Actor, entertainer, mime artist, singer, playwright and – last but not least – stunt driver. Graham Cole has successfully worked in a wide range of roles. At the same time, he never forgets about the ones in need, supporting a variety of charities.
Read our interview with Graham Cole, well known as PC Tony Stamp (The Bill), on past and future roles, car stunts, police films, Covid-19 and free lottery lines.
Yourlottoservice: Mr Cole, you have a long, successful period in your acting life to look back on – and have your eyes set firmly on the future. What do you find more flattering, being recognized and greeted as PC Tony Stamp (The Bill) or as Jimmy, the role you now play in “23 Walks”?
Graham Cole: I really enjoy it when people come up to me, especially serving police officers who were kids watching The Bill. To have been in people’s living rooms for 25 years was a mighty privilege.
People love a good crime story, trying to prove their theories of who done it.
I really tried to put a heart inside the uniform, perhaps showing the pressures of the job. I’m still honoured to support the police and emergency blue lighters and am the proud president of PTSD999.
The film 23 Walks is slowly being released so I hope people enjoy this gentle story.
Your professional vita is as colourful as a life in the public eye can be. You have worked as a film and stage actor, as an entertainer, mime artist and stunt driver, and you have also made a name for yourself as a singer and a playwright.
But you began your working life in a very different field, namely as a trained orthopaedic technician. That’s two very different life plans! Why and when did your life take that radical turn?
From age 8 I only wanted to entertain and act. My father wanted me to do something more stable. We were all members of The St John ambulance so the tradition into working in NHS seemed a logical one to me.
Your “trademark” is the role of PC Tony Stamp, not least thanks to the many, many years for which “The Bill” ran. What makes police films so popular with viewers and what did that role mean to you?
Playing Tony Stamp was a complete joy and honour, having the chance to create a character over such a long time. And all of that supported by wonderful cast crew producers and writers.
As I love motor cars the chance to do my own stunts in The Bill was very special. I held a racing license and am a proud member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
So being invited to MET driving school at Hendon many times for open days but also to attend courses was a total privilege.
I was also invited to open the New Zealand police Driving school Skid Pan, and for those who remember I presented ‘Police Stop’ TV documentary for 12 years.
I was never doubled on car stunts in The Bill. Working with our camera crews was awesome. So when you next watch, yes it’s all Tony behind the wheel.
Was the Tony Stamp character tailored especially to you?
I was very fortunate that The Bill producers gave you time and encouragement to develop your character. My close association with the MET police was invaluable to me and the Tony Stamp characters development, and I’m totally indebted to those officers who were so supportive to me over the years.
One thing that stands out as a constant in your life has been your closeness to people. Your history of charity work is as long as your list of jobs. What still motivates you even today to do something to help people for whom life hasn’t been so good?
My family life is wonderful, my wife’s support and love is vital. I could not have achieved my career and have two wonderful children and a great home base without her. I truly believe you ‘pay’ back helping where and when you can.
Lotteries are an indispensable part of British society, as many social projects rely on the money they provide. You play with YourLottoService: What makes the difference?
Your Lotto Service is very exciting. You join others creating not only more chances to possibly win but there is strength in numbers! Never forgetting the millions given to charity each year.
You rarely get anything for free in life. What did you think when you read about the free lines YourLottoService offers?
We have grown cautious of free labels but free lines from Your Lotto Service is totally free as I found out!
I don’t have a system so Your Lotto Service do all the work for me, in my busy world it’s a win! win!
Back to everyday reality: What does COVID-related social distancing mean to a person like you, who has always been close to people? What advice would you give our readers on how to cope mentally with the challenges the virus poses to us all?
Covid will change our lives forever. Many through personal loss, sorrow, missing out on the grieving, and the continual ongoing health problems it leaves.
In 2021 mental health will be our biggest battlefield. We must look after each other, have real care and support, complacency will be our enemy!
Only by truly following the Wash Mask Distance, making it part of our routine, can we honestly beat this beast!
Please if you do find yourself in a dark place – talk, talk, talk.
Together in all things we are strong!
Mr. Cole, thank you for your time and the interview. And good luck with the lottery!