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A Date With Doctor Ridge


"A Date With Doctor Ridge" is a feature on Simon Oates from "Love Affair" Magazine, published 13th May 1972 - priced 8p. As a treat we purchased this magazine, just for your reading pleasure!

Colette O'Hare meets Simon Oates, the dish from ‘Doomwatch'…

SIMON OATES, the man from 'Doomwatch', is an affable, easy-going guy. And like Dr. John Ridge, the television character he plays in the series, due to return soon, he has a preference for broderie Anglaise shirts and brightly coloured neck scarfs-in his case, made human by the addition of a suede waistcoat which looked, frankly, niffy.
With a nice eye for detail, though, he was intrigued by the man, sitting near the lady whose perfume was making his left eye sting, who was wearing a shirt with a very strange collar, at least six or seven inches deep. “Too much the collar,” he said, shaking his head, "much too much the collar."
The man was making copious notes about something, and Mr. Oates was concerned that he might be copying his jokes down.
But, despite the funnies, he seemed a little down-cast, perhaps as a result of having just returned to London where he lives, after three months in a country retreat.
“I wonder if the idea that London is the only place to be, is really a myth. I suppose it is the centre of all that's happening, but on the other hand you do get a bit fed-up with tearing about all over the place. For instance, I eat out a lot. There are about four restaurants I'm really fond of and I tend to stick to them. I could probably find four decent restaurants in an average small town-without all the hustle of London.
“I really enjoyed being in the country. I had a small cottage loaned to me by a friend. There was no television or telephone. If anyone wanted to contact me they had to send a runner across the fields with a message in a cleft stick.
 “But as soon as you get back to London, the phone starts ringing, and that's it, what
actor can resist answering the telephone, I ask you?"
 Ordering a drink, and co-incidentally making the barmaid's day, he said, almost sadly, "There you are, I can’t even order a drink without turning it into a five minute cabaret spot." As it happened, he was due to do a cabaret show that evening.
 He told a few more jokes by way of a demonstration.
“Now you can say Simon Oates did nothing but tell rude stories."
“I remember interviewing you once before," I told him, "and you did nothing but tell rude stories then, too.”
“Did I?'' he said. "Oh well, you probably started it."
I probably did.
When he is not Doomwatching, or doing cabaret, (he sings too, folks), he has an interest in a agency for dancers.
I like the theatre,” he said, but it's hardly ever worth doing financially, unless it's a very long run-and that means you're very tied. It's the same with a long running television series like 'Doomwatch'. That's why in the new series I'm not in every episode.”
He hadn't seen the completed ‘Doomwatch' film-he just did his bit and departed.
Divorced, he has a twelve-year-old daughter, Beverley.
I think my attitude to womenhas become rather cynical, which is a pity, because basically I'm a hopeless romantic. In my heart I still think that somewhere, maybe in the jungles of Equador, there's the right woman for me. When we meet, bells will start ringing, etc. I keep hoping it will happen, but of course it never does, and, let's face it, it probably never will. I don't have affairs, I'd like to think they were affairs, but they aren't really, more like incidents. They never end badly, they just end. I mean, I don't beat women up, I don't ever lose my temper really-it's just that I can't honestly say that I've ever known a woman who I'd really mind too much if I never saw her again-except maybe my daughter-I think I'd do myself in if anything happened to her.
The trouble is, I'm quite happy as I am, but I have this horrible nagging suspicion that maybe I shouldn't be-that maybe it all ought to be a little more-I don’t know-difficult."
An ex-plumber's mate from Camden Town, "anywhere's got to be an improvement after that," his real name, he confides, is Arthur. "But it wasn't quite the image I was after.” (I still don't know whether to believe him.) He doesn't think his pride would allow him to return to plumbing now.
But if, for some reason, I had to give up acting, I wouldn't mind going into P.R. or something like that. I think I'd probably do quite well in P.R., don't you?"
I said that I did, too.
I think that maybe he could even be bottled and sold at nine guineas an ounce. Agreed, girls?

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