New consultant Kian Madani makes an entrance when he turns up at Holby – and Jac Naylor is far from impressed! Ramin Karimloo explains...
Holby City actor Ramin Karimloo on playing maverick consultant Kian Madani…
How would you describe your character Kian who's seen on screen for the first time next Tuesday?
"Kian's travelled a lot and has seen and done a lot of things, so he's not without empathy and sympathy but he also doesn't suffer fools. Kian's a brilliant surgeon with a real passion for what he does – but he's a bit of a maverick as well."
How are viewers first introduced to Kian in Holby City?
"The first time we meet Kian he comes into Albie's bar. He's there just to settle himself into the area and he's checking out what the vibe of the place is and, in a round-about way, he gets to meet some people before his shift starts…"
Kian bumps into Essie Di Lucca (Kaye Wragg), unaware she works at Holby. What does he make of her?
"They are, I think, two kindred spirits. Essie’s obviously a stunning woman and Kian finds her to be quite a strong independent woman as well. Without knowing the subtext between them, Essie and Kian share something in common. I’m hoping we’ll see more of, at the very least, BFFs between them as time goes on."
Kian turns up late for his first shift on Darwin carrying a man called Mark, whom he found collapsed in the hospital car park. Kian's forced to perform emergency surgery in the middle of the ward – what was that like to film?
"I'm not gonna lie, when I first walked in and Adam, who plays Mark, was there on the table, I couldn’t believe how realistic it looked. I’m not the best with stuff like this. My body temperature certainly went up a degree or two for about 10 minutes and then I got used to it.
"And then the crew were like: 'Put your hand in there' [Kian has to hold Mark's heart], so I did. The prosthetics on this show really blow my mind. For that one scene, I noticed that members of the crew, some who’d been there since day one, were kinda getting grossed out and I was thinking: ‘If you’re grossed-out, I don’t stand a chance!'"
We get the feeling that Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) doesn't appreciate Kian's rather unorthodox approach. What's the dynamic like between them?
"Kian and Jac have this Yin and Yang relationship; she’s very much orderly whereas Kian is disorderly and very instinctive. Ultimately they both want the same things for their patients – but Kian certainly gets under Jac’s skin with some of his methods."
Kian's probably a bit too 'maverick' for Jac at the beginning…
"Yeah – but what keeps him around in her eyes is: 'Damn he's good!'"
Jac's known for being fiery and always getting her own way – has she met her match in Kian?
"I think so. Jac's temper doesn’t worry Kian. He knows she’s a great surgeon and he respects what she does – but he’s certainly not afraid of her!”
And how does Jac and Kian's relationship develop in the coming months?
"I know a lot's been said about how sparks are gonna fly between them and how Kian's gonna rub her up the wrong way. But I'd say it's not really about that. They both ultimately want the same thing; they're both great surgeons and they both want their hospital to excel, they just have different ways of reaching that goal. But we'll definitely get a see a playful nature between them for sure."
How do you like wearing hospital scrubs in Holby City?
"It's not a bad thing, it's very comfortable actually. You don't have to worry so much about costume fittings and changing so much. So I have no complaints there."
There's one scene in your first episode where you're not wearing much at all! Are you comfortable with on-screen nudity?
"Well, as Kian, I was injured. Essie's dealing with his injury, so it’s all in context. I’m not gonna lie, I work hard at the gym, so I was OK about having my shirt off. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be with any more! But working with Kaye and Belinda Owusu, who plays Nicky, on that scene and having a good laugh with them took my mind off it. But now you bring it up I’m thinking: ‘Oh yes, that IS quite the introduction!’”
Your background is in theatre and you’re best known for appearing in West End musicals such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of The Opera. What appealed to you about being in Holby?
"Well, as an actor you're always looking for diverse challenges. About two years ago I had a chat with Holby producer Simon Harper and I really liked the vibe of the whole place when I got there. My whole career has been based on instincts and when you get a good sense of something; even if you can’t quite explain it, I just really wanted to be part of that family.
"I have friends who've worked on Holby in the past and they’ve always spoken so highly of it. Then the opportunity came up where I wanted to step away from theatre for a while and re-group and, as they say: 'A change is as good as a rest'. So I was like, let's do this!"
Presumably, it's very different from theatre, though…
"It is. Oddly enough, I always say, the thing I can't stand about theatre is tech rehearsals and costume fittings. And I feel like TV is one long tech rehearsal! It's a whole different way of thinking and whole different puzzle. Sometimes when you film long scenes there’s a sense of theatre about it. It's still storytelling and Rosie, Belinda and Nic [Jackman, who plays Cameron] have been great to work opposite. I’m having a lot of fun!"
Are you prepared for the increased recognition that comes from being on TV?
"Well, if it happens, it happens. My main concern is that I just hope Kian fits in great with the arc of the show and the arc of the stories. Then I'll be proud. I just hope he's another positive ingredient to an already great recipe."
Catch Ramin's debut in Holby City as Kian on Tuesday April 23 at 8pm on BBC1.
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