Teesside Evening Chronicle Interview

Medic role with a twist

Jul 5 2003


By The Evening Chronicle


Actor Jeremy Sheffield has proved to be one of the most popular to come out of Holby City. And, much to the joy of the show's fans, he returned to the series earlier this year as hunky doctor Alex Adams.

Holby has done for Sheffield, what ER did for George Clooney. As the resident handsome doctor, Sheffield has acquired an army of female fans.

But with so much more choice now open to him as an actor, it was with some reluctance that he returned to the show.

In his time off he tried different roles, each one far removed from Holby's Alex.

He says: "It was quite hard to come back because I did so many other things in the break. "In some ways it's nice to come back, as Alex was prom- oted and turned up in a heli- copter, which was quite cool.

"But it's a bit weird and the reason for wanting to do other things is that I'd played Alex for two years; though he's a great character with great storylines, it's still the same character."

While taking a break from Holby, Sheffield played one of the many love interests of Liza Tarbuck's Linda Green, a "sleazy, racist, bare-knuckle fighter" in BBC 3's Grease Monkeys, and a man who loses his memory in one of the BBC's Afternoon Plays.

In Hearts of Gold, he plays yet another dashing doctor, but this time one practising in 1930s South Wales.

Hearts of Gold is a Romeo-and-Juliet-style story of love against the odds, the tale of spirited working-class nurse Bethan, played by Kate Jarman, who falls in love with Sheffield's dapper doctor. As Dr Andrew John, Sheffield abandons modern medical practices for a pre-NHS era in which matron ruled the roost and nurses were not allowed to be married.

"Andrew comes from an educated conservative background but doesn't fit the mould," he says.

Will he avoid doctor roles in the future?

"I've no problem with what I'm castable as," he laughs. "I'm a middle-class Englishman so I'll be cast as middle-class Englishmen. They're usually intelligent men who can be complex, so it's fine."

When Sheffield got the part of Alex he decided to be honest about his sexuality. But while he's the first openly gay actor to get leading-man status on British TV, it is not something he thinks is a big achievement: "It's just what it is. It's out there. To me, it's not a big deal, so I don't know why it should be for anybody else."

When he got the Holby job he was chasing work in Los Angeles.

"Working there is definitely something I'm interested in."