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Nat Parker treads the boards at Windsor
Bucks Free Press
By Francine Wolfisz
01-05-2008

Stage fright can sometimes get the better of even the most experienced of actors - and it seems Nathaniel Parker is no exception. The star of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries has in fact stayed away from the stage for eight years, but he is soon to tread the boards again in Windsor with Simon Gray's sharp-witted play, Quartermaine's Terms.

"I've had terrible nerves on stage in my time," confesses the likeable 45-year-old, "so I always thought if I did come back it would have to be a really good script - and this play is a masterpiece."

Now, "not feeling nerves, just pure excitement," Nathaniel tells me he's looking forward to his "delicious" role. 

The Lamda-trained actor stars as the ineffectual St John Quartermaine, who works at a struggling school teaching English to foreign students. He leads something of a mundane existence, propelled by his inability to make an impact on either his colleagues or his pupils.

As he bumbles along in life, Quartermaine tries desperately to be liked and accepted by others, but his efforts always seem to end in comical disaster.Nathaniel is joined by Christopher Timothy, perhaps best known for his roles as James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small, as well more recently as Dr Brendan "Mac" McGuire in Doctors.

"There is this underlying thread of tragedy, but the play is actually very funny," explains Nathaniel, who lives in London with his wife, actress Anna Patrick, and their daughters Raphaella and Angelica.

"Quartermaine is a man who has been there much longer than any of his colleagues. In some ways he's become part of the furniture, but perhaps so much so that people don't even notice he's there anymore."

Exclaiming that "this theatre bug is quite addictive," Nathaniel explains that his latest role is not such a far cry from where his career actually started - as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.During that time he played Bassanio in Peter Hall's 1989 production of The Merchant Of Venice in both London and on Broadway, alongside Dustin Hoffman.

But it is for his television work that Nathaniel became a household name. His first big break came in 1988 in the ITV drama Piece of Cake.Since then he has starred in small screen adaptations of Far From the Madding Crowd, Vanity Fair, and most recently as Albert Speer in Nuremburg. He also landed a major role in last year's box office success, Stardust.

But to his legion of loyal fans, Nathaniel is best known for playing the title role in seven series of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, which ended production last year. Nathaniel tells me: "I was surprised when the series ended, but in one way I was relieved. I can now move onto other things and flex my theatre muscles once more. I think the bug is truly back."

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