Nurse Ellen Zitek received the devastating news this week that she was suffering from cancer, but despite a positive prognosis, Ellen is determined to keep the news between herself and step-sister Nina for fear of pity. As actress Georgina Bouzova faces her toughest storyline yet, she kindly took time out of her hectic schedule to talk to holby.tv…
Your storyline where Ellen suffers a molar pregnancy before finding out she has cancer is set to be as big as Bex’s rape storyline last year, you must be thrilled at getting such a meaty storyline for your character?
Absolutely! It is always great to be given the challenge of playing a great storyline, but I was also very nervous as it is such a serious issue that I wanted to make sure I was playing it as honestly and as carefully as possible. It’s something which affects a lot of people.
How does Harry react to the news? Will he be of support to Ellen?
Harry is the first person to find out that Ellen has lost the baby and he immediately takes control of the situation by getting on the phone to the consultant and finding out what the problem is. However, when things get serious Ellen decides that Nina is the only person she wants to tell. She doesn’t want people feeling sorry for her, she just wants to get on with it.
It’s been interesting to see Ellen and her step sister Nina’s relationship get back on track. Will this ordeal finally mend bridges between them?
I hope so! It has been awful for Rebekah and I to have to act like we hate eachother as we are such good friends in real life! I think Ellen and Nina will be brought together by such a terrible situation. After all, Nina is the only family Ellen has in England and in times of trouble, you turn to those closest to you.
Did you have to do any research for this storyline?
I did a lot of research for this storylines because I felt the only way to bring truth to Ellen’s journey would be if I tried to understand and gain knowledge about the disease and how cancer patients deal with it. I spent hours on the internet reading people’s experiences of cancer, their feelings, emotions, how they felt physically and how they dealt with other people. I spoke, in depth, to a friend of one of our producers, on whom the storyline was based, about molar pregnancy. She is a lovely lady and really helped me to get an insight into how it was for her, as I felt like I could ask her anything. I visited the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, who, very kindly, helped me with my research by allowing me to look around the centre, speak to their therapists and gave me a lot of reading material. And before each scene I would read chunks of the book ‘Before I Say Goodbye’ by Ruth Picardie, who died of cancer aged 32. She was a writer for The Observer and wrote about what it is like to have cancer. It is a very moving account and helped me prepared emotionally for my scenes.
How do you prepare yourself for emotional scenes such as your current storyline? Do you find it hard switching off after filming?
It is difficult to do emotional scenes as you are surrounded by crew, other artists and supporting artists, all of whom are getting on with lighting, rehearsing, etc so I have to make sure I stay ‘in the zone’ of the emotions of the scene I’m doing. If I know I have an emotional scene that day, I will usually get up early, listen to sad songs on my ipod and read sad articles or books (I have a collection precisely for this reason!). I read through my journey in my script to refresh my memory. I like to go to the gym after to get the endorphins going. I find it helps me switch off.
Ellen started off quite a nasty character, what response do you get from viewers regarding your character?
I have never had a hate letter for my character. All my fan mail has been hugely positive and people are always saying how much they think Ellen brings to the show. I am pleased that she has evolved and isn?t simply ‘a nasty character’ as I think that would have been boring for viewers.
Who are your closest friends on Set of CASUALTY?
I love Liz Carling. She has definitely become on of my best friends. We are very similar and love things like our different crystals and our angel cards. We are always round eachother’s homes. And ofcourse Bex is another amazing friend. She is hilarious too. But really, everyone is lovely; Sue Cookson, Sue Packer, Martina, Sam and Janine. All really great girls! Oh! I forgot the boys didn’t I?! (only joking Luke, Elyes and Ben!)
Do you have plans to stay in CASUALTY after this series?
It would be great to stay for the next series as it is the 20th Anniversary of CASUALTY, which is so exciting!
Did you enjoy your stint on The Weakest Link? Would you ever consider going on a reality TV show?
I loved it! I was so nervous but I reckon I gave Anne as good as I got!! With regards to reality TV, I couldn’t say as it would depend which one. I like the ones where you learn something, like dancing or singing as it’s always good to have more strings to your bow as an actor!