Tim Downie, English actor and writer of comedy. He trained in the theatre arts at Mountview Academy in Northern London. His first TV Series appearance was in The Bill, as Joey Paley. Since then, his career is going quite well. His first commissioned work “The Dead Moon” became the first non-operatic work to be staged at the Aldeburgh Festival. I wanted to learn more about who Tim was, so, I asked him and here is what he had to say…
Tell us about yourself?
I’m an actor, writer, rainy day walker, keen owl fancier and born worrier.
What made you decide to want to go into the world of acting?
Stories, telling stories. For me there is nothing more magical, more full of wonder than telling a story, a good story. It’s what I love doing and hope to do for a long time to come.
As a screen writer, you became a finalist in the New York Screenwriters Challenge in 2010. What was it like hearing the news in that moment?
I can’t begin to say how excited I was. A huge honour and an amazing feeling. I’ve always written shorts, in some way using them as a means to get to the heart of story and to be economical with words. But nothing beats seeing your name especially with a story that is close to your heart and that you think only you will ever like.
You have had quite a few projects this year. Such as War Machine, The Mercy and a few TV shows, Chewing Gum, Count Arthur Strong and Upstart Crow, which has been airing recently. What else can you tell us about them?
They all vary hugely. War Machine is a satire on the US involvement in Afghanistan, The Mercy is about the yachtsman Donald Crowhurst and his disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe race. The others, hopefully, should be some light relief from all the war. I have been enormously lucky on all these projects to work with people I greatly admire and in some case have watched since I was a kid.
Another film of yours is coming out in January next year. The Mercy, which has Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz and of course yourself as the Style Editor. Can you give us an idea of what the story is about?
It’s the biography of yachtsman Donald Crowhurst and his disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race, what unfolds is a tragic tale of what can happen when ambition is pushed to its limit. What happens when we fail? It’s a great story.
Another film of yours which is coming out in November this year is 6 Days, which has Mark Strong, Jamie Bell and Abbie Cornish and of course yourself as Jimmy ‘The Hack’ Nicholson. Can you give us an idea of what the story is about?
It’s about the siege of the Iranian embassy in 1980 told from the SAS point of view through Rusty Firmin, the Police negotiators and the press outside waiting to see how it would all end. Jimmy was a notorious journalist would only ever been wheeled out when death or murder was on the cards. He was known as The Prince of Darkness as he always dressed in black with a black cape and sunglasses. He was great fun to play.
What was it like for yourself growing up in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England as a young man?
Well I actually grew up in a village very close to Hitchin and it was great, I had a great childhood I was incredibly lucky. We had acres of fields around where we lived and it felt like we had free reign to go anywhere. Its downside was that there was nothing to do, after you had climbed trees, fallen in rivers and built a raft that would never sail out of large barrels of sheep dip. The next village or town was four miles away so it didn’t offer that much as you got older. I think it was probably then that I started to read, just as a way to see different landscapes for a little while.
When you’re not acting, what do you like to do for fun?
I read, I’m an avid collector of rare books. I’m also a keen walker which is something I have recently taken to. Getting out into the countryside or even walking through towns and cities, there are many hidden places that we walk past every day that are beautiful, beguiling and empty but full of magic.
In all of the world, where would you say is your favourite vacation location to visit?
The Himalayas, my wife and I went there in 2012 and there is something otherworldly about the mountains, be it the rarefied air, a sense of place or maybe there are mystical things happening in them but it’s a place I would return to time and time again if I could. But in general, the mountains are the place I would choose above all others.
Are there any charity’s or causes, that you are passionate about?
I’m an ambassador of Blue Sky Autism, which do absolutely fantastic work in London and Scotland offering pivotal response therapy for children with autism.
Can you tell us something about yourself that we couldn’t learn through the internet?
Every year on our anniversary I buy my wife an owl. Not a real owl as that would be unmanageable and possibly dangerous.
If a youngster came up to you, and asked what it took to make it in the acting. What advice would you pass onto them?
Persistence, shear bloody minded persistence. Knuckle down and know that if this is not the only thing you could ever do in your life, stop right now as it will eat you alive. Some are lucky, some are very fortunate but the majority have to grind. Take risks and believe in yourself.
I hope you enjoyed learning and reading about Tim. Now that you know a bit more about him, I’d also like to mention
Upstart Crow can currently be seen on BBC iPlayer.
The Mercy will be released in theatres on the 9th of February 2018