Samuel West: 'I hate the phrase "acting royalty"'

Samuel West has revealed he has never held any other job, other than being an actor.

The Howards End star made his screen debut as a child actor as the young Albert Victor ‘Eddy’ in Edward The Seventh in 1975, and has since appeared in films such as Hyde Park On Hudson and Jane Eyre, as well as TV shows including Doctor Who, The Hornblower and Mr Selfridge.

“I never went to drama school, though I certainly would liked to have done, but the really shocking thing is that I’ve never done any other job, which is not a good idea,” he said.

Timothy West and Prunella Scales

Timothy West and Prunella Scales (Ian West/PA)

Sam, the son of actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales, said it was inevitable that he would follow in their footsteps and head into the “family business”.

“I’m not going to accept the phrase ‘acting royalty’. I’ll accept the phrase ‘family business’. People sometimes say ‘dynasty’, and I don’t even like that,” he said.

“I have gone into the family business, and rather than inevitable, it just sort of became difficult to avoid after a while.

“I really enjoyed acting at university. I was quite shy and I think it can be a good way of discovering things about yourself and also coming out of your shell, and then when I left I got some work. So I thought, ‘Well I’ll try, and if I’m not working in a year I’ll try and go to drama school, because I probably should’, and then I was working, so I carried on, and I’ve never really stopped.”

Samuel West

Samuel West (Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)

Sam plays Frank Edwards, a character based on journalist and publisher Frank Harris, in ITV’s period drama Mr Selfridge. He stars alongside Jeremy Piven, who portrays the department store’s founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge.

“It was just the sort of accident of the opening bit of the first series, and three or four years later here we are,” he revealed.

The actor added: “I had to stop doing homework because I found out all these fascinating facts about him, like he was a cowboy and he went to Chicago when he was 11. It was frustrating because I wanted him to be able to do all these things and nobody else was interested, so I stopped doing that.”

Sam also confirmed that the fourth series will be the final one, following co-star Amanda Abbington’s recent comments.

He said: “They’ve just announced that there’s going to be a fourth series. It’s the last one.”


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