The Rebel Interviews: Amit Shah

An interview with Amit Shah, who is Jeremy in The Rebel.

Amit Shah as Jeremy

What made you want to be involved in The Rebel?

When I found out that Simon, Bill, and Anita and Anna were involved, I was very keen to be in it. They'd got this fantastic cast together. Also the idea for the whole series is great. It's very fresh and edgy. This show is so funny, colourful and exciting. I'm thrilled to be part of it.

How would you describe your character?

Jeremy is married to Cath and is Henry's son-in-law. He's a lovely, nice guy who doesn't like conflict. A lot of the time, he is caught in the middle of arguments between Cath and Henry. But he likes Henry, and he soon becomes his own version of the Rebel - even if it's a milder version! His wife always chooses Jeremy's clothes, but one day Henry persuades him to choose his own shoes. That's a turning point for Jeremy.

What happens to Jeremy over the course of the series?

He gets more involved with Henry. By the end, we see Jeremy as a full-blown Mod, complete with haircut and Lambretta. He goes on a journey and turns into a rebel himself.

Why is Henry such an attractive figure?

The lovely thing about Henry is that he is a reimagined version of what an older person is in the 21st century. He is very different from, say, the characters in Last of the Summer Wine. That's very refreshing. Henry is ballsy and out there. He'll say what he thinks and use bad language. He is in your face and what you see is what you get. I think viewers will really like Henry's honesty.

Do you know people like Henry?

He's been exaggerated for the purposes of the show, but I certainly know plenty of eccentric actors who are like him - they shall remain nameless, though! My mum and dad have a health food store in a small town, and a lot of their customers are quite eccentric like Henry, too.

Have you enjoyed working with Simon?

Absolutely! It's been great. I've been a huge fan of his since Four Weddings and a Funeral. He's very normal guy. He's a lovely actor who is always very encouraging and warm. He communicates with you in a very down-to-earth way. He has no airs and graces. And he's a real laugh. When you work with someone so experienced and he doesn't take himself too seriously it's brilliant. It creates a lovely working environment.

Do you think this series can help audiences re-evaluate their opinion of older people?

Yes. Older people are not as old-fashioned as one might think. They're not stupid and they're very aware of what's going on. I know many older people were very much in touch with technology. We should not in any way treat them as people who are dull or out of touch.

When you were younger, did you rebel at all?

Not really. I'm afraid I was quite strait-laced and didn't get into trouble!

What angers you most about modern society?

People who are just rude. Of course people have bad days, but there's no excuse for being rude. Sometimes I've had to deal with that working in my parents' shop. I know people are so busy now and so wrapped up in making money and are always rushing here, there and everywhere. So as a default, many people tend to be rude. But there is really no need for that.

What was the most difficult scene for you to film in The Rebel?

I had to do a naked scene. It was not scripted - it came out of rehearsals. We said, "In this scene, maybe Jeremy is sitting there butt naked painting in front of a canvas." It was technically quite difficult to shoot. My private parts had to be covered at all times by various strategically placed pots of paint! It was quite a challenge to film, I can tell you!