Mr Flibble Talks To... Parallel Rimmer
It was a time when Lister fell pregnant and the Cat danced to Tongue Tied. It was a time when Rimmer found himself being chatted up by his female self. It was the time, in short, of Arlene Rimmer herself, Suzanne Bertish.
25 May, 2001
Suzanne Bertish
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

How did you become an actress?

It was just what I was good at at school, you know. So I went to drama school, then I did some children's theatre. But, of course, the children always amuse you more that you could ever amuse them. (Laughs) Then I went to a theatre that's quite famous now called the Glasgow Citizen's.

Basically, I was friend with Tim Curry, and Tim was rehearsing the Rocky Horror Show. I used to bump into him in Sloane Square where it started in that tiny, tiny theatre upstairs. He had no idea how it was going to be, and I remember going to a preview and it just being thrilling. But he had been to this theatre, the Glasgow Cit's, and he said, 'Oh, if you get the opportunity, just go. It's great.' They do mainly classical plays, but with a young company. A very classic experience.

I was there for three seasons [and] played amazing parts at a very young age, stuff one was too young for - but it was a good experience. I was asked to audition for Hamlet - Derek Jacobi was playing Hamlet - at the Old Vic, and I got that. That was a year's work. We toured all over England. My best combination of touring dates was Cardiff-Tehran-Wolverhampton. (Laughs)

Then I was asked to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company. They had a new thing starting - Trevor Nunn and Ian McKellan were starting The Small Scale Tour, which was basically taking shows around the corn exchanges and leisure centres with a minimum set but really good production. It still goes on, but this was the very first one.

After that I did Shine on Harvey Moon. After a New York stint with Nicolas Nickleby, I kept going back every two years or so to do a play in America. My mother is American, so I'm technically half-American, half-English. It's another world over there. I did a play of Broadway with Al Pacino - he played King Herod and I played his queen, Herodia, in the Oscar Wilde play Salome. That was fun.