Talented Casualty star Shaheen Jafargholi is accomplished beyond his years.
He got a standing ovation at the tender age of 12 after he sang Smokey Robinson’s Who’s Lovin’ You at a Britain’s Got Talent audition in 2009. A song that he went on to perform on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and at Michael Jackson’s memorial service!
He’s also made a big impact on TV drama, most notably as knife crime victim Shakil Kazemi in EastEnders, who he played from 2016 until 2018. These days, however, Shaheen is best known for his role as cheeky and cheerful nurse Marty Kirkby on Casualty.
Marty has been through the wringer since he first joined the show in 2018. This week, just as he thinks he's cracked this adulting business, Marty faces one of his biggest personal challenges yet. It turns out his shy social worker boyfriend Adi Kapadia (Raj Bajaj) is keeping a brazen secret - he’s having a baby with a surrogate mother (BBC1, 8.35pm, Saturday 09 April 2022 - See our TV Guide for listings).
What To Watch caught up with Shaheen for an exclusive chat about Marty’s shocking new Casualty storyline…
Casualty exclusive: Hi Shaheen, thank you for chatting to us! Marty and Adi have been enjoying a slow-burning romance. What do you think attracts party-lover Marty to introverted Adi?
Shaheen Jafargholi: “What makes them a great pairing in Marty’s eyes is that they are two completely different personality types. They compliment each other. Mary finds Adi’s clumsy and nerdy qualities endearing. Raj is a brilliant actor and always fun to be around!”
Is Marty's relationship with Adi is a turning point in his life?
SJ: “I think, for the first time, every area of Marty’s life seems to be in a pretty stable position, so he feels ready for whatever’s developing between them.”
That must make the discovery about Adi’s unborn baby all the more brutal?
SJ: “Definitely. And Marty finds out in the worst possible way. Jessica [Adi’s surrogate mother, played by Call the Midwife star Maya Saroya] is at the ED getting checked over and Adi is forced to awkwardly reveal he’s the baby’s father. Marty feels completely let down, especially after already meeting Jessica and asking Adi how they knew each other!”
What does playing Marty mean to you?
SJ: “It’s great playing a character that I’d loved to have seen on TV when I was growing up. I love his confidence and tenacity. He’s not afraid to say what other people are thinking! But, beyond that, he’s very serious about what he does. He is committed to being the best he can be at his job.”
Having played Marty since 2018, have you mastered the medical side of the role?
SJ: “I hope so. I’m not really squeamish in real life, otherwise I wouldn’t last a day as Marty. Though, there are still days when I read a script and can’t believe that some of the terminology used are actual words! I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I would be able to do it for real. I take my hat off to every single person who is part of the NHS.”
Who would be your dream guest star patient?
SJ: “Probably my best friend Amy-Leigh Hickman [star of Ackley Bridge and Our Girl]. We’ve always said we'd love to work together. Although, we wouldn’t be able to get through much without laughing!”
What are your favourite Marty moments?
SJ: “I loved Marty’s messy, reckless era. It was fun to play, but also an important story that people could relate to. He had to go through all that to get to the other side of accepting and loving himself.”
And your favourite friendships for him?
SJ: “His relationship with Jade [Lovall, played by Gabriella Leon] was super cute.
“Marty and Ethan [Hardy, played by George Rainsford] are also quite good friends now. George is fun to be on set with. There’s never a dull moment with him around!”
And, finally, can you tease what lies ahead?
SJ: “Marty is hurt that Adi’s been keeping this secret for so long, and devastated that their relationship could be damaged. But he’s a hopeless romantic. He believes anything is possible when it comes to love. He needs to think about what he truly wants to navigate his way through this situation with Adi…”
Adi’s surrogate secrets and lies are exposed in Casualty episode I Will Trust in You on Saturday, April 9 at 8.35pm on BBC One.
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.