Mediterranean actress Daphne Alexander joins the cast of CASUALTY next week as new nurse Nadia Talianos.
Nadia is the daughter of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant who craves male attention, and would much rather be perfecting her nails and hair than emptying bed-pans.
Kindly Daphne talked to holby.tv about her new role…
CASUALTY is your first major TV role, are you excited about joining the cast?
I am incredibly excited about joining an institution such as CASUALTY. I love the show and I can hardly believe I’m going to be on it soon.
How did you get the role? Where were you when you found out and how did you celebrate?
My agent arranged a meeting with the casting directors at the BBC, and I was told I had to be as princess-like as possible… One meeting turned into five consecutive recalls, one of which was a full-day screen test in Bristol with the cast.. You can imagine how nerve-racking that was! I was in my flat in London when I found out I’d got the part, and I immediately went to the airport and flew to Cyprus to spend some time with my family.
Were you nervous about joining the show and established actors? What was your first day on set like?
It was really surreal, but they were all so lovely and encouraging, it started to feel like home very soon afterwards. My first day on set I was taken out shopping to buy clothes for my character, and had a hair-cut and a manicure. I couldn’t believe my luck!
What can you tell us about your character Nadia? Are you anything like her?
I don’t think I’m like my character Nadia but I know where she’s coming from and I don’t dislike her. She has a very strong security mechanism which is why she can be mean, and spoilt. Deep down, though, she just wants to be loved, and to find some meaning in her life. I do admire some of her traits, such as her ability to see things and call them by their right names and not care about other people’s reactions. I’m much more careful, and don’t say what I’m thinking as much as I’d like to.
Did you have to do any research for your part?
As soon as I got the part I arranged to go to a clinic and asked permission to follow the nurses around for a week, observing what their lives were like. I really loved it, and was really into it by the end. It was upsetting at times, and I realised that being a nurse requires enormous strength of character, and such kindness and generosity. I do hope Nadia reaches such a level eventually, although I’m pretty sure it’s going to take her some time!
Did you use to watch CASUALTY before joining the show?
I used to watch it occasionally, and I certainly watched the Cambodia episodes which I thought were fantastic. As I didn’t grow up in the UK I didn’t use to watch it as a kid, but I’m making up for lost time now!
Have you ever had any real life accidents?
When I was six, I was at school rocking backwards and forwards on my chair, and all of a sudden I fell and bit my tongue.. The amount of blood I saw was incredible, I really panicked, and so did my mum, who drove me to hospital in a state. I got some stitches and have never rocked on a chair since!
Are you squeamish? Would you be a good person in an emergency?
I’m not that squeamish, but can’t say for sure whether I’d be good in an emergency. It remains to be seen I guess.. I suspect I might not be all that great!
Where did you train? Are your family supportive of your career?
I trained at LAMDA after doing a law degree at Oxford. My family are all lawyers, so they were pretty surprised when I announced I wasn’t going to practise law and was going to be an actress instead; but they have since then been incredibly supportive of my decision.
Where were you born/ brought up? Do you like working in Bristol?
I was born and brought up in Cyprus, and Greek is my mother tongue. I also speak fluent French, as I lived in Paris for a while. I’ve been living in London for the last 3 years. I had never been to Bristol before this, and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. I especially like the Clifton and Montpelier areas, not to mention Harbourside. It must be great in the summer.
Which actors/ actresses do you admire?
My favourite actresses are Meryl Streep and Vivien Leigh. I have watched Gone with the Wind obsessively since I was a kid. I also really like Rachel Weicz, Natalie Portman and Kate Winslet. As for men, I think Leonardo di Caprio is incredibly talented. And I adore – of-course! – Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro.