Interview with Derek and Dad’s Army star Holli Dempsey


Holli Dempsey so far has had an amazing acting career playing Vicky with Ricky Gervais in Derek and Vera in the recent film remake of Dad’s Army. Soon Holli will be starring in E4 TV series The Aliens first showing March 8th at 9 PM.

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What advice would you give to a school pupil that wanted to be an actress?

If you REALLY want to become an Actor, you won’t see any other option. You need a one-track-mind and to become friends with rejection! I would advise you get involved in as many projects as you can when you’re starting out. Meet other people with the same interests and film/stage your own “stuff”. Make yourself accessible and easy to find. The Internet is our friend. These things don’t have to cost money either. Always keep YOUR goal in mind.

What is the most difficult thing about being a celebrity?

I wouldn’t know!! I’ve never considered myself a celebrity and I never get recognised for things I’ve done. I think that must be the hardest part of being a celebrity: losing a part of your freedom as your business becomes everyone else’s.

Out of everything you have done so far what are the highlights?

There are so many, some things you may never have heard of. Theatre is where I have probably learnt the most. I think it’s essential for any actor to do some theatre. Meeting ALL the cast of Dad’s Army was pretty overwhelming too. I’m a fan of each and every one of them so it was a real pleasure hearing their stories

What is it like working with Ricky Gervais?

As you would imagine…Hilarious. He’s always laughing and creating constant comedy. He also allowed us to add our own lines and ideas. Helping to construct the second series of ‘Derek’ with Ricky Gervais and the rest of the gang was so much fun. We would meet and chat and discuss the characters and hilarious stuff would be said, some of which would make it into the series.

How long does it take to prepare for a role?

Usually, as long as they give you! That could be three weeks…or three hours. Today I had two big auditions and had to learn it all on the day. It’s a shame when you don’t get more time to commit to a part. You don’t often have much time on set to prepare so you should do as much preparation as you can before you start.

How different is it filming for television than the big screen?

From my little experience It isn’t as different as you may expect. It is run in a similar way. Some scenes are given more time on film than they are on TV.

How do you cope with such different roles such as the one in your forthcoming Aliens?

Characters like Holly in Aliens is one that jumps off the page and says “Come get me!!” She’s such a colourful character. I’ve always really loved Human beings, of all different shapes, sizes and accents. And I’ve always wanted to be all of them, so I guess this is the closest I will get to that! I love playing different people and sometimes I even surprise myself.

If you want to have a great day then what 5 things to do you find yourself doing?

  1. I love crafting!! Painting and making things IE: a ‘Twat Crab’ made of Felt for Ricky’s Christmas present (pics on Twitter!) It’s really therapeutic to create art, whatever it is.
  2. Cooking, for the same reason. It puts me in a great mood and at the end…you can eat what you’ve made. WIN!!
  3. Catching up with my best friends as they always make me smile.
  4. Reading because it can take you on a journey.
  5. Talking to strangers is the most underrated hobby! Seriously! Say Hello to someone, whoever they are. You never know you may have a lot in common. I’m not suggesting going up to people in a dark alley and asking about their interests. Just share a kind word with a stranger, you might change the course of their day…and it could possibly brighten yours up too.

How to do your keep yourself healthy with filming commitments?

I usually feel my best when I’m on the go with filming. It’s when I’m not filming that I have to keep active and busy; mind and body. I really love yoga as a full body blessing. I have just joined a gym…. I haven’t been to the building yet but it’s on my ToDo List!

What are your top things to do in London? Do you have a favourite restaurant?

I have always Loved Italian food and ‘La Porchetta Pollo’ on Old Compton Street is Amazing. Fresh, delicious food, Old recipes and great service, for a cheap price. You are only a walk away from all of London’s most famous Theatres there too.

What is next for you after Aliens? Is it easy to plan ahead?

Planning ahead is the one joy I sacrificed when I decided to become an actress! It is nigh on impossible for me to plan anything past tomorrow. Acting is my first love and there are very few things that would come before it. I have lost out on dream holidays with friends for work, but I don’t regret it. I want to keep playing varied characters and see what other challenges come my way. I would love to do some more films and some exciting theatre too. I am so used to my life being completely subject to change that you never really know what will come up. That’s the thing you have to get used to. Some find it terrifying, I think it’s exciting.

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