Actress Suzanne Ahmet on the emotional reason why she's still binge-watching Friends

Actress Suzanne Ahmet’s has appeared in TV series as varied as Generation Z, Eastenders and Emmerdale, as well as After the Flood and Casualty, and she has appeared on stage at the Sheffield Crucible, with Northern Broadsides, and the National Theatre.

She is currently on tour with Into the Melting Pot’s The Telling, in which she plays Blanca. Suzanne, 42, is also a Development Artist, working with the RSC, The New Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe.

I’m currently reading

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, which is by Shehan Karunatilaka, and it’s set in Sri Lanka about 40 years ago.

Suzanne AhmetSuzanne Ahmet
Suzanne Ahmet
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The central character, a photographer, is already dead, and he’s trying to solve the mystery of how and why he died. He’s given one week of “afterlife” (the seven moons of the title) and he’s racing against time to retrieve a set of pictures which he took, and to pass them to friends, who will expose the appalling brutalities of the civil war going on in his country. It’s one of those books that I don’t want to end (it won the Booker Prize two years ago) and it’s so rich and beautifully written.

I was a very fortunate child, because my mother was always reading to me, and I was aware of the classics at a very early age. I think that the turning point for me was being taken to the Barbican in London when I was about 13, and the play was The Country Wife – it just galvanised me into think that this was where I wanted to be.

I’ve been listening to

A lot of podcasts, and one of my favourites is Saturn Returns, which is hosted by a woman called Caggie Dunlop, and you’ll find it on Apple.

It’s basically about finding yourself in very trying times, and if I’ve discovered anything, it is that we are all so lucky – be grateful for what you have, all the small things. We’re all in such a rush to get on to the next thing, instead of taking the time to appreciate what’s around us.

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Don’t take things for granted – and, above all, be kind to other people. That would make a heck of a difference, if we were – there’s too much shouting these days, too many angry people.

On TV, I’ve been watching

The Dog House, on Channel 4. It’s all about an animal charity in Cambridgeshire, and they take in hundreds of disowned or neglected dogs ever year. Honestly, hundreds, and the hard times we are having at the moment have a lot to do with it, because there are some people who feel that they just cannot afford to feed a pet these days, let alone insure it. As you can see, I am crazy about dogs.

The show is a bit weepy, of course, but you feel better for it, and the acts of kindness are heart-warming. Then there’s Hollington Drive, with the brilliant Rachel Stirling and Anna Maxwell-Martin – telling you the plot of that would ruin all your later pleasure, trust me.

I love a good drama, Trigger Point, Line of Duty, series like that. And it’s great to see that there are so many more roles for strong women, probably because there are a lot more women writers around today. I like something where detail, truth and intelligence shines through.

The live performance I’d recommend is

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It was first an animated film, from Japan, but now My Neighbour Totoro has been adapted for the stage, and I saw it done by the RSC in London. Playful, inventive and with huge puppets. A real feelgood family show. And I thought that The Motive and the Cue, which looks at the relationship between Sir John Gielgud and Richard Burton, while they were in rehearsals, was absolutely superb. Mind you, if you see that Mark Gattiss is going to be in something, you know that you will be in for a treat!

My next box set will be (or my last boxed set was….)

The final season of Friends, all of it, all the way through. In a binge-watch. There are deeply personal reasons for this choice, and they are to do with my much-missed late father.

The App I couldn’t be without is

Spotify, I just love it. And Google maps, since I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to any sense of direction, and getting from A to B without becoming seriously lost. There ought to be an app which tells you were the very best coffee shops are – I’m a sucker for my cup of coffee. I’m told that there are few good ones in Beverley, so, recommendations, please.

What is right at the top of your “To do” Bucket list?

A little bit of adventure, please – a trip to see the Northern Lights, and exploring and travelling in South America and southern India. As for meeting, well, sadly, she’s no longer with us, but I would loved to have met the artist Dame Paula Rego, who had her own unique style. She favoured pastels over oils, and what she produced was simply sensational.

The Telling. Otley Courthouse, May 25, Ridings Theatre Beverley, May 26

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