Michael Thomson in Holby City

Theatre actor Michael Thomson joins Holby City as Jonny Maconie, a charismatic nurse who ends up sleeping with Jac in his first episode. Michael reveals more about the character, and how he feels about coming into the show…

What can you tell us about Jonny?
He’s part of an incredible transplant team that’s been poached by Holby and the team consists of Jonny and an amazing transplant surgeon called Mo Effanga [Chizzy Akudolu, who joins next week]. But he’s the guy who gets all the right people in the room at the same time as the organs. He’s a bit of a lad — he’s funny and charismatic – he’s unlike me in many ways! He’s very good at what he does. And he has endless confidence, but he also cares about his patients, and he’s a bit naughty as well.

We hear he’s a bit of a ladies’ man. Has he left a trail of broken hearts?
I don’t know about that. He comes from a family of women. He has lots of sisters, so he understands women. His best friend is a woman, Mo, and that’s an interesting dynamic.

And he’s going to have a fling with Jac (Rosie Marcel). Will he bring out a different side to Jac?
He’s like the Kryptonite to Jac’s super ice maiden. He’s not intimidated by her on any level, professionally or otherwise. And so that knocks her a bit.

Do they end up sleeping together?
Yes, they do, almost immediately. That’s what I mean when I say ‘success with women’. I’ve never moved as quickly as Jonny does. I think part of that is because Jonny and Jac are completely different creatures. And she doesn’t know what to make of him. It’s not lovey dovey stuff — it’s fiery stuff.

Is there a chance you could become a heart-throb and see yourself getting chased down the road by women?
Well, that’s terrifying, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, and my girlfriend wouldn’t like that, so hopefully that won’t be the case. I think I’m safe there, but thanks for the compliment.

What kind of research did you do for the role?
Holby is very good at organising stuff. There was a guy who’s a brilliant heart surgeon, and he took me on a tour of his hospital and I met a lot of patients and nurses through him. And I went to meetings about the best course of treatment for someone who needed a new organ. It was fascinating. There’s also a massive amount of politics, which is why a show like Holby City is endlessly fascinating because there are so many layers. There’s such a fluctuation of power.

Are you squeamish?
My God, one of my first episodes was a heart and lung transplant and it was just amazing. Surgery is so intense. It’s so hot. Paul Bradley [who plays Elliott Hope] told us a story about him fainting in surgery because it was so hot. So I was really concerned, but they do look after us at Holby City.

In one scene, I have to hand over a heart and lung, and we rehearsed for the crew. I opened the bag and there was a heart and lung in there, and it looked shockingly real. The prosthetics on the show are amazing. I’m not squeamish, but that was freaky.

What was your audition like?
Troublingly easy. I’d just finished a job in the West End, A Round-Heeled Woman, and I’m like a lot of actors where you sit around thinking, ‘I’m never going to get this job.’ But with this I made a conscious decision that I was going to get it. I said goodbye to my missus in the morning, and said, ‘I’m just going to get that job on Holby City.’ I was determined to talk myself into a good place. 

I only did two auditions, and then my agent called me. He was pretending to be grumpy and then he surprised me by saying I’d got the job. I said, ‘Are you kidding me!’ Although I used much more graphic language — I couldn’t believe it!

Tuesday, BBC1

David Collins