Former Corrie star John Michie talks about his upcoming role as Holby City Hospital’s CEO Guy Self.
Did you do any research into being Karl Munro i.e. a psychopath and what did that consist of?
A big part of Karl’s make up was his gambling problem, so I spent a long time speaking with members of Gamblers Anonymous. It was great to learn from them and it was from their insight that I understood a lot about Karl. He had an addictive personality, who needed constant highs, which inevitably came with crashing lows. These brought on depression and dangerous behaviour.
If you could choose any of your onscreen professions as a real life profession what would it be?
Neurosurgeon definitely! It’s the most fascinating of all of them. Having said that, in the film “To Walk with Lions” I played Tony Fitzjohn and to work in the Kenyan bush with lions would be very appealing.
Did you do any special preparation for your role on Holby City?
I spent some time with a surgeon, watching him operate. It was an amazing time I will never forget. It wasn’t just the operations themselves; I observed the consultant’s demeanour. He was friendly and chatty, but with an unspoken authority, that every one of his colleagues were aware of. I’ve tried to bring that to my performance of Guy Self.
What was your first day on Holby City like?
The Holby sets are so big and realistic! They are, on the one hand, great and impressive – but they are also intimidating. When you have to exude arrogance and absolute self-confidence in your first scenes, it’s a challenge – especially as I had to deliver a 30 line speech to a host of regular Holby characters.
What do you think Guy’s strengths are?
Guy is utterly committed to his job, which means he’s ruthless. He’s not unkind, but if anyone got in his way… This is coupled with incredible self-belief. I have friends who are medical consultants and the confidence they have in themselves means they are ready to challenge people, beliefs and protocol. Guy’s a five star general on the front line.
What are Guy’s weaknesses?
I think his weaknesses are the same as his strengths. He has to make judgment calls and you can’t always get them right. Guy’s also one of these men who lives big highs and lows. It’s how he operates. It means when he comes off the rails, he does so spectacularly and he could stumble and fall at any point as he pushes himself and others to the limit.
I also think that women will be a weakness for Guy…
Is there a particular actor you’ve enjoyed working with since joining the cast?
I could name a number of actors, but in particular Guy has had some great clashes with Serena. And Catherine is a great person to work with.
How different is filming Holby City compared with Coronation Street?
The dialogue in Corrie was very reactive; the conversation flowed between the people in the scene. In Holby, Guy initiates new thoughts; normally this is because he has just made a very impressive medical diagnosis – which comes with impossible medical jargon to learn!