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Michael Obiora Interview

Michael Obiora talks to us about what’s in store for Lloyd later this series.

With his second interview for holby.tv, Michael Obiora talks to us about what’s in store for Lloyd for the rest of the season.

We hear there may be a hint of romance for your character this series?

Yeah maybe! A little bit of romance going on between Scarlett and Lloyd which is always a nice thing. It’s just started to be planted. Lloyd is such an opinionated character and he gets involved with patients, not just the medical side, and is very moral so it’s nice to see a little bit of weakness. Being such a strong character, his weakness comes into falling for Scarlett. Because he’s such a professional and it’s all about work, now falling for a colleague will be a bit of a dilemma for him.

Do you have any opinions on work romances?

Why get in the way of love?! There’s nothing wrong with that.

Referring back to the plot, after the fire, does Lloyd have a bit of a crisis of confidence?

He does a little bit because he’s so strong and opinionated, it makes him change his opinion of himself. He perhaps didn’t act the way he thought he was going to act in that situation so he surprised himself but not pleasantly. So he’s disappointed, he asks himself a lot of questions after that and I think he goes off on a mission of redemption afterwards, almost to prove something to himself. Then it’s a challenge of trying not to go too far with that.

Is that when he sees Scarlett in a new light?

I think in a way he does but in the immediate he is so caught up with trying to work out why he perhaps failed that he is not really thinking of anyone else apart from their opinion of him.

You also clash in future episodes with newcomer Tom?

Yes Tom is another strong kind of guy. The difference between them is Tom is more business like whereas Lloyd is more about the humanity and giving people allowances. Ironically it makes him more judgemental. I think a perfect doctor would be someone in between Tom and Lloyd.

Have you thought how you’d fare as a real life medic?

You know what, I’m a very queasy person so I would struggle but I’ll give them a lift to the hospital! This job has definitely helped me. It’s only prosthetics I know but it is a leap. I have forced myself to watch certain documentaries now that I wouldn’t watch before and I have become more fascinated in medicine because of doing this.

We went to visit a real life hospital in Southampton, That was amazing. Working out the different kind of personalities, what type of person chooses this kind of profession. I had to do my best at putting away my embarrassment of being an actor aside because at first I felt guilty asking questions as an actor. But at the end of the day, it’s my job, I’m an actor, to tell stories. They are fascinating and inspiring people.

I also had an interest in seeing doctors who were religious and doctors who weren’t. I find religion and medicine quite interesting as I’m not religious myself.

When did you first discover you were quite queasy?

I used to be such curious kid, I fell in a stream once which was suspiciously much like sewage. I was one of those very active kids who was always messing about but I’ve still got an image of mud ruining my favourite tracksuit bottoms which traumatised me for weeks! I just don’t really like dirt and stuff! It’s just part of my personality I can’t really change.

Have you moved to Cardiff?

I’m definitely basing myself more here now that I’m working here. It’s not a case of me jetting back to London every second but I am a London boy and I love the city. I’m an Arsenal fan! I have become more patriotic from being away from there.

It’s nice as an actor to sometimes just concentrate on where I’m at. I love travelling to work, I think it’s really important to broaden your horizons. And the people in Cardiff are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I think they’re very excited to have the show here, they feel a big part it. There’s a lot of development going on in the city.

Are you writing anymore books?

Yes I’m writing my second book. It is interesting because the first one was much easier in terms of I didn’t have a writing style. It’s like when an artist comes out with their second album, they’ve got pressure to sell as many records as the first one or to please their fans where as with the first one, it is so organic. I just remember Craig David’s first album, I loved the album but after that he never reached the same height. They were suspicious that he was trying to match something, there’s nothing like that organic feeling of being an artist so I’m struggling now as I’m starting to think about what style I have, do I have to match what I liked about the first one? But writing from me is supposed to be enjoyable and I try to not put too much pressure on myself. I haven’t got a deadline so I can relax but I probably could be a bit more disciplined than I am but I’m really enjoying this character on Casualty at the moment – that’s my excuse!

Do you get time to write between scenes?

My first book was mostly written in between scenes. I wrote most of it in my trailer during Hotel Babylon. I actually found it easier because I was working to deadlines. I’m quite impressed with authors as it’s quite a lonely profession, it can be hard to motivate and discipline yourself.

Is it right you are interested in opening a restaurant?

I’m quite specific with my diet, being a coeliac. I can’t eat wheat or gluten. It wasn’t sitting comfortably for me when I was eating certain things so I adjusted my diet ever since.

I’ve got quite an interest in food so that’s where the idea of running a restaurant came in. It’s definitely something I’m still interested in, I cook quite a lot and I believe in trial and error – I’m not scared of making mistakes in the kitchen so that’s something I’d look into in the future perhaps.

Would you ever suggest your condition as part of a patient storyline?

In terms of may be raising awareness, it could be quite helpful as it does often throw up mis-diagnosis.

During your time on Hotel Babylon, you were also appearing in Elmina’s Kitchen in theatre, was it difficult playing two different roles at once?

In Elmina’s Kitchen, I was playing a delivery boy so I was a criminalised teenager by night and the camp hotel receptionist by day! It was great, I felt like such an actor! It was amazing to be playing two such different characters and I was only 18. To have such a fearlessness, naivety of youth and I like to think I’ve still got that.

I tell you what though, what did happen when I was doing Hotel Babylon, I changed so much as a person! The character I was playing was so expressive that I became more expressive as a person – my dress sense even changed! That is one of my favourite characters that I have played.

Do people still recognise you from Hotel Babylon?

It is the main thing I get recognised for even though it was a few years ago. We finished that in 2009.

Casualty is now in it’s 25th year, why do you think the show has remained a success?

I’m not surprised about its popularity but I’m surprised by the different types of people it appeals to. It is right across the spectrum because it’s on a Saturday night you always wonder what it’s audience is going to be. I think it’s great that such British owned shows have such an appeal.

You’ve also appeared in Misfits?

Yes I did four episodes in the first series then one in the second. It’s a great show, sort of Skins meets Heroes. Again another great British show. It is nice to be involved in such programmes, I’m quite proud of all the things I’ve been involved in and now to be here in such a long running show with a character I’m very excited to be playing.

How was it when you first started on Casualty? You’re almost as old as the show!

It’s quite surreal. I think probably the most surreal experience is meeting Derek Thompson. I don’t normally get star struck but that is Charlie Fairhead! Whether or not you’re a religious watcher of the show, everyone knows that character. He’s just been ever present. I remember the show being on in my house as a kid and he was on screen, so to be working with him is cool!

Did the cast help you settle in well?

Everyone has been very welcoming even though it’s such a whirlwind I was surprised at how quickly I got into the groove. Everybody works so hard, there’s no time to sit around. I still feel quite new but it’s new in a fresh way not deer in a headlight and it’s exciting. It’s got a good feel. I think the move has also reignited it again.

Do you have fun on Set?

We have a laugh on Set, it’s easier to see that when I sit at home at the end of the day because at the time it is so busy, it’s hard to appreciate it but I go home and think about what we have achieved but still remembering laughing during the day. I’ve got my own strange sense of humour but it’s a fun place to be considering how busy it is.

Is there a bit of a Gallows Humor, because it is a serious drama?

Yes a bit. I did a storyline recently with Jean Boht, who plays an Alzheimer’s sufferer. She would take the mick out of me, in between takes. It was nice because it wasn’t a funny storyline but it was nice to bring a lightness out of it. For me, coming out of doing four years of comedy to now playing quite a serious character, it’s nice to have a bit of comic relief but I am still enjoying the drama side of it.

Jean Boht is such a funny lady. Really mischievous and cheeky! I’ve been doing this since I was a child and it feels like such a long time and I’d love to be able to have that enthusiasm that she has, when I’m at that stage of my career. It was very infectious.

At what point did you discover you had an interest in acting?

I was always a show-off as a child. I always liked to be the entertainment. I remember that I loved Michael Jackson growing up and there was a village concert going on in Nigeria, where my family are from. We went back to visit when I was six years old and my Uncle dared my sister to go on stage but she said ‘no way’ but without asking I just ran on and start dancing! The tradition is for people to show their appreciation by sticking money to your sweat. And I remember at the end of the performance, I had lots of money and my Mum promised when we got back to London, she was going to put me into drama lessons and she did. So I owe it to the villagers of Nigeria!

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