The unofficial Nat and Anna Parker fansite
1998's hottest TV actor Nat Parker
It's as if Nat Parker's Christmases have come at once. The handsome and charming 36-year-old has recently become Brittain's hottest TV actor, thanks to starring roles in top-rated series Vanity Fair, Far From The Madding Crowd and McCallum. And at home, he's just become a father for the second time in his six-year-old marriage to actress Anna Patrick. Nat, or Nathaniel to give him his full name, comes from a very distinguished family. His father is the former British Rail chairman Sir Peter Parker, his mother Lady Gillian Parker is a succesfull writer, and his brother Oliver is a film director. Nat's wife Anna, also 36, has starred in such series as Reckless and Maisie Raine. The couple's first child Angelica, is now two years old. Their second daughter, Raphaella, was born on November 13. For the past five years, the Parkers have lived in a converted school in Battersea, south London, where they posed for this exclusive Hello photo-shoot - in understandably elated mood.
Nat, 1998 must have been one of the best years of your life so far.
It certainly has been a really good year, and I've had a fantastic time. Carreer-wise, I've really enjoyed my involvement in Far From The Madding Crowd, Vanity Fair and McCallum, and all that comes with it. The fame is fun and the press has been wonderful to me too! The baby being born is the icing on the cake.
Why do you think you have recently become the British TV actor?
I didn't know I was! I certainly don't think of myself as that, even though I seem to be on the telly every night these days.Funnily enough I have worked abroad for four years prior to filming Far From The Madding Crowd. I'd gone away because all the best parts here were going to actors like Hugh Grant, Sean Bean and Colin Firth.
Funny you should mention Colin Firth, who became a national heart-throb playing Darcy in Pride and Prejudice on TV. Since you've played dashing Rawdon Crawley in Vanity Fair, you've been hailed as 'the new Darcy.'How do you feel about that?
It's very flattering. I actually worked at the National Youth Theatre with Colin years ago, and I consider him a friend. But he is much better at being Darcy than me, which because obvious when I didn't get the part and he did - and he was brilliant in it too.
Have admiring women been throwing themselves at you?
I've had quite a lot of fanmail and yes, I have had somethrowing themselves at me. One girl wrote to ask if she could be a maid at our house - and said she'd be prepared to live in the loo if needs be.
How does Anna feel about your heart-throb status?
She has no problem with it at all because it's not as if they're after me, as such, because they don't really know me.
In McCallum your character made love with a woman played by the actress Arkie Winkle, who is your wife's best friend. How did Anna feel about that?
She was fine about it. I don't think she's ever been worried about me doing a bed scene. She certainly wouldn't be worried with Arkie, because we're all great mates. Arkie and I found it a giggle, and it certainly wasn't embarrassing because she's been on beach holidays with Anna and I in the past when we've all been stark naked.
When and how did you meet Anna?
In 1985 at Theatre Clwyd in Wales, where we both had our first jobs. But we only met briefly in a cafe then. A year later, we worked together in New Castle and London for the Royal Shakespeare Company, funnily enough as lovers, in a play called the Storm. I thought she was staggeringly beautiful and I fell for her.
What is it about Anna that attracted you?
You haven't got enough space in your magazine for me to explain. Just everything though. I had to persue her, but it was well worth it.
What was your wedding like?
We were married six years ago at All Saint Church in Ladbroke Grove, London, although neither of us is particulary religious. I was so happy that I cried the very moment that Anna walked into the church. When she joined me at the altar, I thought she looked like a Greek goddess - she was everything I ever wanted. When she said her vows to me, I just kept thinking "Thank you, thank you!".
When you got married did you discuss the prospect of starting a family?
No. It wasn't a matter of discussion. I guess we just both thought we would have children one day. Ever since I was a youngster myself I've wanted my own children. But there was no pre-determined plan for Anna and I. The reason we waited a while was because we were having such a lovely time together. Coincidentally, many of our friends have had children at much the same time in their lives.
They were very, very different, but neither was better than the other. Both were indescribably exciting. The emotions of those occasions opened up parts of me that I didn't know existed before. I absolutely sobbed at both births. When Anna pushed Raphaella out into the world, I was so emotional that she turned around to me and said 'Are you alright?'. I was so proud - proud that I'd married Anna and proud that we got these little beauties as result.
As an actor you've played very macho characters... were you secretly hoping for a son?
Not in the slightest, no. Certainly after having one girl, I felt better the devil you know. A lot of people said that they assumed I'd wanted a boy, but I really don't pine for one at all.
How did you choose the names for your daughters?
Anna and I had a whole string of names for Angelica before she was born, but none of them seemed to be quite appropriate when we were looking at her. The more we looked at her, the more she looked like an angel. We even started singing songs about angels. So we came up with the most angelic name we could come up with. For our second daughter we decided to wait a while for her to inspire a name.
Did the arrival of your children change your life?
