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Rhys Thomas: “I could have been the next Eddie the Eagle”

(Image credit: Unknown)

What’s your most impressive personal best?

When I was 12, I ran the 100m hurdles in nine seconds – wait, maybe it wasn’t nine, but it was really impressive. My dad is Welsh and loves rugby, but I was never any good at it – when the ball came towards me I’d shit myself and hide… but when I did the hurdles, they said I could be a “proper hurdles person”. But I loved TV too much; Top Of The Pops and EastEnders were on on a Thursday night and I had to go to Basildon to train, so I said, “I don’t want to” and that was it.

Have you ever pulled a muscle in less than heroic circumstances?

I pulled a muscle doing a Freddie Mercury impression once. Also, when I was about five or six, I remember sledging down a snowy hill in Essex and my dad was going “Duck! Duck! Duck!” but I didn’t hear it, and so ended up getting two black eyes and a concussion.

Which excuse for not going to the gym/working out are you most ashamed of?

There’s no excuse. My problem is, I’ll say, “I’ll go first thing in the morning” but I don’t, so I say: “OK, I’ll go tonight” then I don’t. You never fucking go.

Have you ever secretly impressed yourself with a feat of strength?

I didn’t go skiing until I was 21, and when I went I was good at it. I remember going down this run and thinking, “Maybe this is my strength.” But again, I just spent all day watching telly and writing instead. All those actors that get fit and look sexy, they get paid to do it – writers don’t get paid to look sexy. Either way, I could have been the next Eddie the Eagle.

How often do you take selfies in the gym?

No, I wouldn’t do it. People that do it are idiots. I regularly say that everyone that does that is a stupid person – who cares?

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done in the name of good health or fitness?

I made a film in the Arctic once. Basically I lost loads of weight and ate baby food because I couldn’t eat the food in the Arctic. You had to be fit to live out there, and I felt quite good about it, but I got very tired, because everything you do – even just changing your boots – is an effort and it burns loads of calories. I really enjoyed it though – I had a diet of baby food for my art.

When did you last have a sneaky fag?

Last night. I’m not even a smoker, but every now and again it’s a bit of fun, isn’t it? We all know smoking might kill us one day – you might lose one day for one fag, but who cares? You’ll live one day less when you’re 91, but when you’re 37 you had fun. I like what I’m saying here, I’m quite impressed with myself.

Brian Pern: The Complete Series 1-3 is out on DVD and Blu-ray now. Buy on Amazon (opens in new tab)