Casualty star Charles Dale tells What’s on TV how Big Mac has spiralled into addiction and reveals why the ED healthcare assistant sinks to new lows on BBC1 this Saturday…
Big Mac is now shockingly addicted to painkillers. How has this happened?
“A perfect storm of circumstance have led to this. At first he felt guilty about letting Noel down when his friend was attacked by Mercedes. The Mac got really down when Noel found out he’d been lying about being a hero and rejected him. So it’s a combination of all that and his ongoing back pain – it’s just escalated!”
It’s very out of character for the healthcare assistant. What would you say in Mac’s defence?
“Big Mac would never leave Noel while he was being attacked, but in that split second when Noel was in trouble he slammed the toilet door without knowing what has going on. And afterwards he didn’t lie – he just neglected to tell the truth! Mac didn’t have the strength to say to everyone, ‘Actually I’m not a hero, I hid in the toilets and let my best mate down'”.
Do you think it shows addiction can affect anyone?
“I know it’s said some people have addictive personalities, but with these kind of things maybe there isn’t a certain kind of character. Mac’s not being himself. It’s happened gradually and he’s not realised until it’s too late. That happens with an awful lot of people.”
This weekend Mercedes threatens to expose Mac’s pill-popping secret unless he steals her medication from the hospital. Why does he give into her demands?
“He tries to get Mercedes prescription pills because he feels cornered by her. She’s got something over him and, because she’s an addict herself, she becomes manipulative. That’s the thing with addiction, you become secretive, unreliable and will even steal from your best friends! Mac will do anything because the cravings are taking over his personality.”
S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt is really menacing as Mercedes! How has that been to play with her?
“I know, and she’s only wee, bless her! Hannah’s been delightful to work with. From the first day I knew we were going to have great fun, and she’s a fab actor! Tony Marshall, who plays Noel, may have gotten beaten up with her, but she plays manipulative mind-games on Mac!”
What reaction have you had from fans to the storyline?
“There’s been a certain kind of denial. People say ‘Mac would never do that!’ But that’s partly the point we’re making. It’s not about the person’s character. It’s about their addiction. That’s where it all goes wrong! There are certain things I can’t tell you, but there’s quite a bit more to come with this story!”
For more on this Saturday’s shocking storyline read our episode reveal