Avid viewers of The Bill may already recognise the face of Liverpudlian actor Russell Boulter who joins the new series of CASUALTY from Episode 3.
Russell was a regular in The Bill playing DS Boulton, and even though he was sad to leave the show, he decided it was time for a change – and admits he didn’t even see his exit from the show ‘I’d been in The Bill for five years and I was very happy there and I just needed to leave and make as clean a break as I could. Then I went to Australia for a bit so I never watched it. My Mum’s taped it, so I will sit down and watch it at some point,’ he said ‘It was sad to go and I made a lot of friends on the show, but I needed a change, I’d run out of ways to say ‘stop police!’ – I wanted to try and do something else, I really like theatre and had a chance to do a play I really wanted to do so thought enough was enough really.’
Russell left to tour in the play ‘Lonestar’ in Australia which also starred his two other Bill cast members (Huw Higginson & Tom Butcher) and they even played at the Opera House. Russell explained the reason they chose to tour Oz was because of The Bill’s huge popularity over there ‘We’ve got a huge fan base in Australia and The Bill is its highest rating show.’
He then went on to appear in a Noel Coward play with Penelope Keith which did the West End. He was asked if it felt like a leap into the dark after being in The Bill for so long, ‘It was a bit scary because you never know, it’s quite cushie being in a regular series because as an actor you’re always trying to get your next job, it was risky but exciting’
Russell admitted fans do still recognise him from his days on The Bill, ‘Fans usually say ’Oi you was in The Bill innit?’ and once a police sergeant chased me down the road shouting ‘Serg Serg!’ and I turned round and he said ‘I’m a Serg too!’ I just thought it’ll take too long to explain so just shook his hand!’ he laughed.
The Bill’s loss is CASUALTY’s gain as Russell plays the new Security Guard Ryan Johnson – who is also Duffy’s new love for Series 17.
Ryan, whose previous wife died of cancer, provides a shoulder to cry on for Duffy, when she loses her mother also to cancer. He says his character will ‘break the stereotype’ by being sensitive and caring and joked that his relationship with Duffy was ‘like snogging a national institution.’
‘They said Duffy needed a bit of fun – so that’s my job’ said Russell, ‘I also get to bash people up alot, because that’s what security guards do – so its a nice mixture of romance and violence!’
Duffy and Ryan’s relationship is set to blossom which means love at last for Duffy, who lost her husband, Andrew, at the end of Series 15, to bring up three children on her own, ‘It gets steamy. By Christmas Duffy and Ryan are about to move in together with maybe the possibility of marriage.’ Depending on how future scripts read and how his character develops, depends on his future in the series saying ‘It’s early days, so we’ll see how it goes’
Russell isn’t disappointed about not playing a doctor in the series however, ‘Nah its too obvious’ he said, ‘I don’t mind playing a Security Guard, I like the character and atleast I don’t have to learn any of that terrible medical jargon!’ He did a little research into security in hospitals, ‘There are more assaults in hospitals especially A&E casualty departments than anywhere else, there’s a lot of violence and people get very angry – its great because I’m a complete coward in real life so I get to pretend to be hard!’ he joked.
Russell has been a follower of the show before joining the cast, ‘Yeah I’m a big fan of Casualty – I think it’s a really good show. All my family are more excited about me being in this than anything I’ve ever done, as they’re all big fans too.’
Russell previously lived in Bristol so is thrilled to be joining the show, which is based in Bristol, ‘I remember the social life of Bristol to be really good and it’s a nice place to live, so I was chuffed to bits to be when they offered me this job’
It’s not Russell’s first time in CASUALTY however, in S10E2, he played the role of Terry Martin, ‘My character was dying of aids,’ he reminisces, ‘I remember coming down to film for two weeks and having a really good time’
Russell has also had his own real-life casualty experience, ‘I was in casualty a few years ago as I cut my arm open on some glass,’ he said, ‘I’d gone in on a Bank Holiday Monday and it seemed like half the people in Bristol had shoved their hand up a lawnmower or something as there was such a big queue.’ He faced 12 stitches and still has the scar to prove it.