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