Paul Nicholls: 'I get more scared as an actor now'

Paul Nicholls: 'I get more scared as an actor now'
Paul Nicholls: 'I get more scared as an actor now' (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

TV Times magazine talks to Holby City stars Paul Nicholls and Adam Astill to find out what’s in store for Simon and Dan... Paul, tell us about Simon Marshall... “He’s an agency nurse, so he takes work where he can, when he can. He’s openly gay and ends up at Holby on the same ward as Dan Hamilton, who he knows from medical school.” What’s their history? Adam: “There was certainly something between them, they were good friends and that turned into something a lot stronger and deeper, but even back then Dan wasn’t ready to come out and admit to whatever homosexual feelings he might have had.” Paul: “Simon fell in love with Dan, whether anything physical happened we don’t know, but he did fall for him and he has always been the one that got away ever since.” How does Dan react to seeing Simon? Adam: “It’s a mixture of emotions because he hasn’t really admitted to himself that he’s gay and when Simon arrives it suddenly brings back a lot of feelings.” Paul: “Simon quickly sees that Dan has not changed one iota and he’s still completely denying that side of him. That annoys him because Dan is ignoring who he is and it puts him off him, but then one night he asks him out for a drink, and Simon says yes and then things start to happen.” Adam, do you think Dan represents a lot of people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality? “We get to hear about sports starts and politicians who are found in places perhaps they shouldn’t be and they put it down to stress or whatever and you think, if you are gay why not come out, it is 2012.” Holby City is filmed at the same studios as EastEnders, and Paul, you started back on Albert Square as Joe Wicks. Is it weird being back? “The first day I walked in it was really strange because I’ve not been to these studios for 17 years. But I have popped over to the EastEnders set and seen a lot of old friends, which has been really nice.” Was it nice coming back as an established actor, rather than as a nervous teenager? “I wasn’t scared when I was 15; I’m scared now! You are not scared when you are that age because you don’t really care, it’s more like a hobby. But as you go along and it becomes your profession and your way of earning a living, I get more scared now than I did then.” Adam, are you pleased with your leaving storyline? “Yes, we get to see Dan Hamilton the happiest we have ever seen him. He is a lot more comfortable in his own skin and a lot more relaxed and hopefully a more interesting and likeable person because of it.” Have you enjoyed playing a doctor? “Absolutely, I think I am the only actor on the show who enjoys the theatre scenes, because I love getting dressed up and getting the gloves on and delving into the ridiculously gory prosthetics.”

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.