When actor Ray Gardner takes off his
make-up after playing fictitious characters,
he usually participates in real-life drama
as one of 17,000 volunteers with
Now Ray, a Walton-on-Thames Mason,
has played a key part in an award-winning
Samaritans work-life CD-Rom, an interactive
learning resource to help busy
managers tackle the causes of stress in
Ray plays the role of stressed-out Brian
in the fictitious scenario played out on the
CD-Rom. Luckily, Ray has not found
himself in such a stressful situation in real
life, but he did empathise with the character.
This fictitious scenario was commissioned
by the Samaritans to highlight stress in the
workplace in the CD-Rom which went
on to win the IVCA (International Video
Communications Association) Gold
Award, the equivalent to a BAFTA in
the corporate world.
Ray said: “I know of people, friends and
family, exactly like Brian, who have high
powered jobs and find themselves in very
stressful situations, both emotionally and
mentally and yet have no one that they
feel they can talk to in confidence – enter
“They are recognised as the fourth
emergency service, open 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. However, unlike the
other emergency services, the Samaritans
is run purely by volunteers.”
In the CD-Rom, Brian is a married man
with two children. He has a demanding and
stressful job as sales director to a successful
team in a large corporation.
Until recently, he had a very good
relationship with his team, but this is now
rapidly deteriorating due to an affair Brian
is having with a female member of his team.
His colleagues are split between loyalty
to their boss and the fact that the ‘lady’
concerned seems to be getting ‘preferential
treatment’ at work.
So, who does Brian turn to for advice?
A registered charity, the organisation
was formed in 1953 and offers 24-hour
confidential emotional support to anyone in
emotional distress. The Samaritans aim to
make emotional health a mainstream issue.
Their vision is for a society where fewer
people commit suicide because they are able
to share feelings of emotional stress openly
without fear of being judged. Samaritans
believe that offering people the opportunity
to be listened to in confidence, and accepted
without prejudice, can alleviate despair and
Although Ray is obviously pleased to
receive a Gold Award for his acting skills,
he is equally proud that it was for such a
worthwhile organisation as the Samaritans,
whom he supports both as an individual
and as a Freemason.
Ray’s acting career began in 1979. He
trained at LAMDA (London Academy
of Music and Dramatic Art), winning the
award for Best Actor. An extensive theatre
career followed, including London West
End roles in such shows as Arcadia, West Side
Story and Billy Budd. Rep theatre work has
included roles in Lucky Sods, Oklahoma!,
Up’n’Under and Barefoot in the Park.
He has also had TV work in programmes
such as Eastenders, Our Mutual Friend,
Doctors, Bugs, Chernobyl and more. Ray
won ‘The ITV Best Actor in a Commercial’
award for portraying a patriotic Englishman
in the Blackcurrant Tango commercial,
described as the ‘ad of the century’.
Ray’s voice has also been heard on
countless radio commercials, including
the official voice of Mastercard during the
European Cup 2004. He has also worked
in radio, acting in plays for the BBC, and
has narrated various documentaries and
Ray is also a successful playwright,
recently winning the Edinburgh Fringe
Report ‘Best Play’ award, at the Edinburgh
Festival, for his play Mrs. Lemon’s Lodger.
Currently, Ray is spearheading a
campaign in New York City for an area of
Greenwich Village to be officially known
as ‘Little Britain’ (not the comedy show!).
For further information visit:
To find out more about the actor,
Ray Gardner, visit his website on
Web site created by Mark Griffin