Yahoo! TV Guide - October 2001

Ballet good show for Holby

By Derek Robins

Holby City hunk Jeremy Sheffield is glad he gave up his ballet career to become a TV medic.


The 35-year-old, who plays surgeon Alex Adams in the BBC1 drama, was a member of the Royal Ballet for 10 years until 1993, when he switched to acting.

He owed 15,000 to the taxman at the time and a lucrative TV commercial paid off all his debts.

He says: "I hated ballet by the end of it as I had a lot of operations on my ankles and I suffered a lot of pain. I think I have made the right decision."

Since then he's done more than 60 adverts, appeared in Natalie Imbruglia's video for Torn, and starred in a TV version of Anna Karenina, the film Merlin, and ITV drama The Governor by Lynda LaPlante.

Jeremy says ballet dominated his life from the age of five.

His most remarkable ad was jumping off a bridge for a whisky commercial.

The Essex-born actor says: "That was when I started and I went to the Royal Ballet School from 12.

Jeremy, who appeared in the Queen video for I Want To Break Free when he was a ballet dancer, says: "I had to jump into a river four times at 5am. I was freezing cold.

"It was quite tough as it was a boarding school and for five years your parents are not allowed to watch you dance. It was the school's way of trying to dissuade pushy parents from interfering. You have to give up your childhood for dance."

"It was marginally less silly than going for a wee in full armour in the film Merlin when 1,000 cast members spotted me and applauded."

Jeremy has a permanent legacy of his ballet days on his back.

Jeremy has become something of a sex symbol since joining Holby City in 1999.

The Holby City star says: "It is a tattoo of the painting Ancient Of Days by William Blake. I once did a ballet called Requiem and some of the imagery was based on Blake's work.

He says: "I get lots of letters from ladies who like the show. Women send me photos, their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. It smacks a bit of desperation but at least I haven't been stalked yet!

"I fell in love with his work and had it done. I've now got a koi carp on one calf and I'm going to get another on the other leg and some Chinese calligraphy."

"One fan even sent me four boxes of chocolates and four plastic egg cups with thousands of tags with my name on. It was very bizarre."

Jeremy's most unusual ballet memory is a close encounter with the legendary Rudolph Nureyev.

Jeremy Sheffield says he is quite similar to his character Dr Alex Adams.

He says: "During a production of The Tempest with the Royal Ballet Company I had Nureyev sat on my shoulders."

He says: "He is a confident person and has an ethical outlook that I aspire to. He does become very passionate about things but he can become too emotionally attached to his patients."

Also in the late '80s, Jeremy, who plays Holby's registrar Alex Adams, suffered a ruptured appendix while performing in London.

He says: "I had an op wearing full make-up, tights and a jockstrap!"