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A shock showdown between Heston and his abusive girlfriend, Marina, leaves the medic a broken man. Doctors‘ Owen Brenman tells us more… What was your reaction when you first heard about the domestic violence storyline involving Heston and Marina? “I was both excited and nervous. It’s interesting because the issue hasn’t been seen from this angle before. Normally it is a woman who is being beaten up. I wondered how the storyline would play out. But I think it has been done very well. Heston has had unsuccessful relationships before. But this time they’ve given me an even more troubled relationship!” Why does Heston stay with Marina after she has repeatedly hurt him? “I think he feels the relationship can be saved. Although perhaps it was foolish of Heston to think he could fix his girlfriend through therapy. That was asking for trouble. There is probably a part of Heston that feels he is partly to blame for what’s going wrong in their relationship. Also I think deep down he is quite lonely. He has this big house and all these wonderful trappings from his days as a surgeon. So he wants to try and save the relationship if he can.” But we’re about to see a breaking point where Heston stands up to Marina? “Yes, without giving too much away, things reach the stage where Heston decides, ‘I don’t deserve this’. Marina accuses Heston of telling Mrs Tembe about what’s been going on between them. She flies into another rage, but this time Heston defends himself. He raises his fist and actually almost hits Marina. Then he feels disgusted with himself, for what Marina has pushed him to.” What’s it been like working with Marian McLoughlin, who plays Marina? “Marian is great. We got on very well, even though we were playing two people who didn’t really get on! We certainly had a laugh in between takes. I think you have to with a storyline like this. But I think Marian has given a brilliant and very strong performance as Marina. The mad rages she would fly into have been fantastic.” How is Heston’s experience with Marina going to change him? “There will definitely be consequences. Heston doesn’t really deal with the fallout very well. It effects him psychologically. As a result, Heston behaves badly towards someone else in his life, and he finds his judgement is affected at work.” Why doesn’t Heston let his friends and work colleagues at the surgery help him? “Heston is a fiftysomething, middle-class, public school educated male. He has grown up in a culture where you don’t open yourself up to anybody. He’s a man who is a partner at the practice, in a position of authority. Someone who is respected. So he doesn’t want to show weakness. He’ll only open up when he’s really ready.” What has viewer reaction to the storyline been like? “I’ve heard from people on Twitter. Or sometimes people stop me and say, ‘Why don’t you throw Marina out? My mum’s getting really upset!’ So it’s great to see people get involved. It’s definitely one of the strongest storylines I’ve had since I joined the series in 2008. We hear you’ve started directing episodes of Doctors now? What’s that like? “Yes, I’ve directed six episodes so far. I did a guest role on Doctors in 2003 and remember chatting to Christopher Timothy, who played Dr Mac McGuire at the time. He had started directing episodes and said he loved it. I’ve always been an actor who has had a fantasy about directing, but never quite knew how to go about getting the opportunity. So I decided when I became a regular on Doctors that I would ask them. I’ve had to nag and nag and nag, but they let me do it eventually! It’s very hard but very exciting. But I enjoy working with the actors and trying to get the best of people.” Finally, we ask you whether Heston and Mrs Tembe will ever get together?! “I don’t know! But there’s definitely a bit of unrequited love going on there. Heston does behave as if he is oblivious to it. Although I think possibly he’s just like a lot of men, and very bad at reading the signals!” Don’t miss Doctors on 5th March (BBC1, 1:45pm) when Heston and Marina’s relationship reaches boiling point. * If you are male and have been a victim of domestic abuse, help and advice is available at ManKind