5 days in the life of ... Alex Kingston

The British star of the medical soap 'ER' reflects on a celebrity's life in LA

MONDAY: I've been here nearly a year now, and we've shot 19 episodes. It all started in 1996, when I came to the States to promote Moll Flanders on television, and suddenly people wanted to know who I was. On the day I was due to fly back to London in early 1997 I heard that the ER writers wanted to meet me; we sat in a room and just talked. By the time I'd got to the airport they had offered me a part. I think they wanted the different point of view that an English character would bring to the show.

Occasionally the scriptwriters come up with something an English person wouldn't say, and we change it. Or I introduce English expressions to the character. I've had Dr Corday using the word "tosser". I'm sure it wouldn't be allowed if they really knew what it meant.

We shoot five days a week. I'd had the weekend off and on Saturday night I was on the ER table at the Screen Actors' Guild Awards dinner. We had Jane Fonda and Ted Turner at the next table, and you look across and there's Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck and Jack Nicholson. This morning I was on set at seven. We shot until about 10.30, and then I had a break until the afternoon. If I have two or three hours to kill I drive home or go to the gym, but my agent was over from England, and I had lunch with her and my publicist. Tonight I baby-sat for the young daughter of my assistant Henry. I'm her godmother.

TUESDAY: A day off. That means not waking up till 8.30, and then I go for an hour's walk. I live in a part of LA called Studio City, the opposite side to Beverly Hills, not the posh side. Where I walk is an area which I'm told Hugh Grant described as "dogshit canyon". Then I went to yoga, had lunch with my agent, and then dealt with my mail. Fan-mail is building up. I get quite a lot from England in which people have enclosed stamped addressed envelopes - which is nice of them but of course the stamps aren't much use here. I'm beginning to be recognised more. In LA people are used to seeing actors and don't react so much. But we go to Chicago four times a year to shoot the exterior scenes, and there they are much more vocal. Tonight I went to see the Coen brothers' new film, The Big Lebowski, which is good.

WEDNESDAY: My birthday. I didn't have any filming until this afternoon, so I had friends round for a breakfast party. Henry produced fat-free muffins. Tonight I was taken out for supper by a close friend - to a restaurant called the Four Oaks. It used to be a brothel in the 1920s. Now it's one of the best restaurants in LA.

THURSDAY: Tonight I was fortunate enough to be invited to the premiere of Primary Colors, with John Travolta and Emma Thompson. I know her socially and we've done one film together - Carrington - so it was nice to catch up with her again. There are more and more Brits out here, but we don't particularly hang out together. I bumped into Helen Baxendale from Friends a while ago. I'd last seen her when we worked together at the Hampstead Theatre. For premieres you get designers offering to dress you for the evening, which is nice. I wore something by Amsale, an Ethiopian designer working in New York. She's not so established yet, but she's wonderful and I like to support her. I give her back the outfits afterwards, because I haven't got the wardrobe space.

FRIDAY: A long day's shooting. Trauma scenes always take longest, because you have real doctors on hand advising you, and they rehearse each actor individually. I think I could probably give somebody an injection now without being too squeamish about it. I really enjoy living here, and have a fear that I might find England claustrophobic. But I miss the daffodils, and imagine the blossom coming out.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

    £40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

    Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

    £22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

    Design Technology Teacher

    £22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

    Foundation Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

    Day In a Page

    Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

    Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

    Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities