Robin Hood and Vital Signs actor William Beck is to join the cast of CASUALTY from next month as new regular character Dr Dylan Keogh.
“This role has come at a nice time for me,” says William. “I have a family background in medicine and I was at medical school briefly when I was younger so, in a way, my career has come in a complete circle and it feels absolutely right to be at CASUALTY now.
“I absolutely love all the medical details and jargon in CASUALTY. I didn’t give up medical school because I couldn’t do it, I just think at that age I got bored with things very quickly. I’m still fascinated by the endless variety of diseases and the endless amounts of questions that arise each time. One of the things you realise when you train to be a doctor is that there is no final answer to the problem of illness. The questions that we don’t have answers to grow exponentially in relation to the answers we provide and that’s the most intriguing and also the most frustrating thing about it.
“I didn’t study medicine for long but I think the minute you realise something isn’t right for you, you don’t want to waste people’s time and resources. I enjoyed it but I knew instantly it wasn’t for me and I continue to admire anyone that goes into the medical profession.”
Swapping medicine for acting was a gamble that paid off for William whose career has taken in costume dramas such as Northanger Abbey, long-running drama series like Red Cap, Robin Hood and Vital Signs and feature films Snatch and Goal II.
He says: “The joke when I left medical school was that I was giving up the most secure profession for perhaps the least secure but I’ve been extremely fortunate and have managed to work pretty consistently over the last 10 years.”
So what sort of doctor is William’s character Dylan Keogh?
“Shambolic is one way of putting it but he’s shambolic for a good reason, which is that he doesn’t want people getting too interested,” explains William. “He’s bright and I would think it’s probably fair to say that he’s gifted at what he does, which is A&E medicine. But various circumstances over the years have meant that he’s ended up as a GP at a surgery in the sticks. Then he’s coerced into a trip into Holby and ends up in the Emergency Department. He’s got a real talent for diagnosis and getting things right under pressure is what makes him a good A&E doctor. But he enjoys rather less having to interact with people and difficult personalities.
“Dylan finds it easier to deal with diseases than people. Diseases if you understand them are predictable and Dylan likes to deal with known quantities. He finds people are unreliable and perhaps feels that he himself is unreliable. Unintentionally he puts people’s backs up in the ED and I think that’s a characteristic that talented doctors do sometimes have but I think that’s because of a lack of explanation. Dylan doesn’t often explain himself very well to people – his bedside manner is about half a mile from the bedside!”
William makes his first appearance from 12th March.