Footballers’ Wives star Ben Richards make his debut in The Bill this week as Pc Nate Roberts. And, as Ben reveals, Nate’s definitely got his eye on the ladies of Sun Hill…

Why did you decide to join The Bill?
“It’s a fantastic show. It ticks all the boxes doesn’t it? It’s got great storylines, strong characters, good scripts and it’s a fun job to do. It’s high energy; you get to do things that you wouldn’t normally do on other shows.”

Like stunts?
“Yes! The other day I was smashing the window of a burning car to save a child and it exploded as I ran away from it, and I smashed a door down in a suspected kidnapping. There are always people being thrown out of cars. It’s been really exciting.”

Tell us about your character, Nate?
“He’s basically a skirt-chasing, fun-loving copper who loves his job. He’s in it for the adrenaline, he’s in it for teamwork but it’s also important for him to have fun; to take the mick when he can. He likes to be out there getting his hands dirty… then going for a nice drink with everyone.”

What happens on Nate’s first day?
“Nate and Diane Noble come across Billy McLouglin. He’s ex-army, who worked with Diane in Kosovo. We meet Carly and Alisha, who explain that Tam McGuiness was the person who beat up Billy but then we find Tam’s brother dead in the back of a car…”

Nate teams up with Sergeant Smithy to work on the case. How do they get along?
“Really well. Nate respects Smithy for the copper he is; he’s very ‘straight’ which Nate can understand, and Smithy sees Nate as a hard-working copper who just needs to be kept in line with his flirtatious ways.”

Will any of Sun Hill’s WPCs have to watch out for Nate?
“I should think so. He’s got his eye on a few so we’ll see. Nate tries not to mix business with pleasure – but he can be a bit too honest once he’s got a few drinks inside him…”

Is there another side to Nate?
“You do get to learn a little bit more about Nate and what he’s about. Sometimes things get to him and he’ll go the extra mile to make sure someone’s OK. But he’s not really interested in the whole social services side of things – he’d much rather be out there catching criminals.”

You’re best known for playing Bruno Milligan in Footballers’ Wives. Are there any similarities between Nate and Bruno?
“They’re like chalk and cheese. Bruno had so many issues whereas Nate’s a lot more direct; he’s like ‘look, this is the way I am’. And people can either take it or leave it.”

Your first appearance in The Bill is Scott Maslen’s last. Will Nate be taking over from DS Phil Hunter as Sun Hill’s resident romeo?
“It’s about time someone from uniform became a bit of a romeo. There’s a distinct possibility that there may be some action between Nate and various WPCs – or DIs!”