Michael Obiora joins the cast of CASUALTY this week as new nurse Lloyd Asike. He talks to holby.tv about his upcoming role…
What can you tell us about your character Lloyd?
He thinks with his heart! He’s a very keen newly qualified Nurse, and he ultimately wants to do good but because of his youth, inexperience and passion, he can sometimes make the wrong decisions and at times he get’s emotionally involved where perhaps he shouldn’t. I’m really enjoying playing a character who is at the start of his professional career. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow, and try to balance his moral’s – Lloyd’s always going to find this tricky because he doesn’t believe in telling lies, even small ones!
Can you relate to him in any way? Are you at all similar personality wise?
Lloyd and I are similar in terms of our passion, strong views and willingness to learn. But I’m more experienced than him, I’ve been an actor since I was a child, and although I am young and there is so much more I want to achieve, I am not at the beginning of my career like Lloyd is. Also, despite being a passionate person I am still quite good at not letting my heart rule my head, although this is not always easy!
What is Lloyd?s first shift in the ED like?
Very eventful! Lloyd is immediately thrown in at the deep end, and he is exhausted by the end of his first shift. I hope the viewer’s enjoy watching my first episode as much as I enjoyed working on it.
How does he interact with the rest of the team?
Lloyd is not a shy guy, so he fits in well. He’s a team player and deep down he wants to put the patient’s first, so he gets on with the other hard working medical staff. Now, if he can just keep his passion in check…!
Any of the characters he could have a possible love interest with?
There’s always a chance! This is another thing that’s exciting about playing a new character – establishing relationships. Whenever a romance does blossom for Lloyd it’s going to be very interesting because I can see him possibly struggling to balance love and work. He loves working, so it will be an interesting dynamic juggling the two. But Lloyd is young wide eyed man, I’m sure he has some ladies somewhere in his sights!
What’s it like joining such an established show such as Casualty?
It’s an honour. The show has been around since before I was born! I remember being really young and my parent’s watching it. It’s brilliant that the show is still going strong, and that’s down to the hard work of all those associated with the programme, and perhaps most importantly the viewers.
With the show reaching it’s 25th year and recent relocation to Cardiff, can we expect any major changes to the new series?
The show will remain the same as in it will continue to be about delivering interesting stories to the audience. But the fact that the production is relocating will perhaps freshen things up. I feel this is an exciting time to have joined the show, and the fact that Casualty is part of the new studios in Cardiff demonstrates its strength.
You made a guest appearance in sister show Holby City back in 2003, what can you remember from this role?
Seems like ages ago! I was sixteen years old, and I played a guy called Perry. His parent’s were going through a messy divorce. During one of their many arguments I fell off a ladder. An unfortunate way to get their attention!
Have you ever been a real life casualty?
I dislocated my thumb when I was around 8 years old, and last year I broke my toe. I couldn’t play football for the rest of the summer! Apart from that I’ve been pretty fortunate. I’ve had friends and family members who have been real life casualties, and since playing this role I have a much deeper respect for how hard those in the medical services work.
How did you get into acting? Who are your acting inspirations?
I always enjoy telling this story – my family are from Nigeria, on one of our visits, when I was six years old, there was a village concert going on. My uncle dared me to go on stage, without any hesitation I did! I gatecrashed the singer’s performance, and the crowd went wild! I think I was helped by the fact that I was a chubby kid, so I guess they thought I was cute! In keeping with the traditions, the crowd showed their appreciation by sticking money to my sweat. After this, my mum promised to let me attend after school drama classes! She kept her promise when we returned to London.
I don’t really have any particular acting inspirations. I’m inspired by life and by good stories. I think there are a lot of good hard working actors out there. I love it when I see good writing combined with good performances.
You’ve appeared in a number of high profile shows, both stage and screen, what have been some of your favourite roles in your career to play so far?
Fortunately I’ve enjoyed almost all the roles I’ve had. It’s actually quite hard for me to pick a favourite because where I was at during each particular job, made each experience unique. My first professional play was called Exclude Me. It was at the Chelsea Theatre, which only seats around one hundred people. It was such an intimate experience. I was sixteen years old at the time, and it is definitely when I fell in love with theatre. There were only four people in the cast, so we got to know each other quite well during rehearsals.
Later that year I was the lead in the Roy Williams play Fallout, at the Royal Court. That was one of the best summer’s I’ve ever had. Even though I was so young, I did realise what a big deal it was to be performing in such a prestigious theatre.
In 2005 I was in Kwame Kwei Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen. We toured the UK first before coming to the West End. Many actors dream of performing in the West End, and I got to do that at eighteen. I also learned a lot on tour, as an actor and as a person.
Towards the end of the West End run, I started Hotel Babylon. From a character point of view, this was probably the part I enjoyed playing the most. And then going back to when I first started, there was Grange Hill. Those were the best five years of my life – I refer to it as a youth club we got paid for!
I’ll also never forget the fun I had on My Family. I thought Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wannamaker were the perfect husband and wife, and I loved the fact that we filmed in front of a live studio audience. It was a mix of theatre and tv! All special for different reasons.
You published your first novel Black Shoes in 2009, any plans for future writing projects?
Definitely. Publishing my first novel is the thing I’m most proud of. Writing is such a discipline and I’m so impressed by authors who have made a career of it. I love telling stories, I’m working on my second book at the moment.
What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love watching football – come on Arsenal! I enjoy home cooking, and eating out, reading, and I love dancing!