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In father's footsteps

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1977-01-02 Sunday Telegraph.jpg


"The fact that my father is an actor influenced me in coming into the profession. He didn't, though." Actions speak louder than words; what you say may not influence your children, but what you all are does.

David Troughton, son of Patrick Troughton (television's second Dr. Who) was voicing the opinion of three young actors who are following in their fathers' professional footsteps and who appear in the new BBC series "Wings" which begins tonight.

Completing the trio are Tim Woodward, son of Edward Woodward, and Nicholas Jones, son of Griffith Jones. All worked together throughout the summer, but David will not appear until a third episode on January 16.

For all of them the 12-episode drama on First World War flying pioneers is their most important television serial yet.

They have much in common. All three went to public schools-Westminster, Haileybury and Mill Hill. David says unenthusiastically that Mill Hill was alright, Tim says he hated being of boarder at Haileybury, and Nicholas recalls that much of Westminster was agony. He, too, missed home and would have liked to be a day boy. I wandered around the beautiful cloisters recently and put my nose to the window, saw one of my old masters and that old feeling of hate came flowing back.

Public schools, their discipline and traditions, were not to the taste of these budding actors. And yet for David and Tim, it was school plays-"A Man for All Seasons and "The Crucible" that decided them on their careers.

All three have a brother or sister also in the profession: David and Tim have younger brothers and Nicholas the successful Gemma, still fresh in many people's minds as the star of "Duchess of Duke Street."

All three have been on the dole. "I am signing on in Battersea this afternoon," said Tim when I saw him last week. He considers himself lucky to have been out of work for only two longish periods in three years, but confesses to a dread of the dole queue. "It is all so slow, somehow making you feel worse as you wait and wait."

He has also signed on in the country, near his parents' home in Sussex, and there, he says, the atmosphere is much more genteel. "You go into small offices and the whole thing is more private. People look like bank managers who shouldn't be there at all. But is terribly sad and depressing."

A terrible feeling of negativeness comes over him the moment is out of work. "With so much spare time one should be able to take up some sort of different activity, But I challenge anyone after a month out of work to be able to do this and feel really positive. I envy musicians or poets because they can continue to play and write; as actors we have to wait."

At first, pressed by his mother, he used to take odd jobs. He worked on a building site, and an antiquarian book shop, and once tried to become a waiter but his arrival on a motorbike, skating to a halt in the drive, didn't please the country hotel-and he never got the job.

David Troughton, too, used to take jobs at first when he was not acting. He has been a messenger, and once joined the staff of the domestic agency. "That was really soul destroying. I didn't mind cleaning dirty houses, but I found myself being sent to rich homes in Chelsea which did not need cleaning at all."

At the moment he is rehearsing for the British première of Arnold Weaker's "The Wedding Feast" which opens on January 20 at the Leeds Playhouse and is due to run until February 12. He is resigned to the prospect of unemployment after that but says you have to take the rough with the snows in the acting profession. For him and his wife, however, the new year promises to be very special: they are expecting their first baby in March.

Nicholas Jones is jobless now, and filling in time helping a friend in the rag trade. Separated from his wife, he is living with his Sister Jama in North London. Home for him is now a miner's cottage halfway up the Mon 20 miles inland from Aberystwyth. The cottage was built by his great-grandfather, lived in by his grandfather, who started life and the mines before coming to London to be a milkman and ended up owning a dairy and is now the home of his parents. No, he says, he cannot speak Welsh. Gemma has tried, but not too successfully.

"Wings" for the cast, has not been only professionally very rewarding but fun socially off the set. There've been two more parties in an episode so far, and plans are afoot for parties at every showing, starting from tonight.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Johnstone, Violet (1977-01-02). In father's footsteps. The Sunday Telegraph (England) p. 10.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Johnstone, Violet. "In father's footsteps." The Sunday Telegraph (England) [add city] 1977-01-02, 10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Johnstone, Violet. "In father's footsteps." The Sunday Telegraph (England), edition, sec., 1977-01-02
  • Turabian: Johnstone, Violet. "In father's footsteps." The Sunday Telegraph (England), 1977-01-02, section, 10 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=In father's footsteps | url= | work=The Sunday Telegraph (England) | pages=10 | date=1977-01-02 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=In father's footsteps | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024}}</ref>