Blue star Antony Costa talks to TV Times on interrupting filming for his Casualty guest role – and his birthday – to witness the arrival of his baby daughter…

Antony, you play a burns victim in Casualty this Saturday – which also leads you on to the wards of Holby City the following Tuesday – and we hear you received life-changing news during filming…
“I was lying in a hospital bed, filming the scene and a runner came over to me and said, ‘I think you’d better go, your missus has gone into labour!’ She was due the next day, but everyone told me not to worry and that the baby was likely to be two weeks late.”

That must have been a mad dash to the hospital…
“It was quite intense because I was wearing really frightening make up. I felt like the Phantom of the Opera! So as I was driving back I was ripping it off and getting myself ready – it wouldn’t have been good for Savannah to see me like that!

“The BBC were really supportive – I saw my baby being born and then had to go back to Cardiff the next day to finish the filming. Sunetra Sarker, who plays Zoe, calls me ‘Daddy Costa’ now. It was the weirdest birthday ever.”

You’ve also reunited with Blue recently, will you continue to act as well?
“I love being back with the boys and we’ve got a new album coming out at the end of the year, but acting is my passion and if opportunities arise that’s great. Look at people like Keith Duffy – he was still working with Boyzone while he was in Corrie. I talked to Lee Mead, who plays Lofty, while I was filming Casualty, and he told me he does gigs on the side. We got on like a house on fire – his dressing room was right next to mine and we were singing and bantering all day!”

How have people taken to you as an actor?
“I used to worry about it every single day. When Blue first split I went into the musical Blood Brothers in the West End. A lot of people were very sceptical about coming to see it, but in the end they were impressed by how I took on the role.

“A couple of months ago, Jacqueline Jossa, who plays Lauren Branning in EastEnders, came up to me and said she went to see the show with her school and thought I was amazing. She told me she completely forgot I was the guy from Blue while I was performing, and that’s a great compliment.”

We can see you in Albert Square – who would you play?
“Maybe I could be a Branning or Danny Dyer’s long lost cousin from Cyprus? I’d just like a role I can get my teeth into. I love gritty dramas like The Driver, and Downton Abbey is always amazing. Can you see me in Downton? Maybe downstairs – I could be a dodgy car dealer…”