Welcome to Fera Five, a new interview series where we get to ask our favourite people the same five questions. For our inaugural one we have the actor and writer Charlie Cooper.
You will know him from his genius creation This Country, the first show since the Vicar of Dibley to really show the unique comedy of the British countryside and essential viewing at Fera HQ. Since then he has, amongst other work, co-written an episode of Armando Iannucci’s Avenue 5, acted in the comedy series Stath Lets Flats and recently starred in the whodunnit film See How They Run.
We had a quick chat with Charlie to ask him our five questions and quickly realised the man is an aficionado of the great outdoors.
What’s your favourite outdoor activity?
I’m completely obsessed with fishing. My dad used to take me as a kid and I have great memories of that, but the passion for it really took hold in adult life when work got busy and it became a real sanctuary for me. It’s a massive cliche but it’s not even about the fishing and I think most other anglers would agree. It’s everything else, being by water, the wildlife, the scenery.
There’s not many hobbies that allow you just to sit outside in nature for hours on end and immerse yourself in your surroundings. You can easily slip into a meditative state. I always feel enriched and restored after a day on the bank, whether I’ve caught anything or not…the fish are just a bonus!
Which is the best pub in Britain?
The Woolpack, in the village of Slad, Gloucestershire. I only live a few miles away so I’m there a lot! It’s a really atmospheric country pub. It was a regular haunt for the writer Laurie Lee, who was born in the village and wrote the book Cider with Rosie. The pub overlooks the valley where the book is set, so the views are stunning. They do great food and great beer and have an outside toilet which is always a sign of a proper pub.
What’s the one film or book about the great outdoors you would recommend?
The book The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It’s a true story about a couple who fall on hard times, losing their home, so with nowhere to go they sell their belongings, buy a tent from eBay and start walking the 630 miles of the south west coast path of England.
She writes so beautifully about the healing power of nature, and how sometimes just getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other can be the perfect remedy. I’m determined to do the south west coast path one day…just need to find a good pair of walking boots and 3 months to do it.
What’s the most memorable outdoor adventure or experience you’ve had?
I have a friend that I do lots of walking trips with. The most memorable one was a few years ago doing a section of the west highland way in Scotland. We had walked and wild camped for a few days then stumbled across this secluded loch which we pretty much had to ourselves.
So instead of completing the walk we decided to stay by the loch for two nights, which was incredible. We had a couple of travel fishing rods with us so we fished for our supper, catching some pollack and cooking them on a fire. We went a bit feral towards the end…borderline lord of the flies vibes. Scotland is one of my favourite places, the mountains, the wildlife, the sky at night, just unreal.
What would be the perfect Fera collaboration?
A range of Fera camping gear would be pretty darn sweet. What about a little Berghaus collab on a tent?! I can see it now, orange and green, big FERA logo…make it happen!
You can follow Charlie on his Instagram and catch him on the big screen.