Shannen Doherty is now 43, but she’s arguably still best known for playing teenager Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills, 90210. As the drama is re-shown in its entirety on CBS Drama, she chats about how she got her role, the pressures of fame and what she’s up to at the moment
DOES IT FEEL LIKE IT’S ALMOST 25 YEARS SINCE BEVERLY HILLS 90210 STARTED?
No, I can’t believe it, and it makes me feel very old!
HOW DID YOU GET THE ROLE?
I auditioned a couple of times. To be honest, I thought I blew it, I was very nervous. They had a reading with different guys and with Jason Priestley, and they’d also flown in a girl from New York to audition for the part. Traditionally in those days, if they were flying someone out, they were the first choice, so I thought, ‘she’s going to get it’, slumped my shoulders and walked away. But the casting director came after me and asked where I was going. I said, ‘I know I didn’t get it, so I’m just going home’, and he was like, ‘Oh no, you’re staying, you got it’.
WHAT KIND OF REACTION DID YOU GET FROM BRITISH FANS?
British fans in general are die-hard fans, they’re just incredibly supportive. It didn’t matter that there was an accent, it just mattered that everybody felt there was something relatable.
DO YOU EVER REGRET LEAVING THE SHOW?
In some ways I do, in others I don’t. The parts I got to play afterwards were a challenge, like Margaret Mitchell, the woman who wrote Gone with the Wind. I got to work with Kevin Smith, which turned into a really long-lasting relationship - we did a little show together not so long ago and we’re talking about doing a movie in October.
YOU’VE BEEN ACTING SINCE YOU WERE VERY YOUNG?
I did everything that my brother did because he was older and I looked up to him - he was kind of my hero. So if he wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be an actor; if he wanted to play football, I wanted to play football - it was one of those situations.
WHAT IS THE PROJECT YOU’RE WORKING ON?
It’s a travel show. I definitely don’t want to confuse it with a reality show. Myself and Holly Marie Combs, who was in Charmed with me, travel six dates per season, and show all the amazing things off the map that you wouldn’t normally do. It’s going to be great.
HAVE YOU GOT ANYTHING ELSE COMING UP?
I have the movie with Kevin. I’m in the middle of developing shows for television. More important than acting is that I sit on the advisory board for Sea Shepherd. I’m going to the Faroe Islands, and then to Taiji in Japan to see dolphins in captivity. For me right now, that’s probably the most exciting stuff because I’m passionate about it.
lBeverly Hills 90210, weeknights at 9pm on CBS Drama