Former EastEnders star Shaheen Jafargholi makes his Casualty debut as upbeat new nurse Marty Kirby tonight, a role that seems a world away from Walford’s Shakil Kazemi who, as soap fans will know, came to a tragic end after being fatally stabbed earlier this year. Here, the 21-year-old actor catches up with RadioTimes.com to give us the lowdown on his new character…
So, Shaheen – what’s the move from Walford to Holby been like? Presumably, you now have a lot of medical jargon to learn?
It’s crazy. You wouldn’t believe the amount of things I have to say in one day that I don’t understand. I’m constantly saying these words that I’ve never heard in my life before. I can’t believe that people decided to create words that are so difficult. I’m just so bad with pronunciation, so when we’re about to do a talk, I’m frantically asking people to just say the word again so I can get it into my head. But it’s really fun and a really exciting challenge to be doing something so different to what I was doing previously.
You seemed to get the role of Marty very soon after leaving EastEnders. Is that right?
Yes, it can’t have been more than a month and a bit. I read for the part, went on holiday, and by the time I came back, it was all happening. It was a pretty wild couple of weeks. But I’m very much a go-with-the-flow type of person. And I’ve been filming here now since July, so it doesn’t feel that new to me anymore. I feel quite settled and it’s such a nice environment to be in. And it’s nice to be in Wales again because I am actually Welsh.
Have you moved to Cardiff then?
Well, I’m dividing my time. I’m living in a hotel while I’m filming Casualty because I really love my home in London. I don’t feel like I’m ready to fully commit to a move yet, so I’m making it work for work purposes. But Cardiff is quite simple to get to.
There’s a lovely scene in your first episode where Marty – instead of being intimidated by Connie – is just very impressed by her high heels. Was that fun to play?
Yes, and that scene really sums Marty up. He and Jade [Gabriella Leon] bring this burst of energy and life in to the ED that none of the others are expecting. But you’ll certainly see them get put through their paces, especially in the first couple of weeks. Marty is a very hardworking person, but he combines work and pleasure too much and needs to focus a little bit more. For me, though, it’s nice to be able to provide the fun element in what is a predominantly serious show.
And how was it for you getting to grips with the way Casualty is filmed?
It’s all very impressive – it’s like a perfectly well-oiled machine and a lot of the people who work on it have been there for a number of years, so they’re used to the choreography of it all. So it was initially daunting and exciting. Because Casualty is just killing it at the moment – it’s really soaring and it’s gone beyond just being a regular drama. It’s genuinely loved. And I think that’s because it’s really pushing the boundaries.
And it is, of course, a show that you’ve done before…
Yes, though I keep on forgetting that I was in it before! I think I was about six years-old and my character had incurable hiccups. Thats why he’d ended up in the ED. Maybe that character grew up to be Marty and now I’m back as a nurse. That’s my own personal theory anyway!
See Shaheen Jafargholi make his first appearance as Marty on Casualty tonight at 9.10pm on BBC1