The answers given in the following interview solely reflect the opinions of Teresa Gallagher.
She in no way purports to represent HIT Entertainment.
Any opinions expressed in this interview
are hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of HIT Entertainment.
inspired you to become an actress, and where did you gain your earliest
I became inspired by watching other
actors at work while performing in a panto in Colchester as a dancer and
singer. I then asked to be auditioned for the next play and to my delight I got
one of the leading roles. At the time, the repertory theatre system was alive
and well so I travelled around the country in many different theatres learning the
craft of performing on stage.
of your earliest TV roles on screen was presenting on the BBC preschool show, Playdays
– can you share some of your
memories from working on the series?
Sadly I only really recall the stress
of it all! We had little or no rehearsal, had to improvise a lot and try and
enthuse children who didn’t always want to take part. What it taught me
was how hard presenting is
and that I wasn’t really cut out to have a future in TV presenting! It gave me
a huge respect for people who do it well. It’s not as easy as it looks.
of your earliest roles were on stage in plays like The Things We Do For Love and
On Board. Can you tell us more about
your time treading the boards?
As mentioned in answer #1, I was lucky
enough to be working as an actress when regional theatre was vibrant and the
repertory system, of hiring a company of actors to do different roles in
different plays throughout the season, was thriving. Sadly it hardly exists
now. My first stage play was back in 1978/79 and I continued right through to
2002 with many highlights. One was as
part of the original cast of The Things We Do For Love directed by Sir Alan
Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, a wonderful experience
thankfully followed by Baby on Board. It’s a truly wonderful place to work and
to be directed by Alan Ayckbourn was a dream come true.
you’ve done some screen roles, the majority of your work appears to be in voice
acting in radio and animation. Did you
find you enjoyed the creativity and freedom that this style of acting
brought? Have you always had a knack for
voices and accents?
I really fell on my feet when I landed
a years contract to join the BBC Radio
Drama Company several years ago. This gave me an opportunity to be in a new
radio play almost every day
and explore new characters with the voice alone. It was probably one of the
most life changing jobs I’ve had and taught me so much about the world of
‘audio’. I love doing radio drama
and animation even though they have their
different skills. I don’t think I had a
particularly special knack for voices and accents, no more than anyone else,
but I did enjoy mimicking things I’d heard and fooling about as different characters
with my friends as a teenager. Thinking about it, I still do!
ranged from shows aimed at pre-schoolers to radio plays aimed at an adult
audience. Which do you enjoy most and, if possible to choose, which shows have
you considered to be your favourites so far?
The 2 are quite different really. With
the radio drama you’re striving for truth and realism in your performance and
with animation you’re striving for the same truth but usually the performance
is a heightened
reality, a lot more outlandish and extreme than you would normally go for in a
BBC drama. I have recorded so many different drama productions but I do recall
being very excited when the BBC recorded the first proper ‘western’ radio plays
‘Riders of the Purple Sage’ and I played one of the main characters. I had
always loved a good western and fancied myself as a cow girl, so this was
exciting stuff! Animation wise – I can honestly say it’s too hard to choose a
favourite. I’ve been so lucky to be involved in some amazingly good series.
Being cast as Noddy was a pretty special day but there have been many highs
since then too.
2007, your reading of ‘Bleak House’
was named The Times Audio Book of the Year.
How did you feel about receiving this accolade?
Delighted! Recording such a technically
challenging book almost finished me off, so to
have ANYONE take notice of the
work Sean Barratt and I put into it, really pleases me.
addition to playing a range of Thomas’ female friends, you’re also the voice of
another British institution – Noddy. Was
this a character you were fond of as a child?
No, I’d never read any Noddy books or
seen anything of him on TV
familiar were you with Thomas & Friends before joining the voice cast in
2009? Were you aware of it as a TV
Series or did you know of the Rev. Awdry’s books?
I was certainly aware of the series but
had never read or seen any of the Thomas stories before I joined the cast
you have a rough idea of what voices the producers would be looking for in
Thomas & Friends before you auditioned?
No not at all, not until I got into the
studio and they explained what voices they had in mind for each character.
you joined the cast of Thomas & Friends, you were the only female voice
actress – therefore playing all the female roles. Given that you’re
often in this situation
with other shows you work on, I’m guessing you relished the challenge of
creating a range of voices to suit?
Yes, I do enjoy the challenge. I shared
that challenge with the wonderful Jules de Jongh who did all the female engines
for the US versions.
you get much input into how a character will sound in terms of dialect, pitch
or accent? Or is that decided by the
Producer, Ian McCue, or Voice Director, Sharon Miller?
Yes, it’s all discussed between us at
the casting session. Obviously Ian and Sharon have a good idea of how they’d
like each character to sound – after all, they’ve come to know the world of
Thomas extremely well – but we play around with things and between us we arrive
at a voice that should work.
any of the voices you’ve done on Thomas & Friends, or other shows, based on
people you know?
A couple are, yes. But I wouldn’t DREAM
of telling you which ones!
the character of Belle, you play both the American and the British version –
how does it feel playing the same character twice over?
It’s fine. I’m used to doing US versions of some shows.
