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Adam Astill (Dan Hamilton, 'Holby City')

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Dan Hamilton from Holby City

© BBC

Former Mistresses actor Adam Astill makes his debut in Holby City next week, taking on the role of orthopaedic surgeon Dan Hamilton. Billed as a charismatic and confident ladies' man, it's not long before Dan lands himself a possible love interest on the wards as he grows close to an established Holby regular. Could there be romance in the air at the hospital? And is Dan really as self-assured as he makes out? DS recently chatted to Adam to hear more about the character.

How did the role in Holby come about?
"I first heard about the role back in August and I auditioned, but I didn't really think much would come of it. But then all of a sudden I was called back to meet the producers and it began to look very much like I was in with a chance of getting the role. I think that I was finally told that I had the job in October and I started filming in November."

Was the audition process quite intensive?
"Well, it wasn't a particularly long audition process - I only had two auditions, which I was pleasantly surprised about. When I do auditions, I do the preparation and I do the best I can, but then I try to forget about them so I'm not too disappointed if I don't get the job. In this case, though, there was no disappointment - it was a very pleasant surprise to get the role."

How was the character of Dan first billed to you?
"They described him as a sporty, rugby-playing ladies' man who perhaps wasn't as confident as he would like people to believe. And since then, I've discovered more about him. He is outwardly very bullish - orthopaedic surgeons are stereotypically these rugby-playing public schoolboy types, and he tries to live up to that persona. But he certainly has a heart of gold, and he also has the ability to put his foot in it and say the wrong thing sometimes! He perhaps has trouble expressing himself emotionally."

As he is a ladies' man, does Dan have his eye on anyone in particular when he joins the hospital?
"Well, without wanting to give too much away, one of his first tasks is to mentor Chrissie Williams, who is considering whether or not she's going to become a consultant nurse. So Dan offers to mentor Chrissie through her training and, through that, they become quite close. There's a distinct possibility that there may be romance in the air between Dan and Chrissie."

Would Dan stay faithful to Chrissie, or is he likely to become a bit of a love cheat?
"I think that Dan would be faithful. There's a lot of bluster about him and when he's out with the lads he'll perhaps josh and exaggerate about his prowess with the ladies. But he's not a malicious kind of guy and obviously he's aware that Chrissie Williams has been burnt once or twice before. So I think he'll do his best to be faithful to Chrissie. But then again, this is Holby, so who knows?"

Apart from Tina Hobley, are there any other cast members who you've been sharing lots of scenes with?
"Yes, I've been working a lot with Bob Barrett, who is even nicer than his character Sacha Levy in real life. Both him and Tina have been brilliant to work with and they've taken me under their wings as the new boy, showing me the ropes. But the whole cast and crew have also been fantastic. I'd heard that it's one big happy family at Holby, which sounds like a cliché - but it really is. It's a lovely working environment."

What is Dan like as a surgeon?
"He's a brilliant surgeon, but he's perhaps not so good with patient management. As an orthopaedic surgeon, I think he has a tendency to treat the x-ray rather than the patient - he'll fix the bone and then just move on to the next piece of surgery. He's very, very good at what he does, but perhaps his patient management and patient care could do with a little work!"

Has there been room to put your own stamp on the character?
"It's a collaborative process - the writers and the producers have their own idea of where they want the character to go, but they're quite happy for actors to have their own ideas. And, of course, how the character ends up very much depends on which actor is chosen for the role. I suppose, inevitably, the writers will end up writing for the character as played by the actor, so it does change but not drastically. At the moment I'm very happy about where the character is going and have been very happy to do what the writers and producers have suggested."

What was your first day on set like?
"It was incredibly nerve-wracking! I thought that I looked as cool as a cucumber, but I was told on day three that my shoulders had come down by about a foot! (Laughs) By that point, I wasn't looking so much like a rabbit caught in the headlights. But everyone was really kind and helped me out. I'd been worried about remembering all of the medical jargon, but my biggest nightmare was putting on those rubber gloves that Dan has to wear! There were fingers everywhere and it looked like I had a cow's udder stuck to my arm! But I've practised a bit and I'm better at putting on the rubber gloves now. In comparison, the medical terms have been a doddle."

New characters sometimes come into Holby with a secret or a dark past. Will Dan be the same?
"There's certainly some revelations on the horizon! I don't think he has a particularly dark past, but I think there are a few twists and turns. But there's nothing that I'm allowed to reveal just yet…"

> Click here to read more from Adam Astill in Soap Scoop

Adam Astill's first Holby City episode airs next Tuesday at 8pm on BBC One. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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