TV Mag

Smooth Operator

A dishy new doctor is set to send pulses racing on the wards by Nick Fiaca

Jeremy Sheffield is thrilled to be playing Holby City's dashing new doctor, who will be making a big impact when the hit medical drama returns this week. But he still winces as he recalls the time he spent in a hospital wearing make-up, tights and a jockstrap!

It was over 10 years ago when Jeremy was a dancer for the Royal Ballet Company and suffered a ruptured appendix while performing in Battersea Park, London. Crippled by pain, his costume was stripped off and given to his understudy.

"I had an operation wearing full make-up and ended up not taking it off for three days!" recalls Jeremy, who is now 34.

He joins Holby City as cardio-thoracic registrar Alex Adams, a career-obsessed whiz kid with no time for relationships. He is plunged into the thick of the action this week when he has to operate to remove a metal stake from a biker's chest.

Also back on the wards is popular surgeon Mike Barratt (Clive Mantle), who is lucky to be alive after his leg was almost severed by a poacher's trap during a team-building course at the end of the last series. Thanks to an operation by Anton Meyer (George Irving), he's well on the mend.

Jeremy admits he's never heard of Holby City before landing his part. But having got to know the show, and his role in it, he says that he's nothing like his character. "Alex is the BBC's version of George Clooney!" smiles the 6ft 3in hunk. "He's a maverick surgeon who has spent time in Rwanda saving lives and being a bit of a hero. I'm not as confident as Alex, and I have relationships when they happen. I'm not driven by work, I'm perfectly willing to have fun."

Jeremy, who is from Essex, won a place at the Royal Ballet School when he was 10, and joined the Royal Ballet Company at 17. But he got fed up with the strict regime and suffered numerous injuries, so he turned to acting when he was 27. Back then, Jeremy owed the taxman over 15,000. So he was thrilled when he got a job doing a commercial in Germany, which immediately cleared his debts. Since then he's done around 60 more ads, appeared in Nathalie Imbruglia's Torn video and had TV and film parts, including roles in Anna Karenina and Lynda La Plante's The Governor.

Now that he's joined ratings winner Holby city, Jeremy is set to become a huge TV star and he admits that almost put him off taking the job. "I'm anxious about it" he says about getting recognised. "I do want some privacy."

Jeremy admits he's squeamish around real hospitals, which made watching a triple heart bypass as research for Holby City doubly difficult! "I said to them I'm probably going to need a chair in case I pass out" he says. "But I was fascinated. After the main operation, they cauterise the blood vessels which is basically a hot rod burning the blood vessels. When you're hungy and you want some lunch, it smells a bit like barbecued meat. Barbecued chicken came to mind!"