OCCUPATION: University academic and animator
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: In a relationship
PLAYING AS: Himself
IN A NUTSHELL: Tim will be playing The Circle as himself. He describes himself as a cross between “Santa and Mrs Doubtfire”. Tim has lived a colourful life: he was a monk, until being kicked out of the monastery when he was offered a place at Oxford University; he was a theatre designer and director; and he was a teacher in Greece, while taking on a second job herding 100 goats. He was selected to run for parliament as a UKIP candidate in the 2015 election until resigning when the party became embroiled in a racism row. He says his reason for joining UKIP was to expose them, and he voted Remain in the EU referendum.
MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE: As an accomplished academic Tim wants to enter The Circle and be educated on youth culture. He is inspired by young people and wants to learn from them. Although he is active on social media he doesn’t really know how to navigate it. He is hoping The Circle will change this.
STRATEGY: Tim really wants to get involved in the game; he wants to be the player everyone comes to confide in and asks for advice. Tim’s profile will be pictures of him in his colourful blazers and dickie bows ties, but he suspects that with his unusual life story and idiosyncratic dress sense the other players might think that he is a catfish.
What do you do?
On the one hand, I'm a professor at a university in Moscow. My subject is Theology and Philosophy. On the other hand, I'm an animator and artist. I also had a bit of a political career as well.
What made you sign up for The Circle?
It identifies something very serious, which is that we can't be sure of who we're talking to, or who we're dealing with on the internet. The internet is a monumentally deceptive organ. Here is a show which is using entertainment to emphasise that point. I am very proud to be to be part of a show that makes that clear because I think a lot of younger people think that what they see and what they hear on the internet must be true. You just have to expose the fact that deceit is all around us.
What's your strategy for winning?
To be myself because I don't think that's very believable. I have a ridiculously elaborate and ill-focused past - at one point I was a goat herder. How on earth do you structure that? I sound like Julie Andrews on speed. It's absurd. I think I will be viewed as a catfish and that's great.
How long were you a goatherd?
Just over a year in Greece. I looked after 100 goats.
How easy do you think it will be to win people over with just pictures and words?
I know how to use words, but I'm used to communicating face-to-face and I'm very used to looking into people's eyes and seeing whether or not points I'm making make any sense. God knows if I can be popular. There are two audiences. There is the audience at home and then the audience that never see you - the other contestants in The Circle. You are playing two games at the same time. That's very exciting. I don't know if it's winnable.
How do you decide what pictures you're going to use?
I'm not really a great social media person so I don't have a lot of pictures of myself. I was really quite shocked by how few pictures I do have. I used to be a monk, and monks don't do selfies!
Do you use any social media normally?
I use YouTube, I have a good Youtube presence. I have Facebook but I don't really update it day to day, and write ‘At the moment I'm eating pasta’. I believe I’ve got an Instagram account but I've never used it. I know I got the Twitter account because I had it for politics.
Are you in a relationship?
I’ve been with my partner for about 19 years.
What does he think about you being on the show?
He said I should go on the show because it will be the one time in his life where he can switch me off.
Have you ever had a bad experience on social media?
Not being able to use it or understanding it is a bad experience! When I was doing my political stuff, I know I was trending! So I've been trending on social media which is an achievement for someone who doesn’t know how to use it.
Have you ever been catfished?
I have absolutely no idea! If I have, I would have played along with it. I have been a teacher for so many years. I think I can smell a porky quite a long way away. Deceit is such an interesting concept and I would much prefer to see how it develops.
Is there anything that really annoys you about social media?
I hate the bleeping of WhatsApp!
Were you popular at school?
Well, I've been thinking about that because we just had a school reunion and I didn't go to it.
How far will you go to win?
I'm a boy so of course I'm driven by testosterone, but kindness is more important than brutality. I prize kindness above everything.
What would you do with the prize money?
I have absolutely no idea. My partner has got a very good plan. He's looking at houses. If I were to win the money it would be out of my hands very quickly!