I was born in the US and had a full on
American accent until I was about
12. I often use a US accent for work in
the US market.
absolutely love your interpretation of Annie & Clarabel in the TV Series
and the way your performance defines the characters, and gives them back a lot
of personality lost down the years – how much input did you have into their
Oh thank you! They are a lot of fun to play
I must say. As I mentioned before – it develops during the casting session how
the characters could sound and it’s up to Ian and his team to decide on which
of my voice ideas can work. If they don’t fit, I don’t get the part.
the new writing team for Thomas in place, there are hints that a lot of the
secondary characters will be getting more screen-time. Considering only Emily
has had more appearances / speaking roles than most, how do you feel knowing
that the other characters you've played so far (Mavis, Belle, Annie and Clarabel,
Rosie) will hopefully be more
actively involved from Series 17 onwards?
Of course it would be great to hear
more from the likes of Mavis and Rosie who we haven’t really heard from in
quite awhile. We’ll have to see if the hints are true !
of all the roles you play on the series, which character or characters would
you cite as being your favourites?
I think Annie and Clarabel might be my
favourites at the moment, but my favourites change all the time. I’d like Rosie
to have more of a look in as she was fun to do, but she doesn’t seem to be
featured much anymore.
you have a favourite Episode or Special among the Thomas stories you’ve been
part of, or from the books or classic television series?
Not really no – they’re all ‘Special’!
you could play any other character from the series, past or present, or indeed,
one which could appear in future, who would it be and how which accent or voice
would you give them? Would you be open
to doing one of the male voices?
I often do young male voices in other
shows so if one came up in the show that I was right for I’d probably get
tested for it and then they’d go from there. I’m really happy with all the
engines I’m voicing right now.
King of the Railway onward, we’ve seen more
female voice actresses joining you on Thomas & Friends – are you relieved
that the female character workload is being shared out?
It’s great to hear more female roles in
the show. It hasn’t made any difference to my workload though.
the years, a lot of people often ask for more lead female characters as a
change to an "all male cast" in animation - such examples being
'Wonder Woman', 'Kim Possible', 'The Powerpuff Girls'. While this may have some
links to showing that girls are as good as the boys, what are your opinions on
It has been very male orientated in the
past but the big’ girl show’s have certainly made their mark more recently. My
favourite is a combination of boys and girls sharing story lines together. Boys
and girls ARE different from one another in several ways and a well written
script can highlight those differences really well within an episode.
2011, you had a voice role with arguably the definitive animation studio of
modern times, Pixar, doing Mater’s Computer in Cars 2. What was it like
working on such a big
Well you can imagine how exciting it
was to work with the incredible John
Lasseter and the Pixar team. I had one session face to face with John
and then another via Skype to the States. I had only a tiny role as Mater’s
onboard computer voice but they treated me as if I was a real team member and
the whole thing was a joy.
top of being a voice-actress, you’re also part of your own band, Arcelia. Can
you tell us more about that, and the
music you play?
Working as part of Arcelia brings me
huge joy. We write all our own songs with guitar, cajon, cello and piano and
perform them in Kent and London, although one day we hope tol go on a UK tour.
We formed in 2012 and it’s been a real adventure so far. I’ll be really cheeky
here and ask a huge favour from everyone reading this – we need to get as many
facebook ‘likes’ as possible in order to get gigs at good venues, so I’d be
everso grateful if you could follow these links! www.facebook.com/arcelia
you ever been approached by the Producers to collaborate with Robert Hartshorne
on a Thomas song for the series or a special?
No, the producers aren’t really aware
of my music and it isn’t really suitable for any Thomas eps. Nice idea though!
you have a favourite character role from your career, be it TV, radio or stage?
That really is a hard one as I’ve been
lucky enough to play a huge range of parts in theatre, radio & animation.
Ones that still stick out for me though are – Audrey in ‘Little Shop of
Horrors’, Nora in ‘A Dolls House’ , Anna in’ Anna Karenina’
you say that your involvement with Thomas and Friends has had a positive impact
upon your career as an actor?
Without doubt. Being in such a hugely
popular show brings interest from other producers and it feels great to list
it as a show I’m
currently working on.
was recently announced that you were cast in the new CGI reboot of Gerry
Anderson classic, Thunderbirds – can you tell us more about the role you’re
going to be playing?
Yes, so exciting! I’m voicing many
different roles throughout the series. Some just incidental, others are the
main guest characters within an episode. It’s looking absolutely amazing but
we’ve all got a long wait until 2015 when it comes out!
you working on any other projects at the moment, or in the future?
I’m very lucky to be able to tell you
that I’m very busy in animation right now, with several new projects that I’m
not allowed to talk about yet, as well as follow on series of established shows
such as The Octonauts and Poppy Cat. A
new project I CAN tell you about is Pip Ahoy! with Sir David Jason. I play a
sweet young dog called Pip and it’s
being made by the wonderful Cosgrove
Films company who I last worked with on Engie Benjy and it’s a lot of fun to
you give any advice to anyone who may be interested in following in your
footsteps as a voice actor?
I think it’s better to come from it
from an acting background but it’s not compulsory. Try and get in to an
accredited drama school if you can. Otherwise, experiment with different
voices, listen to/watch all kinds of different shows, listen to actors showreels
online and hear the versatility necessary. Get a proper showreel done and find
out where to send it to try and get a test for a job.
do you have anything you’d like to say to the fans of the series who enjoy your
I’d like to send huge thanks for all
the support you show all of us who are lucky enough to work on the show. It
really does mean a lot when you get feedback from people who watch and enjoy a
show that you’re involved in and the Thomas fans are among the best! J