Nurses Interviews

New characters, New era

New characters, New era

The New Year starts a new era for CASUALTY. With the shock departure of William Beck (Dylan) just before Christmas and another departure set for the New Year, CASUALTY aims to freshen up the show with an exciting 90’s ex-cast member return playing a doctor role and three new Student Nurses.

‘It seems like a fresh new era,’ confirms Executive Producer Johnathan Young. ‘We’ve been here [Cardiff] a year now and it’s a chance to refresh.’

‘We’re aware of the amount of other shows, reality shows such as X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing – pre-Christmas is big on reality so after that we want people to come back to Casualty. The New Year is a great time to get back to Drama.’

‘We’ve got some great stuff in store,’ he promises, ‘Introducing three new, young, unknown fresh faces.’

‘We wanted to take people right from the beginning of their career onto Casualty,’ he said. ‘So we embarked on a long audition process so we could find the right actors who could bring their characters something special.’

Talking of the first episode of the New Year which commences on 5th January, Johnathan reveals ‘The first episode is from their point of view. We want the viewers’ experience to see it from their eyes – like they are seeing it in a different perspective and remind them what an extraordinary place the hospital is.’

Nikki Wilson, the show’s Series Producer added ‘When you speak to real life medics, their first shift is terrifying so we wanted to capture some of that.’

Talking more of the episode she said ‘There’s a big accident that brings the casualties into the ED but we’re doing it slightly differently in that as it’s shown from the students’ point of view it means we can’t go on location as they are not out there.’

‘As so much of the show is about seeing the action with the paramedics, we thought how we could show that without breaking with the point of view style so we have done a red button episode at the end of the show which does show the crash scene, which again is new territory for us.’

Asked what would push viewers into watching the red button show after the episode she hinted, ‘In the main show you see Jeff has really been affected by what he’s seen – unusually so for him – so hopefully that will be enough to peak people’s interest into switching over to the red button and seeing why Jeff was so affected.’

Nikki Wilson is pleased at the popularity of past webisodes. ‘It’s a real opportunity to do things that you may not necessarily do in the main show or tell interesting bits of story in a different way.’

‘The Christmas red button that we recently did was the nurses on a night out. That was directed by Sunetra Sarker, so again a real opportunity for the show to give the audience a real treat and spend time with them outside of their shift.’

‘Our Afghanistan webisode also did really well, other than Sport it was one of the most watched thing on the red button.’

A recent webisode has just gone live entitled ‘Nurse Factor’. She said ‘We filmed the webisode about the students before their first shift that will hopefully introduce the characters and build a bit of interest before they hit our screens in the main show. The idea is that it’s them filming themselves on their mobile phones in the pub the night before. It’s a good opportunity to get to know them a bit.’

As well as this, the show is also playing with the social media aspect. Nikki revealed ‘The new characters all have Twitter feeds which fans can follow so there will be an element for people who are engaged in those types of site, bringing an added element to the show.’

‘Each week there will be a Twitter conversation that is pre-scripted and take place during the show so we will be able to see them interacting on Twitter about the main story that is going on in the show. For viewers that are active in that space, it’s added value but for viewers that aren’t you can still watch the main show without it being detrimental’

Johnathan Young added ‘We wanted to learn about our audiences’ interaction with social networking and build that with the Student Nurses. It’s natural that they would be on their phones. I don’t think it’s mould breaking but it is for us. We’re really experimenting how it will go and for us it’s a real learning experience. We want feedback from our audiences and strive to attract younger viewers as well as trying to offer something for everyone. It seems crazy not to be in this space when our audience clearly is.’

To guide the nurses on their way, each of them will be getting a mentor pairing. holby.tv talks to the three newcomers, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Amanda Henderson and Daniel Anthony and their mentors – actors Alex Walkinshaw, Christine Tremarco and Michael Obiora.

GEMMA-LEAH DEVEREUX & ALEX WALKINSHAW

Fletch mentors Student Nurse Aoife

Fletch mentors Student Nurse Aoife

Irish nurse Aoife O’Reilly played by Gemma-Leah Devereux will be mentored by Fletch.

Of her character Gemma reveals, ‘It’s our last placement before we become official nurses so we’re all going for gold!

‘Aoife takes her job very seriously,’ she says. ‘She’s very good at what she does and she’s self assured or so she thinks she is.’

Of her relationship with Fletch she says ‘Fletch can see through her competiveness and how keen she is so is protective of her.’

Alex Walkinshaw, who plays Fletch confirms ‘I think their relationship is pretty good. Fletch is keen to help, wants to teach but I think he feels a bit like a big brother or a father figure really. Fletch being that bit older than her; he is able to put her on the right track. It’s his experience that he offers.’

‘He just has that kind of attitude to most people – he’ll put his arm round you, comfort you to make sure you’re alright and Aoife is very keen and follows him around quite a lot – when Fletch walks into a room his shadow turns up! But I think they’ve had a good start.’

Gemma added ‘They definitely have a strong bond as he does really look after her in her profession but also personally. She comes in very strong but underneath there’s a big vulnerability.’

Of Aoife’s personal life, Gemma revealed ‘She has a boyfriend called Craig. She gets this job and comes to England and she’s very happy. ‘But that’s the thing about Aoife – she has all these plans but when she comes to Holby, she’s near the goal and it all goes a bit wrong!’

Of joining such an established show, Gemma agrees there were nerves, ‘The first few weeks were an absolute blur to me! But once you get into a routine, it’s fine and becomes second nature. But you do want to get it right’

Alex confirmed the new cast all settled in, ‘The only mentoring I think we’ve done in real life is logistical stuff nothing to do with their performances!’

Alex is also enjoying his time on the show, having been onscreen since the end of last June ‘The people are lovely and it makes working away from home that bit easier.’

As he praises the show, ‘The attention to detail on this kind of show is huge. It’s something we forget, watching Casualty week in week out, other shows may do all these big explosions, crashes, etc. but it’s how our show starts – we don’t save it for a special, it’s every episode – that’s what we do every week.’

 

AMANDA HENDERSON & CHRISTINE TREMARCO

Robyn with her mentor Linda

Robyn with her mentor Linda

Amanda Henderson plays the role of Student Nurse Robyn Miller and she will be mentored by Linda Andrews.

Amanda says of the student nurses ‘We’ve all trained together so we’re really good friends and look out for each other when things go wrong. There’s no rivalry between us – we’re all supportive of one another.’

‘But I think we’re all very different even as nurses,’ she continued. ‘Robyn is better at the care side of things than the academic side. She tries to please people and tries to do what she thinks would make someone happy as opposed to doing what’s right for them – we all think we know everything but we don’t!’

Of Robyn’s relationship with mentor Linda she adds, ‘I think Robyn looks up to Linda. She thinks she’s the bee’s knees so she’s happy to learn from her.’

Christine Tremarco, who plays Linda says ‘Linda likes Robyn’s attitude because she’s got that innocence. She’ll come out with things where Linda will have to say ‘you shouldn’t really give your opinions in front of patients!’

‘I think she is very fond of her because Linda can be quite childlike – she sort of has to be quite strict with Robyn. But Robyn gets on with the job and Linda wants her to do well.’

Discussing how they’ve all settled into the show, Christine adds ‘From my point of view, in terms of a production, it’s a big thing to come into and it’s so fast paced but when you’ve got a good group of people and a great crew it really helps. I think they’ve all really thrown themselves into it. It’s very much a team effort here’

Amanda shadowed real nurses with the other newcomers in preparation for her role, ‘We went to a real hospital. We could choose whether to visit the minors or majors; me and Gemma went for the majors and Danny stuck with the minors. I think both of us went a bit green though!’

 

DANIEL ANTHONY & MICHAEL OBIORA

Lloyd with newcomer Jamie

Lloyd with newcomer Jamie

Daniel Anthony plays the role of Jamie Collier – if you recognise the surname, he’s the nephew of paramedic Jeff.  Jamie is openly gay – comfortable with his sexuality but doesn’t flaunt it at work or at home, being a shy boy at heart. He is mentored by Lloyd Asike.

Danny says of his character ‘Jamie is passionate about his job but I think his eagerness gets him into trouble because he wants to get stuck in all the time!’

Asked if there was any friction between his character and Lloyd he admitted ‘There’s a bit between us to begin with.’

Michael Obiora, who plays Lloyd continued ‘Jamie’s got that kind of enthusiasm and passion that Lloyd had when he started so I think at first Lloyd finds himself telling Jamie to calm down and remember that this is a nursing environment and I think as Lloyd says these words, he realises actually not that long ago that used to be him!’

‘I think that’s what makes them bond in the end; that Lloyd knows exactly where Jamie is coming from. They have a lot in common; it’s nice – a bit of a bromance!’

Michael agrees that Lloyd has had a tough year since his relationship with Scarlett failed, ‘Sitting back, what’s been interesting as an actor is to play the lulls in Lloyd’s journey. It’s all part of the journey. What’s gone on in the last year has been traumatic and devastating for Lloyd and it almost hasn’t been mentioned as much as Lloyd would like so he’s been dealing with it internally.’

‘He’s a passionate guy and likes to put his views across but the fact that the first time he fell in love ended in the way that it did really hit him so becoming a mentor has given him a new sense of purpose and that’s when Lloyd starts to feel like himself again. He has an idea of what he’s meant to be doing and puts himself deeply into that. He really did love Scarlett.’

Reminiscing about how daunting the show can be portraying a nurse he said ‘When I first started the job, all the actors that had been here for a few years, I could see that they would still ask the medical advisors certain questions so I’ve come to learn that it is a constant learning process, new things come up or you need a refresher so I will always circle anything my character might say or do medically and then find out if my character is familiar with that procedure and if he is I have to do everything possible to make sure it looks like Lloyd is comfortable with what he’s doing and if he’s not then I play that as well. I don’t worry too much with the medical side because we always have people on hand to advise us.’

‘There are times where I’ve watched programmes and seen an actor playing a certain profession and you could see the acting work going on and I wouldn’t want a viewer to see that going on in this. When I started, we visited a hospital, met other people who worked in the profession – you do want to do it justice as they do such an amazing job. I’ve had such a new found respect for them since starting Casualty. I would probably be annoyed if I was a nurse watching an actor pretending to be a nurse and not doing something right. The most important thing is the story.’

Daniel admits to being squeamish after also having visited a real life hospital in preparation for his new role. ‘I struggled majorly – a man came in with a bad laceration on his leg and was lying on the bed – I had to leave!’

It’s not the first time he’s worked with Michael though, as when Michael first joined the show – Daniel made a guest appearance. ‘I did a guest stint about a year ago; it was one of Michael’s first episodes. My character was a bit of a nutter who trashed a classroom and I got to dive out of a window!’

 

FOLLOW THE NEW NURSES…

@Ally_Casualty

@Aoife_Casualty

@Jamie_Casualty

@Robyn_Casualty

1 Comment

  1. Louise-Anne

    April 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Love Gemma-Leah Devereux so much her interview is the best out of the lot

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