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

Former staff writer

Gary Ogden wrote for the print edition of Coach between 2015 and 2016, writing features, interviewing celebrities and covering entertainment. He has also written for ShortList.