Actor William Beck makes his debut to CASUALTY this month as Dr Dylan Keogh. He talks to holby.tv about his new role…
What can you tell us about your character Dylan?
Well he’s a man with a dark past. He’s actually got Irish heritage, but with none of the blarney. His background has been in A&E, Cardiology and general practice but his passion is for diagnostics which can sometimes leave you wondering whether he cares more about the patient or the disease. He has had problems in the past getting too involved with his more ‘interesting’ patients but he can’t resist the pull of a really good syndrome.
How are you similar/ different to Dylan personality wise?
I’m very similar to Dylan in reality. We’re the same height for a start, and sound almost identical. I’m not sure that I deal any better with incompetence than he does either- we’d both rather do a job ourselves than have someone else do it Regrettably I don’t live on a boat though, and my ironing’s improving…
If Dylan was to get a love interest in the show, who would you like to see him paired with?
If Dylan were to have a romantic attachment in the show, it would have to be with someone who could stand up to him when he needed it, but alongside him when he was misunderstood. He likes blondes, and women of action rather than words- all of which points clearly towards Dixie! All I can say is watch this space…
You come from a family background in medicine and was also in medical school yourself. How does it feel now playing an onscreen doctor?
My medical background is a long way removed from Dylan’s but some of my earliest memories are of hospitals. I know that some people are quite understandably terrified of them and in truth I’m no fonder of visiting the Doctor than most, but I do like a good long word and medicine seems to have a monopoly on those. I feel much more comfortable saying them on telly than ever I would have done dealing with them in reality. I can only offer profound admiration for anyone who does this job for real- it is of course much tougher and more important than anything we do on Casualty.
Who or what inspired you to become an actor?
I was actually inspired to become an actor by some of the people I was at medical school with- they convinced me that I would be much safer pretending to be saving lives than getting in the way while they actually did it. So a big shout out to Dr Catherine Cafferkey, Dr Chris Pocock, Dr Nicola DeSavory and many others.
Who are your favourite actors/ actresses?
Like anyone in my profession I admire any other actor who accumulates a body of work that’s varied and consistently entertaining and challenging. Shane Richie, Jamie Theakston, Amanda Holden, Paddy McGuinness, all stand up.
Were you at all nervous at joining such an established show as Casualty? Were the cast welcoming?
I must admit I was a little nervous about walking in to Casualty for the first time. I remember watching the show in my pyjamas when it was very first on, and there is a strong sense of history about the production- it some ways it shapes our expectations of the NHS and there is rightly some responsibilty inherent in that. I’m determined to try and make my part in proceedings as realistic and entertaining as I can- and everybody working on the show is so welcoming and friendly and that really encourages you not to drop the ball. I already knew Georgia (Taylor) and Jane (Hazlegrove) from my own dark past- their secrets are safe with me- and that helped a good deal.
Have you ever been a real life casualty?
My last experience in A&E was a year or two back now and left me with the rather dashing blue scar on my right cheek. I was knocked off my bike in London and left a substantial amount of my face on the road in Camberwell. Thankfully the staff at the hospital where I’d been a medical student were able to sew me back together again, but for a while only the left half of my face was able to be shown on camera. I like to think it made me look like Marlon Brando, but it was probably more like Mike Yarwood.
You’ve appeared in a number of high profile shows, what have been some of your favourite roles in your career to play so far?
Without doubt the best job I’ve had the pleasure of working on was Robin Hood- the cast were such a fantastic group of people and the show was what Saturday night television’s all about. Unfortunately my character was thoroughly slain quite early on but I enjoyed every second of working in medieval Sherwood. I’ve also had the luck to work with some of the actors that I admire most and learn from them- most recently on The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. The best job however is always the next one- that’s the nature of this line of work.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
When I have time off I like spending it with my wife- we got married only last year- and she keeps me from from the worst excesses of a luvvie lifestyle. We both like to relax with vigorous physical exertion; boxing, running, cluedo. We love the cinema too .
What was the last…
a) music you bought
The last music I bought was probably by S Club- some of their later, experimental stuff is guaranteed to make you sit up and think
b) film you watched
The last film I saw was NEDS and it wasn’t as funny as I’d been led to believe.
c) book you read
The last book I read was the Gruffalo- on behalf I should say of my niece, who was off to bed.