Five students from St Mary's College in Crosby interview Lancashire-born actor David Morrissey

PUBLISHED: 01:16 13 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:58 20 February 2013

Main photo by Richard Saker / Rex Features; David Morrissey at The Playground Studio in London

Main photo by Richard Saker / Rex Features; David Morrissey at The Playground Studio in London

Five students from St Mary's College in Crosby interviewed one of Britain's finest actors, Lancashire-born David Morrissey. One of them, 13-year-old Isabelle Bond, reports

The print version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Lancashire Life

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I hadnt got a clue what David Morrissey was going to be like. I knew he had played just about every type of role from The Next Doctor in Doctor Who to Macbeth, but I couldnt help wondering if our meeting might be a horrible or a happy experience. Would he be a Grumpy Old Man?

I thought he might be a mixture of all the characters Id ever seen him play but on the day of the interview I heard someone on the radio say: David Morrissey is one of the few actors you can rely on to be a true gentleman.

He arrived at our school wearing rather normal clothes and when he started talking, I was amazed at the depth and detail of his answers.
As soon as we were introduced I could tell he wasnt a Mr Grumpy. Answering our first question he wore a look of deep concentration; you could see him searching his thoughts.

David told us how all through his early life - his childhood was spent in the Liverpool suburbs of Kensington and Knotty Ash - hed wanted to be praised by people outside of his family, but he didnt take to academic life. In his primary school hed clearly shown an interest in drama by putting on shows.

He failed his 11+ but you could tell he was bright. I ended up at a secondary modern school and they didnt do drama. I really missed it. He found that he had to go looking for drama. David added: Looking back, I can see I really responded to encouragement. I found it at the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool and that was where everything else started for me.

I needed to be inspired and school didnt do that for me. I found my life and education through the arts. David was the youngest of four and his childhood was very competitive. Our house was like the trophy cabinet, he said.

When I told my parents that I wanted to be an actor it was like saying I wanted to be an astronaut. It was a completely different world for them so I had to go and find it for myself. In spite of his ambition he didnt think of acting as a proper job until he saw the film Kes by Ken Loach.

It was the opposite of escapism. It presented my life to me in a very real way. The film troubled and upset me. Seeing it gave me the inspiration to say I want to be involved with something like that.

I didnt always go to school. St Marys will kill me for telling you this, he said. After looking over at our teacher he then reveals that instead of going to lessons he sat in the city library reading plays.

I wasnt getting on with the institution that was school but I knew that I wasnt just hanging pointlessly around on the streets. Out of my reading I found a few plays that I took to the Youth Theatre.

One of his early heroes was Roger Hill who ran the theatre and a music paper called The Mersey Sound. He did some work for the publication and was sent to interview Kenny Ball the kind of jazz musician your mum would like.

It provided him with a useful lesson. I had been thinking he was a bit of a joke, but he sat down and started telling me wonderful stories about his life in music. He told me about meeting the Beatles, going on tour in America, and going to the Mississippi. For about two hours I scribbled away. He was a really great guy and I was a bit ashamed that I had considered him a joke before meeting him.

The first film he was involved in was Channel Fours One Summer. He said: Our idea was to try and make it as Ken Loach would. We achieved that a little... but I think hes a bit of a genius. My first real paid work for acting was in this film. That felt amazing. You could almost feel the pride he still feels in the project. All through the interview hed been going into great detail but not droning like a teacher. Somehow he kept our attention.

He told us about how important the arts are in school. Its education for your whole life not just for exam time. For me its essential and I think it illuminates every other subject.

All human life is in Shakespeare. His words are still so relevant to the world today. He made a lot of pertinent comparisons between Macbeth and Colonel Gadaffi. Events in the Arab spring are endlessly reflected back at us in Shakespeare.

He then gave us advice on how, if we wanted, to follow his footsteps. Never be put off. People say no all the time. Being an actor isnt like being a musician. You cant really practice acting in your bedroom.

All the time hes willing us to follow him. We stand up for a photo at the end of the interview but David carries on talking. Looking down at us (hes very tall!) he said: The best advice I can give? Dont let anything stop you.

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