Charles Venn joined the show just over a year ago as nurse Jacob Masters. He talks to holby.tv about Jacob’s involvement in the 30th anniversary episode..
Following Connie’s car crashing into the ravine, who is first at the scene?
Jacob, Iain and Jez first come to their aid. Jacob has this frightening feeling, a sense that something is wrong, he starts connecting dots because of an incident that happens prior – and decides to go back to the scene of the wreckage which is when he comes across Connie.
Do you relish the opportunity to play an action hero?
Most definitely. For me as a kid, I was always lively and energetic but I dreamt about being an action man – I actually wanted to be a stunt man when I was younger. I never got to carry that dream out but then acting came along. I always wanted to get involved with action based roles, so am living the dream in many ways!
How will this episode impact Jacob and the rest of the team?
It’s an incident that has an emotional affect for the most part on everyone, the reverberations are still lasting. For Jacob the effects are more emotional rather than physical.
Does Jacob find it hard dealing with the situation that confronts him?
There’s no doubt he has difficulty dealing with that fine line of professionalism and being too emotionally connected but as with everyone when something is that close to home, you naturally and instinctively feel the need to help regardless. You feel the need to defend, help and protect.
Are you pleased with Jacob’s involvement in the episode?
I was extremely excited about the script. There was word around that Jacob was going to be quite involved in this but I didn’t expect to be so heavily involved, truth be speaking because this is the 30th anniversary and Jacob is still a fledgling in the grand scheme of things, having only just started in the show comparative to the others that have been around for so much longer. So when the script came out, I was truly surprised and instantly excited and nervous. I think it hit home even more so when we had the read through. We’d come into the room and everyone was here – I felt lucky to be part of something so special.
There must have been a great atmosphere on Set filming this episode?
It’s palpable in many ways, it’s in the air. Everybody’s spirits are up. It’s encouraging and inspiring in many ways but it’s also a reminder of how big this episode is
But for the most part, it’s just been excitement everyday. We couldn’t wait for the scenes to be shot. The trailer speaks for itself – the effort that has been put in by the cast and crew has been phenomenal. I can only reiterate, it is something special.
Do you get recognised much as Jacob?
When I was on Footballers Wives, the biggest thing I had done at that time, it was my first experience of people noticing me on the street. Years had gone by and then along came Eastenders and because it’s such an institution, I remember going to an event and the reaction and response was constant. I was not left alone the whole time I was there! That’s when I got it.. it was a different level.
What’s been really interesting, as of late I get recognised more so for Casualty. I was recently at a funfair, when a family approached me and the girl, no older than 3 ran up to me, literally with her hands out! Wow , that was surreal but Jacob’s presence is being felt in the show now and the transition has really kicked in!
Do you commute to Cardiff?
I frequent between here and London. As a family, it’s hard but we always remind ourselves that it could be worse. I’m thankful to have been given such a great character to play and am really enjoying it. I would love to continue playing him for a long period of time no doubt.
How have fans reacted to Connie & Jacob’s relationship?
You’ve got to understand for me when I started on this show, I didn’t know how they were going to take me. My character is very much a marmite character, love him or hate him and especially with someone so far up the food chain, Connie Beauchamp, head matriarch, I wasn’t sure if people would feel that. But no they love it, they champion it. When they were separated, people were disappointed by it. We’ve got our tag name ‘Jonnie’ so it’s all really positive!
What’s Amanda like to work with?
When I was first told about Jacob’s relationship with Connie, I thought this was going to be really easy – she’s a beautiful woman!
Amanda is amazing to work with. She’s a wonderful professional, very driven, very determined and she’ll do whatever is necessary to tell the story and put herself through whatever physical or emotional obstacle to make sure the episode is authentic as possible.
For example when we were doing the buried alive episode, where we end up getting trapped in the basement, with sand cascading down on us. I love a challenge but Amanda is the same – she’s like whatever you can do, I can do better! That’s me and Amanda all the way!