‘As an actor you are the last link in a very long chain’

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been many deeds over the 250 years they’ve hidden in a cave. “They’ve mainly been watching the drips that have come down the walls of the cave. They can do a rundown of the best drips of the last 250 years.”

While his character has been sitting about contemplating condensation, however, Kennedy himself has been springing up on screens around the world this year – while still managing to fit a trip to Edinburgh in to celebrate his parents’ diamond wedding anniversary in July.

He was a guest star in Combat Hospital, about field medics in Afghanistan, which is broadcast on ABC Television in the United States. “I play a Scottish mechanical engineer in the army who saves the main guy’s life,” he explains. “It was enormous fun and I absolutely loved it.”

And he also appeared in Red Faction Origins for the SyFy Channel, a series set on Mars in the year 2145. Kennedy plays Corvallis, one of the Marauder tribe. “My costume was three big blankets and a tea cosy. We filmed in Bulgaria - it was the middle of February and about -9C. It’s a little bit of a lottery when you get cast, if it had been somewhere 40C I would have had the worst costume but, as it was, I had the best.”

As a huge fan of American television, Kennedy says he would leap at the chance to do more Stateside. “Definitely. I would love it. I’m a big Americophile and I think they do some of the best television in the world.”

But while a call from a Hollywood studio would be a no-brainer, making a choice between acting and producing would be harder.

“I love acting because it was what I have always done and if someone gave me the choice I probably would want acting. Producing is an awful lot more work and less rewarding, at least financially.

“But after six months being an actor, I have an urge to get under the car bonnet and get involved with the nuts and bolts again. I love being an actor but you are the last link in a very long chain that’s probably been going for years.”

Rather like the Very Old Pretenders then.

n The Very Old Pretenders begins on Radio 4 at 11pm on Thursday, September 15