Michael Thomson Interview

Viewers first saw Jonny Maconie in HOLBY CITY this week, holby.tv caught up with actor Michael Thomson who tells us more about his character…

What’s the aftermath of him sleeping with Jac?

The follow on is hilarious! She doesn’t realise he’s about to start working on Holby. They met at the people skills course, and Jonny told her that he’s a Neurosurgeon, when he is infact a nurse! So when they are re-introduced by Elliot, as part of the new transplant team, it’s incredibly awkward for Jac – not for Jonny because he doesn’t care. Infact I think he says to her ‘Have we met?’ so that drives Jac completely crazy and creates all kinds of tension! But that is exactly how their relationship works. She’s a control freak. He’s not above it as such, but he is unaffected or controlled by her. All Jac’s usual tactics don’t work on him.

As viewers will we want them to get together properly?

I really don’t know, I think its one of them things that there is so much fun and chemistry between them. I think that’s much more fun. The writers are so clever and careful to take it just to that point and then bring it back so there are moments where you think ‘is that romantic or is just physical?’. For me it’s the not knowing that keeps the viewers hooked. But I think he has a good affect on her.

Does Jac look down on him being a nurse?

She does make fun of the fact but he’s proud of what he does. Jonny loves his job. He isn’t a nurse that wants to be a doctor. He wants to be with people and help them, its something that really appeals to him. There are a couple of arguments that end with ‘you’re just a nurse’ to stick it in to him but again he’s completely unfazed by that. They’re powerless against eachother in a way.

I think it’s about time Jac had someone like him. It’s all smut with us! There’s great stuff coming up. There’s loads of room for comedy in there.

Did you worry about joining a serial drama?

I know what you mean but really not. I get sent different scripts every week and that’s the really exciting thing. What I’ve always loved about acting is that I get to be different characters. It’s a joy as I like to be other people. I like being able to say cool things that I wouldn’t think of!

The idea of being stuck as one person for a prolonged amount of time could initially freak you out but not for the fact that it’s so well written and I love this character. I really like him; I wish I was more like him.

Are you impressed how fast paced the show is?

I was near to tears for the fear of turning up on set and not knowing my lines because I wasn’t used to it. You have to come up with the goods very quickly. I watched people very closely like Rosie [Marcel] and saw how she did it and tried to learn from that. Very quickly you do learn from that.

Learning lines was terrifying to me – every few weeks you’re getting two phone books full of lines but once you get going, your brain very quickly learns it. Like I say because it is such a big machine, everyone is so slick; you don’t have time to panic. Everyone is so welcoming. Had there been a different atmosphere I think I would have found it harder to cope. But because every step of the way someone is catching you, helping you and driving you on, you find that you pick it up really quickly.

How did you get the role?

It was an easy process having two auditions and just getting really lucky. My agent surprised me by telling me I’d got the job. The first thing I said was, although I was using a bit more graphic language, was ‘Are you kidding?’ I just couldn’t believe it and then before I started the show I was sat around thinking that they must have made some terrible mistake!

How did you get into acting?

I’d always wanted to do it. I’m from a big family. I’ve got four brothers and one sister and because there’s so many of us, quite loud personalities, I’ve always kind of shown off, fighting for attention. I knew I wanted to act even from primary school doing plays. I did Jesus Christ Superstar in primary school, can you imagine? I was crucified at 11!I also did National Youth theatre, and kept it going; I trained at LAMDA for three years. I’ve been hanging on by my fingernails for the last ten years and it’s only really been in the last couple of years – doing two quite big theatre shows that I then landed this.

How long will you be in the show?

You’ll just have to keep watching and find out. It would give away too much but I am a regular character.

What are some of the fill-in jobs you have done in between acting?

I’ve done it all. Building sites, call centres, some charity mugging which I don’t feel good about. The building site was good; it’s honest work as opposed to bothering old women!

What are the hours like on Holby?

Very different to theatre. Sometimes it’s 5 o clock in the morning, which is not a nice place to be! The weirdest think about it is its influx all the time. I was lucky in that my first few weeks were nuts, constantly busy so I came to expect that so when it eased off that was a bonus! I think it would have been harder had I had very little to do and then it got crazy but your body does adjust to it

Is it difficult being away from your partner?

My wife, Natasha Rickman is an actress so she understands it. She’s currently touring the UK in a play at the moment by Arnold Wesker called ‘Roots’. She’s extraordinarily amazing in it. She’s only just graduated from RADA. It’s an exciting time for both of us, both working which doesn’t happen very often so we are really enjoying it but it does mean that you’re apart a lot and that is tough.

Will you be watching your first episode?

I don’t think I have any choice! I live with my partner, my brother and his girlfriend. He’s already got some sort of drinks and dips thing going down! I also have quite a big family, they live in Dunbar and apparently everyone know that I’m going to be on Holby. Any opportunity my mum gets she says ‘My son’s on Holby!’ so I think the ratings will go up on that alone.

Is there any hierarchy between the old-school characters and new cast?

Certainly not imposed by any individual – you always feel part of the team. There are people that you are really impressed by. It was daunting when I first met Rosie, having only previously seen her onscreen as Jac. Then you’ve got people like Hugh Quarshie, who’s the coolest dude in the world. So it’s more things that you’ve brought with you and being intimidated but not by anybody else. You must get bored by actors saying Holby is such a lovely atmosphere but I promise you that’s how it is. It’s a really easy environment to work in.

Who would you like to work with more?

All of them because they’re brilliant actors. I watch Holby tirelessly as it’s the best way to learn and at various different moments there isn’t a member of cast that hasn’t impressed me. They do such amazing things and I think I wish I could do that! But I’d say Bob Barrett in particular, simply because he’s in the room next to me and he’s one of the first people I met when I joined. I was on my own in the canteen, all nervous, and Bob came over and gave me a hug! So I’d love to spend the day with him for no other reason than that. He’s just adorable basically. Like Sacha but more so. No one hugs like Bob hugs!

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