MONDAY NOVEMBER 13 2000
My favourite thing
by CAMILLA MORTON
Holby City star Jeremy Sheffield's Gilera Runner goes like a Porsche.
Looking windswept and, as his agent promised, ruggedly handsome, Holby City's newest heart-throb, Jeremy Sheffield, pulls up on his prized possession, his Gilera Runner. "I love this bike, I've had it for two years," he enthuses, pointing out its scars and war wounds from when it was stolen recently. "It's a real wolf in sheep's clothing!"
The actor began his career at the Royal Ballet School. Darcey Bussell and many of his other contemporaries from that time remain friends but he found the institution stifling and left it to take up acting. "I had an ankle injury and it was my excuse to escape."
He played extras, delivered crisps to the Queen Vic in EastEnders and worked on commercials and pop videos, including Queen's I Want to Break Free. The well-received TV thriller Safe Haven was another milestone, but Sheffield says the performance that he is most proud of was another pop video. "My agent rang and said there was an Australian girl called Natalie Imbruglia who used to be in Neighbours who was launching a pop career, did I want to audition? I thought it sounded naff, but I clicked with Natalie. I think it's a good video. I like seeing it on MTV."
Imbruglia's single Torn enjoyed huge international success. "It launched her career and didn't do mine any harm," says Sheffield with a smile. "I like doing TV," he adds, after admitting that he hated his RSC stint. "It was daunting. I was more anxious about being in front of the audience than being aware of what I was saying. It's much harder to concentrate. TV is more intimate and you can get much more into your character."
Sheffield's good-guy character in Holby City is a far cry from the James Dean lookalike posing moodily in front of me on the Gilera. "I love this bike, I love stopping at traffic lights alongside the Harleys and posh motors, and when it goes green you speed off, burn them all up! It might look like a little scooter but it has the acceleration of a Porsche. I could never drive a car, especially not in London.
"I am always doing shoots on this bike, but I have other interests. I love the theatre, ballet and travelling. I enjoy scuba diving and used to breed tropical fish."
Sheffield has a two-year contract with the BBC on Holby City, which will keep him resident in London for a while. So next time you are stuck at the lights next to a vaguely familiar boy racer on a silver scooter, make sure that it is not Sheffield cutting you up before you have a fit of road rage.>