23 JANUARY 2008

He's become a household name in America thanks to his portrayal of grumpy medical genius Doctor Gregory House, and it seems Hugh Laurie hadn't quite shaken off his character's world-weary air as he returned to British shores recently. The 48-year-old funnyman was set faced and distracted as photographers snapped him strolling on Hampstead Heath near his North London home with wife Jo Green and the family's chocolate Labrador.

The writers' strike in Hollywood means Hugh has been enjoying a break from filming hit series House in LA where he often cuts a lonely figure.

The father of three has often complained he sees too little of his family, but has so far resisted moving them to LA as he doesn't want to interrupt the youngsters' schooling. Instead they communicate for the most part by digital webcam. "Now they're teenagers and they've got their own life and it's tough to drag them out," he's explained.

For the last three years Hugh has worked 12- to 14-hour days on set for nine months of the year, jumping on a plane whenever he can to visit Jo, his wife of 18 years, and their three kids, Charlie, Bill and Rebecca.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The actor shares a rare stroll in the English countryside with Jo, his wife of 18 years, who continues to live in the UK with the couple's three children while her husband is based in LAPhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 48-year-old TV star was no doubt enjoying the break from his relentless filming schedule for House in LA Photo: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Sharing time with his theatre administrator wife is a rare treat for Hugh, who for the last three years has worked 12- to 14-hour days, nine months of the year, on the hit US TV series Photo: © Rex
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