Heartbeat actor to reprise ‘dales idiot’ role on stage

David Lonsdale as David Stockwell in the stage production of Heartbeat. Photo by Andrew Billington.
David Lonsdale as David Stockwell in the stage production of Heartbeat. Photo by Andrew Billington.

David Lonsdale starred in the ITV drama Heartbeat for sixteen years as hapless odd job man David Stockwell.

The show’s final series aired in 2010 but a new Heartbeat stage adaptation means David is resuming the character once more.

Here we chat to the actor ahead of the national theatre tour which stops off at Buxton Opera House next week:
Q. The public know you for your acting on telly but you are no stranger to the theatre.

A. I’ve done a lot of theatre over the years, it’s something I really enjoy.  I toured to Buxton in You’re Only Young Twice a few years ago.

Q. Do you think Heartbeat has adapted easily to stage?

A. No there were many challenges; the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, which was such an integral part of the show had to be included somehow. The story, and the balance of comedy and drama work very well on stage, but a lot of thought had to go into the set and getting the style of the show right so people recognised it from the TV programme they love so much.

Q. You performed in the drama as David Stockwell for 16 years, do you miss the set?

A. Yes, after so many years in a job I inevitably made a lot of friends who I miss a lot. Also I

miss Yorkshire. It’s much warmer working in the theatre though! Filming on the North York moors in January was not for the faint hearted!

Q. Can you tell us about the plot for the theatre show?

A. It’s a new story which picks up a few months after the TV show finished. As you would expect, there’s a stranger in town, up to no good and causing Bernie and Gina a lot of problems. David is struggling to keep up with all the errands he has to do and gets a hand from PC Younger. Lots of fun and lots of drama! 
Q. Heartbeat ran for 18 years, what do you think was the key to the show’s success?

A. So many things; the mix of strong storytelling and humour was a key element in its success, along with the music, the scenery, and to the feel-good, nostalgic style. Uncomplicated, honest entertainment, which is much missed to this day.

Q. Your character has been described as the ‘dales idiot’, was it a hard decision to take that kind of role, and become known for it?

A. No, I love David; he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer but such a nice person. I’m delighted to play him again.

Q. What’s next for you after the tour?

A. The tour finishes in July after which I will get a holiday with my family before starting my next job in August which is a musical comedy at the New Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on- Trent called Maverick. I have to sing and play in an on-stage band in that one, so lots of practice going on!

n Heartbeat takes place from Tuesday, June 14 to Saturday. June 18 at 7.30pm.Tickets £30 and discounts are available. Call 01298 72190 or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk

or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk