The former Heartbeat actor joins the cast of the long-running medical drama. He stars as Alistair, an out-of-work electrician living rough in a derelict shopping centre, who takes a shine to Polly…

How did you get involved with Casualty?

“They knew me from a couple of years back, when I played a guy on a stag night who falls down a manhole cover, ends up nearly drowning and gets his hand chopped off. I’d had such an unpleasant time in a water tank for three days that they rewarded me for not moaning too much by giving me this character!”

How are we introduced to your character, Alistair?

“Alistair is a homeless guy who lives in a cardboard city underneath a derelict shopping centre. When the paramedics are called out to the centre, he helps them evacuate the place and becomes quite friendly with Polly.”

The first episodes are very intense; did you enjoy filming them?

“The good thing about being in the first couple of episodes is that they always pull out all the stops. In these opening episodes they blow up a shopping centre and it’s very dramatic! One of the great things about Casualty is that the stunts and disasters are always very realistic and hard-hitting.”

Alistair hits it off with Polly from the start – is there love in the air?

“We become quite firm friends quite quickly. In the second episode, Polly gets him somewhere to live and there is a real spark between them. Although Alistair is somewhat damaged from living on the streets, in the beginning it very much looks like it could work. There could be a real bond between them, which is nice.”

Did you enjoy being made to look scruffy?

“It was lovely! After two years of having to shave every morning on Heartbeat, constantly being brushed down and not being able to eat in costume, it was really, really nice just to be able to slob around, sit on the ground and get mucky!”

Were there any mishaps or funny incidents on set?

“One day we were doing a scene where I was being arrested. It was being filmed on a little camera and you couldn’t really see that we were recording. In the scene, I’m being taken away by two policemen and resisting arrest. Suddenly, this police car comes out of nowhere and I was almost arrested for real! It was really funny. Sometimes, when I was sitting around begging in the street, people actually gave me money – I made a few quid!”

Did you do any research for the role?

“I watched some documentaries and read quite a lot about mental health. It’s really dangerous living on the streets. You’re completely exposed – you never know how safe you are or if you’re going to wake up in the morning. I think that’s the really terrifying thing about living on the streets. Maybe this is why Alistair gravitates towards Polly – she could be his chance of a more normal and stable life.”

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