New Casualty star Charles Venn can’t wait for viewers to see his debut on Saturday.
And the appearance has been a long time coming for the show’s latest recruit.
“I’ve been here filming for five months now,” confides the former EastEnder as we catch up on the Cardiff set of the BBC’s long-running medical drama.
“That’s the longest I’ve ever had to wait in terms of shooting something for TV and then waiting for it to air.
“It’s been strange having it be that long.
“I was shooting a scene with Sunetra Sarker, who plays Zoe, recently and when I told her I still hadn’t aired yet she couldn’t believe it.
“It’s much longer than she had to wait and it’s been a really odd experience.
“In other jobs I’ve shot my stuff and six weeks later it’s out there.
“There’s a huge sense of anticipation and I want to get the vibe from the public about my character.”
Charles arrives as nurse Jacob Masters, who makes an instant impression on the emergency department when he bursts in looking to see that his friend is being looked after properly.
“He’s definitely a confident guy,” laughs Charles, so well-known as Ray Dixon in Albert Square.
“People might think what a cool dude he is or they might decide he’s one arrogant fella.
“I really don’t know. I’m never one to assume anything in this business.
“All I can do is play Jacob to the best of my capabilities, make sure my employers are happy and hope the viewers enjoy what we’ve been working on.
“Jacob’s an unconventional individual who was an army medic for a time and is a highly qualified nurse.
“He’s not one to mince his words and his style is controversial, but he definitely gets the job done.
“He can rub some people up the wrong way and ruffle feathers but it’s all about the end result for him.”
Jacob might divide opinion but an encounter with Charles is a refreshingly positive and enjoyable experience.
He’s not only taken time from line-learning to speak to The Sunday Post, he’s doing so on his birthday his 42nd.
“You’re not spoiling my plans at all,” he insists.
“You’re part of the enjoyment of the day.
“We’re talking about Casualty, the biggest medical drama on TV.
“It’s an honour to be part of this show.
“If you had told me 30 years ago as a 12-year-old boy that one day I’d feature in it I’d have thought you were pulling my leg.
“It’s a wonderful experience and I’m enjoying every minute.”
Footballer’s Wives and the recent The Musketeers are just a couple of his other credits, but he’s most associated with Walford’s Ray.
“They’re vastly different characters.
“They’re both charming individuals but Ray wore his heart on his
sleeve while Jacob can be a bit manipulative.
“I enjoyed my time on EastEnders but everything has its time and must run its course.
“There’s obviously a lot of attention that comes from being in something as big as EastEnders.
“We’re all human and you have good days and bad days.
“I became used to people noticing and if people do spot someone they’ve seen on television you have to expect a reaction.
“But there were times when you could be in the supermarket and someone treats you like an inanimate object.
“That could be challenging, but it comes with the territory.”
Londoner Charles has had experience of seeing how some of the biggest names in the business handle all the attention, having had parts in Batman movie The Dark Knight and action flick The Bourne Ultimatum.
“They were surreal experiences,” he adds.
“I remember doing a scene with Heath Ledger, who played the Joker and I was just in awe.
“You live for moments like that. It was the same thing working with Matt Damon.
“They weren’t huge roles but I learned so much. It was a privilege to get an inside look at things no one else is going to see.”
Casualty, BBC One, Saturday.