Dr Burnett (Damian O'Hare)

is the latest new arrival to The Royal. Nick starts off on the wrong foot with Nurse Marian McKaig, but she soon sees a different side to him.

Northern and plain-speaking, Dr Burnett has joined the staff at The Royal as a locum in the absence of Dr Mike Banner. Nick arrives without any firm plans to remain long-term, but it seems possible the attractions of a certain nurse might persuade him to stay around longer.


How would you describe your character, Nick Burnett?
Heís very passionate about his work but, in the constraints of time, he can come across as quite rebellious. Maybe itís because he doesnít wear a tie and has a penchant for leather jackets. You can definitely see the new order coming through in Dr Burnett; heís of a younger generation of doctors. He cares very passionately about his work and the patients, but heís always fighting against the old order. Despite this, Burnett is quite diplomatic. He wonít just charge in, as he knows these things wonít be changed straight away. Heís confident in his ability and isnít afraid to voice his opinion. He has won great allies in Gordon and Jill, and as a consequence the relationship between them is wonderful. I think everyone realises he knows what heís doing.

Can you tell us about his dramatic journey to The Royal?
Dr Burnett is on a train on his way to The Royal and it just so happens that Nurse Marian McKaig is on the way back to the hospital and is in the same carriage as him. Marian doesnít know Nick is her new work colleague. There is a terrible crash and, when Nick and Marian eventually escape, they work together to help a lot of the casualties.

What was it like to film the crash?
That episode is my entrance into the series. It was great to do and a fantastic way to arrive. We filmed it in a beautiful place near the Yorkshire Dales. It was an arduous two week shoot, but very exciting. We were hoping to have glorious weather, as we filmed it in the summer, but it rained solidly and we were up to our knees in mud! It was frustrating at the time, but having watched the episode, it really adds to it. It was my first week of filming so it was great to be involved so heavily, I just threw myself into it. It was also a good way to get to know everyone straight away. Everyone looked after me, although I was sprayed with cold water a few times.

Did you do any stunts?
I had to do a few stunts which I enjoyed as it makes you feel more involved. You know youíre going to be alright as youíre surrounded by professionals. I had to climb up a very tall ladder with things falling out on top of me. There were no Indiana Jones moments. I think a suitcase falling on top of my head was the worst of it.

Does Dr Burnett fancy Marian? Do you think romance is on the horizon?
Yes, thereís an instant chemistry between them after their ordeal on the train. Itís a traumatic experience and it brings them closer together. They have a professional demeanour around them, but there is an instant connection which develops throughout the series. Every now and then they cross each other, but thereís definitely a bond there. Kariís a wonderful actress and we got to know each other really well during the first couple of weeks filming the train crash scenes, so there was never any awkwardness.

Do you enjoy playing a doctor?
Yes, it makes a nice change. Normally I play thugs or soldiers, so it was nice to be playing a character that uses big words. My dad is a doctor himself and actually works in a hospital called The Royal in Belfast. Itís helpful now, but it wasnít when I was a kid trying to bunk off school as he always knew when I was faking. I have three siblings and two of them are studying medicine now, so there are four doctors in the family - although I didnít have to do any medical training.

Do you speak to them to help research the role?
I do ask them every now and then, but thankfully things arenít too complicated. I find it very interesting and itís good to have the opportunity to do it Ė or at least pretend to do it.

Were you excited when you got the role in The Royal?
Yes, it has a big following and it was good to have a change of scene. Iíve lived in London for ten years and I hadnít really been to Yorkshire before. Iíve settled in really well and everyoneís been so friendly.

(c) ITV / Yorkshire Television