Tim Bentinck: The Archers star on Norway cruises, nude scenes & cruise weight-gain
Tim Bentinck – who has starred as David Archer in hit radio soap The Archers for 40 years – is a seasoned traveller, but had never been on a cruise until the glow of the Northern Lights beckoned…
World of Cruising caught up with The Archers actor Tim Bentinck to quiz him on cruising to Norway, filming naked scenes and overpacking.
What was the first cruise you sailed on?
My first – and so far, only cruise – was to Norway and the Arctic Circle in 2019 with Saga. I was part of a group of actors that were there to do various performances onboard over the week.
My wife Judy was with me, and we had some wonderful experiences you’d never normally have, such as the Northern Lights and a ride in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. It was all quite magical.
Did you find you enjoyed cruising?
It was a real eye-opener for me, as for years I had always avoided cruises. The Archers had been doing some where you cruise for free in return for doing a few performances on stage, and I always said no because I thought it would be a bit claustrophobic. I like my freedom.
But this trip I suddenly realised that that was it wasn't like that. I thought it was great. We had good company, a lot of fun, lovely food. I’m quite a gregarious chap, so it was nice to meet so many people over dinner or lunch. Also, we had really nice cabins, which I think would make a difference. I’d hate to be on one of those interior cabins without a window.
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What was the best thing about your trip?
Seeing the Northern Lights, that was a high point in my life. You can see all the photographs you like, but until you see them yourself you don’t really know.
We had a fantastic display, the locals told us it was the best they’d seen in years. To be stood there, while it’s so cold and so raw, it’s astonishing.
Any downsides to the trip?
We did hit a big storm on the way back. I was on stage performing the talk about my book on my life as David Archer basically to three people in a dog!
Everybody else was watching in their cabins through the video link. There was literally a lamp sliding across while I was giving this talk – I've never had that before.
What else did you do on the cruise?
We performed a play with some of the passengers, and I was in charge of sound effects. I knew from when we did The Archers roadshows that the sound effects always get the laughs.
What would be your ideal next cruise?
Well, I’ve done cold, so I think definitely hot. Swimming was my sport, so I'd need to have a cruise ship with a decent pool. And, and somewhere to sunbathe and somewhere quiet to be able to read a book, those would be the priorities. Everything else comes second, apart from lovely food.
Where would you most like to travel to at Christmas time?
I think I’d want to go the North Pole to visit Father Christmas. It’s definitely got to be a cold place. I did a TV commercial for the Australian tourist board once around Christmas time and there's something really weird about lying by a pool in the hot sun with Jingle Bells playing.
It just doesn't work. Christmas has got to be cold, so I’d got somewhere there's snow with my wife Judy. I’d love to go back up to Norway, that would feel great.
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Who would be your ideal cruise travelling companion?
It would be my wife, Judy. And if it weren't, it would be the actress Debbie Arnold, who organised the Saga trip for the actors. Debbie is such great fun, and we go back quite a long way.
The first time we met, we had to film a scene where we were both in bed naked, and we were just in complete hysterics the whole time. So, number one, Judy. Number two, Debbie.
Do you get recognised a lot on holiday?
On that trip, once they see me on stage, they think ‘Oh, that's what he looks like!’ and word gets around. But I’m always very flattered if anybody comes and chat to me if I've entertained them. You don’t get to be an actor unless there’s an audience.
I've been on telly quite a bit so people kind of tend to recognise me. It’s funny, at the moment The Thick of It (BBC comedy which began in 2005) has gone on Netflix. For years no one remembers was in that and suddenly I’m now getting recognised for that again.
Are you good at packing for a cruise?
Well, we had two enormous great suitcases, half of which we didn’t use. Smart casual, a dinner jacket and the cold weather gear was all we needed.
But I always overpack every time, thinking this holiday might be the chance to wear something I haven’t worn for 20 years, but I never do. Judy and me pack separately, so it’s always two huge suitcases.
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Did you enjoy the food?
It was lovely. Because of where we were, we had lovely cold fish and smorgasbord on-board, which I enjoyed. But as it’s eat as much as you like, and I don’t know how people manage to do cruises without putting on vast amounts of weight.
Did you miss travel during the pandemic?
We have missed holidays and we’re fully intending have one next year. Apart from ordinary holidays, for eight years I also had this gig writing travel features for The Mail on Sunday.
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What are your 2022 travel plans?
My good friend Angela Piper, who plays Jennifer Aldridge in The Archers, has this lovely villa in Menorca. We stayed there a couple of years ago and my plan is to go back there as the Villa’s got everything – including a lovely big swimming pool.
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