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Name: Simon Shepherd

Date of Birth : 20 August 1956

Place of Birth: Bristol

Occupation: Actor

Actor Simon Shepherd has an intriguing stamp in his old British passport which says "no handbag". In February 1979 he appeared in a production of Julius Caesar in Hong Kong. On the way home the plane stopped at Delhi. "I thought if I'm going to be in India for three hours I want a stamp, so I hassled to get one, thinking it would say Delhi and the date, and it actually says `no handbag'," explains Shepherd. A 1980 stamp for Portugal reminds him of his honeymoon. He says: "My mum and dad kindly paid for us to stay at a hotel, but it was so posh that we couldn't afford to eat there. So we ate out in local places which we prefer. I don't eat much red meat, my wife only eats fish, so local fish, grilled well with salad, suits us." Four children later, the Shepherds now spend most of their holidays in Brittany, where they have had a cottage since 1990. "It's a fisherman's cottage in Audierne. We've got hot water but that is about it. We've put in a couple of radiators and a washing machine. We have a radio and a telephone, but there's no television. The kids enjoy it, so we go as often as we can." Shepherd, who shot to fame as Dr Will Preston in the TV series Peak Practice, loves the fact that no one recognises him in Audierne. He explains: "They don't get the show in France and few English people go to Audierne because it's a working fishing village with nice beaches but a cold sea. So I don't get hassled, which is wonderful." The most recent stamp is for Los Angeles, and was acquired in April.

For once his wife, the costume designer Alex Byrne, was the centre of attention. Shepherd says: "Alex was nominated for an Oscar for her work on Branagh's Hamlet so we had a fantastic week there. Alex was deservedly well-treated and there was no pressure on me apart from being the supportive partner, which was great"

Rosanna Greenstreet