It's a Monday night and instead of unwinding on the couch like I normally do, I am prepping for an interview with William Shatner, who is scheduled to call from Los Angeles.
Although his legacy as Captain James T Kirk in the "Star Trek" franchise remains as forceful as ever, he also made an indelible impression in "TJ Hooker", "The Practice" and "Boston Legal" and as a host of "Rescue 911".
That’s not taking into account his big-screen credits as well as other accolades over his five-decade-long career in Hollywood.
The phone rings and a familiar voice on the end says: “I’m delighted to talk to you about the show that is going to appear in your country. And I admire your country, I’ve been there several times. The last time was several months ago, in Johannesburg. I was there for Comic Con Africa and then I went on a safari for four days afterwards. I went to Sun City, it was wonderful and enlightening.”
Shatner couldn’t stop marvelling over how much growth he’d seen in the country.
We then get down to the reason for the chat – "The UnXplained" on History channel.
The series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
On being the host as well as executive producer, he says: “I worked with A&E Network quite a bit. They’ve become great acquaintances of mine. And when this came up, they called me to see if I would be interested. And, like you, I found the material really intriguing.
“There are mysteries as large as the universe and as small as the brain all around us that have no explaining. But we know an explanation exists by our science.”
He proudly adds that the network ordered another 20 episodes after the first eight.
Reflecting on the roles that earned him critical acclaim, the inimitable actor says: “I’ve been an actor since I was a very young boy. I did what I was capable of doing at every phase of my growth as an artist. I feel I’ve gotten better as the years have gone by.
“So many times, I say about something in the past: ‘I wish I knew then what I know now.’ But I continue to say it to this day so that everything that I do I’m not quite happy with because I can do it better a day later, let alone a year or a decade later. All I can tell you, I bring the next phase of me to everything I do and, hopefully, I’ve grown enough to offer a new way of doing things.”
As for what else keeps this octogenarian busy, he beams: “I just finished a blues album. We are working on the arrangements now. I’m on a Star Trek tour. I’m close to selling two shows and I’m busy editing a film, a documentary, I shot two years ago.
“I’m working on a couple of commercials and I just finished doing the voice-over in an animated film. I’m busy, very busy.”
In the meantime, fans can catch him boldly going where few have gone before in "The UnXplained".
"The UnXplained" airs on History (DStv channel 186) from Friday, January 17, at 9.10pm.