My first job was…

working in a corner dairy when lollies were a quarter or a half cent and cigarettes had just gone up to $1.89.

It taught me… that once a month, unsold magazines had their covers ripped off and returned for a refund, while their inners were thrown in the skip out the back. To my 15-year-old self's utter joy, this included the "top shelf" titles as well.

My big break came… in my ulna at intermediate, when a girl I foolishly loved pushed me from the top of the three-storey climbing fort.


The last job I quit was… Shortland Street in 1996. But they got the last laugh. Eleven years later, I went crawling back with a teenage daughter and a drug problem.

The most famous person I've ever met is… Queen Elizabeth II. Dame Cath introduced me at Government House. I wasn't that keen at first but then, there she was and it was remarkable. She has a laser beam focus that makes you feel so important and so very interesting and then, just as quickly, she rocks back a step, the eyes unlock from you and life is a cold and empty garden party.

The best time I've had on set was… the whole time between arriving on set and heading home. It really is one of my favourite places to be. A crew becomes family and you are (generally) being paid to play and do the thing you love.

But the worst was… lying in a grave having boxes and boxes of live cockroaches poured over me. They were organically grown and scrupulously hygienic... but when hundreds of them are skittering up your nose or in your ears and mouth, who gives a f***!

My dream role... a telepathic, mute, paraplegic detective in the 1920s. I have an assistant who translates my telepathy so no lines to learn. I'm sitting down comfortably the whole time and my period bath chair has a very high back so for all the reverse shots of the other actors, you can't see me at all, so I can just leave them to it and go to the pub.

Craig Parker stars in Charmed, airing on SKY 5 from tomorrow.