Patrick Dempsey – aka Dr Derek Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy – talks blood and gore, babies and racing cars

Derek and Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) made their marriage vows at the end of the last series, so is it happily ever after for them in the new series?

Their relationship is solid. The question now is where do they want to go with their careers and their relationship? Do they want to have babies, for instance?

Was it hard to see TR Knight, who played George, leave at the end of last series?

I don’t think people should leave, quite honestly. I don’t want to see characters go.

How do you cope with the gory surgery scenes?

They’re my favourite part of the show. I love gore.

Are there any downsides to being on a popular TV series?

You have no control over your life. When my wife asks ‘Can I have dinner with you?’, I can’t tell her because I don’t know my schedule. I have to remind myself how fortunate I am to be on the show and how much it has given me.

How do you juggle family life with your job?

I’ve been married for ten years and it seems to get better every year. Sometimes it’s a living hell when the kids are sick and crying – it either brings you together with your partner or it separates you, and we seem to be doing well.

You’re working on producing a couple of your own projects, aren’t you?

I bought the rights to the book The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is about car racing but so much more than that. And there’s a comedy I’m working on with my wife, based on a great idea she came up with, which takes place in a Los Angeles beauty school.

Are you still as passionate about motor racing?

I love it. Taking part in Le Mans last year was a dream come true for me. When you’re in a car you have to have complete focus. Racers like me do it as an escape from the pressures we’re under.

Isn’t it dangerous?

I have a helmet and a fire suit, and they charge me an exorbitant amount for insurance.