The grass was as emerald green as I remembered, the houses were as picturesque, the vistas were as beautiful and in the air hung the sweet smell of apple blossom. It was as if time had been kept in a box and that box had only been reopened as I, once again stepped onto its soil.
I closed my eyes and imagined myself in a floating white cotton dress with a crinoline underskirt, the biggest puffed sleeves and a matching parasol, sauntering around the island, meeting friends for a glass of currant wine or enjoying high tea with a gentleman... when suddenly 'whoosh' I was nearly knocked off my feet by two boys on skateboards. Luckily I was wearing rubber soled trainers I thought, prompting me to take stock of my choice of outfit, jeans and a striped T-shirt, not exactly the romantic vision I had had for today, I sighed, things do change, I suppose... Time does move on.
I wandered on, still I thought with a smile, however much things had changed a great deal has stayed the same; the road - although now covered in tarmac - was still tree-lined and flanked on either side by enchanting, white-washed wooden houses, with swing seats and painted gables. That bridge in front of me... That bridge could have just leapt out of a Claude Monet painting and that man leaning on the bridge... Well he could have, quite literally just walked out of a romantic storybook, for goodness sake that man could have just walked out of the romantic storybook, that man could have walked out of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 'Anne of Green Gables'... That man could have... I stepped a little closer... That man actually really could be... I was only a few feet away from the bridge now... Oh my, that man was the image of Gilbert Blythe, the man who stole Anne Shirley's heart... Another step... I was at the foot of the bridge now and I could see the man quite clearly and oh my goodness it was... It really was! It was Jonathan Crombie, it was Gilbert Blythe!
What is it like to be so associated with a fictional character that you are even referred to as Gill? Did you find the transition to other jobs easy? Or where you judged on your performance in Anne of Green Gables? "I think at first the Gilbert connection was strong, but I made sure to quickly take on roles that were different, and it’s never really been a problem, particularly in theatre. "
Your portrayal of Gill has left such an indelible mark on fans of both the book and series, do you get people believing that you are actually Gill?
So... how authentic was the whole experience? (apart from the film crew!)
"All the components were incredibly authentic and very true to the period and story."
So how did you get into character? Did you read the books to create you're Gilbert?
Were there any goofs? (It’s not exactly the kind of series to have a blooper reel!)
I sneezed, the air was full of pollen... Hmm I wonder...
Did anyone have Hay-fever during filming?!
And yo dou still see Megan Follows?
So do people stare when they see you?
"Don’t remember too many stares, but some of her were teasing us as we left."
This did make me smile, I imagine I would probably burst into tears if I saw them together...
I know Megan follows beat of 3 thousand girls to get Anne, how did your audition process go?
Now you’ve had a lot of very different roles since doing Anne (Excuse the pun), but what is your favourite?
So, you created the perfect Gilbert but if you could play any other fictional character, who would it be?
"The list is pretty long—there’s so many wonderful characters that I would love to do. Yepihodov from ‘The Cherry Orchard’ has always been a particular favourite (but I’m perhaps a little too old now)."
I smiled at Jonathan, he had been so kind as I gushed over his stories, I could have stood chatting all day, but I knew I'd taken so much of his time, plus checking my watch my ferry was leaving soon and I had to be on it, so I had to just say one more thing, I said 'and lastly, thank you for giving me, my friends and now my daughter hours of enjoyment!' to which he replied kindly...