Jimmy Akingbola Interview

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Since joining the show at the beginning of last year, actor Jimmy Akingbola already has a fan following of ‘Malickites’ who are enjoying his character and some of the great dialogue he’s given. holby.tv chats to Jimmy about what’s coming up for the Malick in the next few months…

 

So tell us what’s coming up for Malick?

 

There’s quite a lot coming up for Malick at the moment. He’s just got this new job as Clinical Skill Teacher which is fantastic for him. Malick is so ambitious, his one dream is to be the Consultant, be the Hanssen of a hospital. Now with this extra responsibility because he is so passionate and ambitious, sometimes he blinds himself.

With this position, he’s giving back, He’s got his ‘Malickites’ with him (which I love the writers for doing that!) and with that he does see parts of himself in these young doctors but then also he does go over the line. He messes up because, he’s so happy with the job but actually sometimes take things too far. He’s not seeing clearly and before he knows it, he’s in trouble!

What I like about Malick is when he does do that, it really does hit him because he wants to be successful. It’s just the way he goes about it, he undermines himself. He sees this job as a stepping stone to being a Consultant and eventhough it is a great job, Malick does add more weight to it. He walks around like he is on Ric’s level now, This job will be the making and breaking of him.

How do you think Malick copes with mistakes he’s made?

 

Malick is really is going to have to deal with some big issues and make key decisions in his new role. Unfortunately he is going to come short which is coming up, what will be interesting is to see how Malick recovers. I think he is very good at bravado but underneath when he gets knocked, it really does hit him. He has had loads already and he does bounce back but if you analyse under the surface for example the storyline over Christmas with his ex-partner – deep down things like that still wrestle with him. He compartmentalises it and gets his head down with other things.

 

How does Malick interact with newcomer Serena?

 

He’s very close to Ric but at the same time he’s very frustrated with him. Ric is very much like boss/ father figure to him and I love their relationship. With Serena, she is such a different kettle of fish to Ric. She will see all that potential that Malick clearly has in a different way that Hanssen does see, but slowly feeds him here and there. I think Serena is really going to let him fly. I always think Malick is like a cat, he’s never loyal!

Does Serena slightly disarm Malick?

 

What you see over time is Malick being wrong footed. He doesn’t know where he’s at. He finds himself in a bit of a triangle, because you have Ric, Serena and even Hanssen. He’s almost being played off between all these people but not quite aware of it.

Serena’s style is completely different to Ric’s. Malick is so flexible, he can morph into so many different types of people and different ways that as soon as Serena shows him another way of how it can be, initially he resists it but then the more she gives him more work and great procedures, he thinks it’s the way to go. So it’s interesting to see they way he is torn between them and Hanssen keeps popping in and out, pulling him the other way. Because Malick is so concentrated on where he wants to be, he’s not always seeing the bigger picture.

Will his anger issues come in to play?

 

I think once he sees the big picture – that will be quite dangerous. Malick is constantly on that last warning yet he has since towed the line, but has touched the edges. Again because he is so confident and cocksure, he puts himself in positions where he fails. It will be interesting to see how that affects him because it means a lot to him.

Will we see anymore into his personal life?

 

There is some personal stuff coming up with his family which we will see but I can’t say much more as yet. We’ve not had that yet so it will be good to see. We last saw the phone call to his mum – that’s the closest thing you’ve seen to his family so far. His ex-boyfriend was one thing which still said a lot, from some of the scenes and what was said between them, how he left his ex, mentioning issues with his dad, little snippets which made you wonder what had been going on within his family.

Is that the good thing about Holby in that sometimes they don’t release the full back story of a character straight away?

 

Absolutely. I think that’s what you have to do. You know you can go for ages watching a character and then you’ll get a little gem and it’s so rewarding as a viewer. I really thank the producers for the way that they are handling Malick as he is an amazing character. I’m very blessed and lucky because he is a surgeon first, that happens to be gay, that happens to be black and none of his stories are stereotypical on his sexuality or race. He’s one of them characters you hate at one point, then love him. He’s pushing so many boundaries in terms of a TV character.

So you don’t get bored of playing him?

 

No way. He’s a very broad character, I love it. When I sat down with the Producers, I said the longer you leave it about his sexuality the better but the important thing is that he’s not ashamed of it and he’s not embarrassed about it

And I think because he’s not very camp, viewers still tend to question ‘Is he gay?’, People tend to shut it off or have missed the scene with the kiss and don’t know that he is and ask me things like ‘When is he going to get with Chrissie?’ I like the fact Holby have been brave with that. With Dan you’ve got a different type of person and you’ve also got Paul Nicholls coming in to play Simon.

Does Malick have some sort of a friendship with Simon that Dan gets jealous of?

 

Yes and Malick also gets jealous in a Malick sort of way but not in an obvious way. Deep down eventhough Dan is not his type, since then he has got a soft touch for him. They are always bickering and Malick likes the attention that he gets from Dan so I think when Simon comes in, Malick does get a bit jealous. But he takes it out on the new guy rather than Dan. Eventually they do become friends, on Set we joke they are the ‘Keller Fellas’!’ Malick does find himself as a sounding board for Dan and for Simon.

Do you have any initiations for new cast members?

 

Chizzy [Akudolu] is one of my best friends so there was lots of cuddles and banter when she joined the team. Michael [Thomson], he had done a lot of theatre – it’a small world. This job is so lovely, from top to bottom; the crew, cast and production are so nice, so people just welcome eachother with open arms. You need to make people feel relaxed so they can do their work.

Are you all quite sociable?

 

They work us so hard, that that is one thing we’d like to have more. Occasionally if people have a birthday we get together or we might have a leaving do but besides that it’s quite hard.

I have got a company called Tri Force Promotions (slight plug!) and I do these networking party nights. We do them once a month in Soho Zenna Bar, it’s a private night but I always invite everyone from here. And it’s nice, you know I’ve never worked with Paul Bradley yet, having been here a year and a half, so when I have these nights, it’s time when we can connect. We see eachother on Set but it’s nice to socialise outside of work and when we go on Awards nights we have a fantastic time!

There’s so much fun on Set though I’m surprised how much work we get done. Paul, Hari, Hugh and now Chizzy in the mix, those four are such a barrel of laughs. So much banter on Set!

Do you all have your own dressing rooms? What’s yours like?

 

Mine’s a bit like a teenage boy! Weights on the floor, lots of papers, it’s a bit messy. I’ve got a couple of posters from plays but each individual dressing room represents the character as well as the actor. I go past Catherine’s [Russell] and she decorated, lampshades in there and it’s all beautiful, Hugh’s got a deluxe room. It’s really interesting, different personalities and seeing what they do with them. Hari’s, is worse than mine!

So do you work out in your room?

I try to. When I started I used to joke that they needed to give me three months warning if my character ever needed to take his top off. I like my burgers, my chicken and chips! I never want to get big, I used to play a lot of football and tennis but again being here you haven’t got the time so I try to do a bit of exercise every morning.

Also as Malick is viewed, I always try to physicalise every character I play – whether I’m playing Mick the crackhead in Rev – I try and lose a bit of weight, grow a beard or Malick who likes to roll his sleeves up!

 

Olga Fedori has left, you were close friends?

 

She’s actually in London at the moment and I’m going to try and meet up with her. She’s a fantastic actress, so beautiful. She’s so intelligent, studied at Harvard, I think she’s looking to be in some films. We were really close, I love her to bits. When people leave you are always interested to see what they do next and before I joined the show Frieda was my favourite character.

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