Immeasurably. The rug is taken from under your feet so rapidly that you can't carry on what you were doing before you had children - it just doesn't work like that. You have to take into account that you are totally responsible for these little people. I divide the world into those who have children and those who don't. Those who have them live in a world of tiredness and exhaustion because the children keeping them up at night. Those who don't have them live in a world of tiredness and exhaustion because they do other things - like partying. Parenthood is the most extra ordinary thing. Every day is a surprise, and no books can quite prepare you for that. But I cherish every bit of it.
Will you have a different approach to your second daughter's upbringing?
Oh yes. I was away for a few of Angelica's first months, and I really regretted that. I missed so much even in such a short space of time. It was a real wake up call.
How much of a hands-on dad are you?
As much as I possibly can be. I absolutely love being with my children, whatever we are doing - even if I am changing the nappies.
How would you describe the bond between you and your daughters?
I can't really put it into words properly. It's invisible, yet strong as a diamond. There is total and unconditional love between us. Just to see these children smile makes me a happy man. Every moment with them is memorable and special.
Presumably this is the first Christmas that Angelica is aware of, which must be exciting for you.
Very exciting. I always loved Christmas as a kid, and I can't wait for my kids to share that excitement. But I'm going to have to oil the hinges on Angelica's bedroom door before Santa can pop in with some presents without waking her up.
May we know what you'll be getting her for Christmas?
I've got lots of idea's. I'd love to get her some fish, because she loves them. I'd love to get hera violin and some music lessons, but I think that's being a pushy father. We'll probably end up getting her one of those little buggy cars.
Do you find it difficult not to spoil the children?
Very. I do have to curb myself because whenever I see something nice in the shop I think "That would make a good present!" Yet, if I bought these things, the children would be inundated. I did feel very justified in buying Angelica a few presents when her new sister was born though. Anna and I actually told her that the presents came with the baby, which made her feel much better. What a clever little baby, to bring a trampoline and all those chocolates, I thought. But seriously, it was important to make Angelica feel that she hadn't been displaced.
How did you explain the new arrival to Angelica?
While Anna was pregnant, we talked to her about Mummy's tummy getting bigger and the baby being inside the tummy. I think she took in quite a lot because she was so looking forward to the birth. When she came to the hospital after it she said, "Mummy's tummy went pop!" She's been very good about taking it all in and accepting her new sister.
Must be a result of the 'blackmail' with the trampoline and the chocolate.
I think that probably has a lot to do with it, yes!
How much have your parents seen of your children?
They saw both children, as did Anna's mum, the first day of each of their lives. It meant a lot to me that they were there. Having children myself makes me now view my parents differently to how I did before. I completely admire them as parents. The love and caring and the patience they had for me is an incredible example. I really want to replicate that with my children.
Will Anna be returning to acting soon?
Anna will returns when she wants to, which will probably be a little while yet.
Would you like to work with Anna in the future?
I would love to. In fact, every time I go for a job, I think how nice it would be if Anna could join me. We have actually done quite a few things together in recent years. We both appeared in my brother Oliver's film Othello. Not that there were any nepotism involved, ofcourse. I had to sleep with Oliver to get the part, but that was in a cot 36 years ago!
How aware is Angelica of what you do for a living?
I'm not sure. She watched my first appearance on Vanity Fair, in which my character rides over a hill. When she saw that, she shouted, "Daddy, over the hill!" which is an unfortunate choise of phrase. Worse still, she saw me being interviewed by Richard and Judy recently and just kept saying 'dumbo' apperantly. I think that was because she wanted to watch the video of Dumbo rather than being a comment on my character, but I suppose neither explanation is very flattering.
How would you feel if your daughters choose to follow you and Anna into acting?
Fine, if that's what they want to do. I kind of hope they don't, because it's such a tough business with high employment. But if they go into it, I hope they do well. I have to say, Angelica is already very keen on singing. She sings in her cot at night, and Anna and I love listening to her on the monitor warbling away.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm in the middle of filming a psychological drama called Trust, due to be broadcast on ITV in the spring, co-starring Mark Strong and Caroline Goodall.
You've already worked with several megastars, including Dustin Hoffman and Mel Gibson. Do you aspire to be like them, making the top films in Hollywood?
To be honest, yeah. I love working in Hollywood and the people there are very friendly. However, Anna and I have certainly some catching up to do family-wise if we want to match Dustin and Mel, because both of them have six children.
Will you and Anna have more children?
I don't know. We've already had two children in as many years, so maybe we should take a breather at least. I'm certainly blissfully happy as we are now.
It does seems as if life can't get much better than it is for you at the moment.
I reckon that's probably true, yes. I have had an incredibly good life so far, and I do thank my lucky stars for it. Anna and I were walking down the street the other day, we were both holding Angelica's hand and pushing the pram. I thought to myself, "This must be what I always wanted." It feels heavenly to me.
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