Today she’s a star of the TV series Stargate SG-1, but she hails from Rochford in South Essex.
Simon Baldock met Amanda Tapping.
Amanda Tapping was born in Rochford and raised in Toronto with her three brothers. She left England when she was three and now lives in Vancouver where Stargate SG-1 is filmed.
Transcript of the the interview
I was born in Rochford General Hospital because I’m a twin. So we actually were living in Benfleet but the Benfleet hospital couldn’t accommodate twins so we went to Rochford, that’s where we were born and we were living in Benfleet, near Tarpots Corner, yes South Benfleet and it was a new estate so there were no roads, so it was all mud. So my Mum had to wash the pram down every time she wanted to bring it into the house, that’s one of her fondest memories
But yeah, the last time I went back to England, I went to Essex. My step father has family who are living in Benfleet so I was able to see the house I lived in and get a tour around the area but it was fantastic. Not that I remember much of it, but.
No, I’m sure you don’t, but, your parents were born in Essex, were they?
No, my mum is from Finchley and my dad was South East London.
Right, so how did they end up in Essex?
I don’t know, actually. My twin and I were the third and fourth kids of four kids and this new estate went in, and we were able to get into there, and I guess that’s why we moved there.
You were three and you ended up going to Canada.
Went to Canada, yeah. My Mum, all her family had moved to Canada, her parents and her two sisters and, I think, with four kids I think she wanted a little bit more of a support system. Her parents were like, “Oh, you have to come to Canada, you’ll love it, you’ll love it.” My grandparents immigrated when they were in their sixties. My grandfather was sixty five when he came to Canada, and he was a good English man. In the RAF, and was just English through and through and at sixty five he said “I want to try something else. So he packed up and moved to Canada, and I think that following them is why we ended up here.
And what was it like when you went back to Essex and saw the house you grew up in?
It was weird, I feel such a strong connection to England, and so whenever I go there I feel very much a sense of home. And, it’s not that I have huge memories of living there, or British through and through, I really feel like that’s my home. So it was kind of bitter sweet, because I was like, “Oh I kind of want to stay here now.”
Do you think having grown up in Canada you’ve had more options in your career?
It’s hard to say actually. That’s a hard question to answer because I think if I had lived in England I probably would have done the same thing. There’s some amazing schools to study at in England and the school that I chose to study at in Canada very much followed the classic British theater school philosophy. Which is why I chose to go there but had I been in England I probably would have studied there and probably would have done stage and with any luck would have ended up on Vicar of Dibley or something like that.
And do you harbour ambitions to appear on the British stage at some time?
Yes, but I don’t want to be one of those, you know, television actors who says:“Once I finish my series I’m going to go and wow them on the British stage.” But I would definitely love to.
And what about, you know your career has been so successful, and I don’t want to say culminates with Stargate but I suppose is what your best known for.
It’s been a long haul. When I graduated theatre school I struggled a lot and got an agent and started doing commercials, which is something I vowed I would never do, and from there slowly built up and got small parts on television series and movies and then bigger parts and then bigger parts and so Stargate was, sort of, the next natural progression to get a series. It seemed to make sense and I was ready for it when it happened.
And it really has taken off hasn’t it?
Oh my gosh. I mean were about to go back and start our seventh season and were all stymied by it. We were like, “what? Seven years? Oh my god.” A. Where did the time go? And B. wow we’re lucky.
Is it a team, a family atmosphere?
Yeah, it really is. As crazy as it sounds, and people are always trying to find the cracks in the Stargate armour, but we really are an incredible family. We genuinely like each other, love each other. I mean, I spend a lot of time socialising with my cast mates, just the other day we were all at Christopher Judge’s house for the Super Bowl. We get together like that all the time.
What did you think of Shania Twain’s bra? Is that something you wear?
Yeah, good old Canadian girl.
For anyone who didn’t see it, it was diamond encrusted I believe.
I bet it scratched a bit
You know, it is so funny that you should say that, because there was a bunch of women in the room and we all just went, “that just looks so uncomfortable. What’s on the inside of that thing? It looks like it’s hurting her.” That’s very funny.
Prized security guard looking after it. Do you like sort of fantasy, because you’ve appeared in quite a few science-fiction programs?
It’s so funny because I didn’t think that, you know when I was starting out in my career, I wasn’t a massive fan of the genre and now I am.
And do you enjoy getting dressed up in fatigues and that sort of thing and shooting guns?
I have to be honest with you, after six years, not so much. I pine for a nice frock. And my accessory being a nice necklace rather than a P-90, but you know.
And a bit of romance, you need a bit of romance.
You know, someone who doesn’t die would be nice. I think their addressing that this year because I joked with the writers. I said, “I’m the black widow of the show. First of all, every guy that comes on the show does not have to fall in love with Sam Carter and secondly, if they do could they please not die but we’ll have to see what happens with that.
Yeah, you do have the kiss of death a bit
I do. It’s hurting me!
All right, and finally, what about the future? What does the future hold for you?
Good question. Right now I am shadowing one of our directors, Martin Wood. He’s directing an episode of Jeremiah and I will be directing an episode of Stargate this year. So I’ve spent that last couple of weeks shadowing him, going through prep and now were shooting and I’ll go into editing with him and that’s something I want to get more involved in. So, directing definitely. And once Stargate ends, which is, you know, in October when we finish shooting our seventh season, I don’t know.
Will there be an eighth?
You know, never say never. We said six was it. I think that this will be it but there’s talk of doing a movie and then they would like to continue into a spin-off and that for the powers that be is the best case scenario
Source: BBC Radio Essex