Elyes Gabel joined CASUALTY in October 2004 as SHO Guppy Sandhu. Since then he has been involved in a number of strong storylines including racism and the death of his father, which saw him nominated for Best Newcomer at last year’s National TV Awards. Next series sees Guppy also involved in the Cambodia special episode. Elyes, who is currently in training for Action 100 Bike Ride from Bristol to London, took time out his hectic schedule to talk to holby.tv…
You’ve been in CASUALTY for a while now, are you enjoying working on the programme?
I’ve been on the show for around two years now, and, yeah it’s been an enjoyable experience; especially when you’ve got quite a bit to do.
You’ve been involved in some great storylines already, what have been your favourites to film so far?
The stuff with Guppy and his father suffering from a brain tumour was refreshing however slightly depressing. Because it was seperate from the normal structure of my character’s storylines, it felt like a refreshing change; as well as the racism storyline. Also the opening two-parter for the new series was a change. However I’ve also had some really nice storylines with guest actors, you can sometimes work up some nice relationships in a short space of time.
Fans have enjoyed watching Guppy’s development and seeing his confidence grow. It must be great to play such a complex character? Are you anything like him, personality wise?
I wouldn’t say that, no. There are similarities in terms of the emotions that you draw upon from your own life, but that’s about it. Guppy’s got a lot of layers to him and that’s why he might not be very likeable at first; because he’s not a quick fix form of entertainment character. I’m glad that a lot of viewers have invested time in him – I think there’s a hell of a lot to him.
One Guppy storyline involved him being attacked by racists. Is racism something you’ve ever had to contend with?
Everyone contends with some sort of prejudice – we ain’t all the same, but it’s how you understand why people behave the way they do that makes you better for it. Racism is one of the things that really sends me off on one having said that.
You had a lot of heavy scenes earlier this year involving Guppy’s Dad dying. How do you build yourself up for emotional scenes?
That’s be telling wouldn’t it! Memory’s imagination – alot of things really.
Guppy hasn’t had much luck with the ladies yet, is there anyone you’d like to see Guppy pair up?
I’m not that bothered for his take about love and ladies – it could show another dimension to him, but also so easily narrow his scope.
Do you find it hard learning the medical terms on CASUALTY?
Last year you were shortlisted for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the National Television Awards, how did you feel about being nominated and did you enjoy the night?
It was very flattering, I just went and enjoyed the night. I took my mum and sister with me and they had a laugh. I was working on some really heavy scenes the next morning – where I find out my Dad’s ended his life – so I couldn’t really tear it up, though I still had a cheeky few.
Did you enjoy performing on Children in Need with Luke Bailey? Did you get to choose the song you performed?
Yeah I did. We had a few options but I thought the Beatles tune was a crowd pleaser and that’s more what the night was about, rather than choose an incredibly vocally challenging song (not that it’s an easy song to sing) but it was a good crack!
Who or what inspired you to become an actor? Which actors/ actresses do you admire?
I could name a list that wouldn’t end but one for sure would be Marlon Brando – in his first few films, he was blinding.