Bluestone 42’s Oliver Chris: “Nick and Mary’s relationship takes an awesome turn”

The star of BBC3's bomb disposal comedy talks sunny South Africa, playing philanderers and acting with Harry Potter's Matthew Lewis

Oliver Chris is best known for playing caddish Captain Nick Medhurst in Bluestone 42 and philandering Dr Richard Truscott in Breathless. He avoided the miserable autumn drizzle in favour of South Africa where series two of the BBC3 bomb disposal comedy is being filmed – although he’s missing London’s Dickensian pre-Christmas misery… 


You’re making a name for yourself playing womanising characters in Bluestone 42 and Breathless – are you starting to get reproachful looks from the opposite sex?

I haven’t been in England since Breathless has been out so I don’t know how people have taken it but I am playing a lot of these womanising, slightly flawed arrogant characters so I think maybe the world’s trying to tell me something. The weird thing is I’m not sure any of my characters ever really get the women. 

Are they starting to rub off on you in real life?

I’m not much of a philanderer. I’m a terrible, terrible liar so I’d be really bad at cheating on my girlfriend and I don’t think I’m quite as confident as those characters I play. I get to do all the womanising without any of the consequences or the emotional and moral guilt so it’s quite a nice relief. And also in TV land I get all the hot girls.

While you’re busy sunning yourself in South Africa, is there anything quintessentially British you’ve been missing?

I miss the beginning of Christmas – that whole build up when everyone whinges about how it’s too early to have Christmas decorations and when the nights start getting colder and everyone starts getting grumpy about the drizzle and the cold. It appeals to my love of that Dickensian misery that London does so well. I’m here in the sunshine but in my heart it’s cold and wet and the nights are closing in. At this time of year I like to wrap myself up in my biggest, warmest coat, turn my collar to the wind and walk down the street while a bus trundles past and splashes me with a puddle. 

Errr… right. You’ve got Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis joining the cast this series as Nick’s deputy, Gordon “Towerblock” House – how’s that been? 

He’s playing a very different part to the whole Neville Longbottom thing and it’s great to have him on board. He adds an absolutely brilliant dynamic to the team, playing a chippy, northern, flat cap-wearing Leeds supporter.

So, what can we expect from Bluestone 42’s festive offering

The episode is about being stuck in a horrible place over Christmas and how this unit get by. Just surviving in the misery of being away from home and your family at Christmas and for these guys, Christmas presents are gunfire and insurgents trying to kill them so… happy Christmas!

Nick and Mary (played by Kelly Adams) are the Ross and Rachel of Bluestone 42 – will they ever get together or is that too boring? 

I’ll tell you what, it takes an awesome turn. We had a big debate about this when the guys were putting the script together and we were wondering how to handle it. Will they/won’t they storylines are so classic, particularly in comedy, and they just go on and on. We’re an army unit and we’ve got so much more exciting stuff to talk about so we talked a lot about how to handle it and all I can tell you is they came up with an awesome, awesome way to deal with it which is absolutely brilliant.

Because Nick has some competition this series…

There is a government minister, yes. And he’s all Mr Perfect. He’s not much liked before he arrives because he’s a politician and when he takes a shine to Mary, they pretty much do everything in their power to bully him off the base as soon as possible. They deal with it in the way they deal with most things – in a childish, schoolboy sort of way. 

And Nick also encounters an unwelcome blast from the past – who’s that? 

It’s Nick’s ex-best mate – they had a big bust up and now suddenly they’re forced to work together and he’s Nick’s superior in some way so it makes for quite an interesting dynamic. 

Bluestone 42’s Christmas special airs on Monday 23 December at 10:00pm on BBC3. Series 2 will air on BBC3 in the new year