We interviewed Tamzin Outhwaite about her involvement with Father's
Day, the dark mini-drama about prostate cancer which also
starred Neil Stuke, Ray Winstone, Charles Dance, John Simm, Cyril
Nri and Stuart Laing.
How did you first get involved with the
Tamzin Outhwaite: I got the call about the film through my
agent. Neil Stuke was the name behind it, so I wanted to do it as
he's a friend. When I heard that Ray Winstone, John Simm and
Charles Dance were on board, I was really excited, I've never
worked with any of them before. It was only after I'd said yes that
I found the film was for Prostate Cancer UK. Neil, Charlie and the
rest had no idea that [my] Dad had had prostate cancer.
Given your close connection to prostate cancer, how did
you feel about your role?
I play the part of a woman whose father has died from prostate
cancer. I didn't find that hard, it was just another character. As
an actor you can't take all the parts you play personally. Of
course, if Dad hadn't been given the all clear, if he was still
having treatment, and the outcome was unclear, that might have been
What made you want to be involved?
Once I knew the film was for Prostate Cancer UK, I really wanted
to get involved because of Dad's experience. It's all about
encouraging men to talk about it. I know he's still here because
someone bothered to speak up, to warn Dad. So his diagnosis was
early. So many men don't know about the risks or the symptoms, when
they hear about prostate cancer, it's too late to do much about
Would you tell us more about your father's
Dad lives on his own and he'd realised he was having to go to
the toilet more, but it wasn't until that stranger in a men's loo
at a charity event suggested he needed to get checked out that he
went to his doctor. I knew he'd been and that he'd had some tests,
but when he asked me to go with him to get the results, I had no
idea what was coming. I'm always a 'glass half full' person, so I
was being very optimistic, trying to keep his spirits up, I knew he
We sat there and the consultant said it's prostate cancer. It
hadn't been mentioned up to then. Of course it was a shock, but he
went on to say it was early stages, it was contained, that surgery
to remove the prostate at this stage had a very high success rate,
he was really positive. It wasn't like 'you've got cancer and
nothing can be done'. Of course we were worried and for Dad it was
really scary, both the cancer diagnosis and the operation. But we
talked about it and the options and he decided to go ahead. He
didn't have to wait long for the op, so there wasn't too much time
to dwell on it.
He told the family straight away, but we were able to say it had
been caught early, it was contained, it was treatable, so it was
all very positive. That meant a lot to us. Like many families we
have had cancer tragedies. My Nan and Grandad both died of lung
cancer, and one of my cousins, Dad's nephew, died when he was just
26. He was young, fit, that was a huge blow to us all, we're a very
After the operation Dad came to stay with me for a bit, just so he
didn't have to cook and so on, as he'd have been on his own at
home. He recovered well and is now clear, but has regular
Has going through that experience with your father
changed the way you think about men's health?
It has changed him, it has changed all of us I think. We
certainly talk about health more. In fact, it was only when Dad was
diagnosed that I found that Tom's [actor Tom Ellis, her husband]
grandfather has prostate cancer, has had it for years. He's in his
nineties and has been treated with hormone injections for ages.
Another example of an early diagnosis being treatable. We're much
more open about things now.
It's hard for men to talk, to open up. They don't like to show
they're vulnerable, that's deep-rooted, I think. But now, if Dad
thinks someone's having symptoms or needs to be informed about the
risks, he'll be the first person to say something. We're still
learning, about the genetic links, for example. My brothers need to
be aware. All men need to be aware.
As for Dad, I think he's now looking healthier and fitter than he
did before the diagnosis. It's taken him time to bounce back, but I
definitely think he's better. I do think that as you get older you
tend to worry more, about everything. Well, now I think he's become
more appreciative about the good things. He's more positive and
he's really mellowed.
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