Inside Soap – 10-16th February 2007

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Simon MacCorkindale as Harry Harper in CasualtySpin Doctor

Harry is elected Holby’s new MP – but we haven’t seen the last of actor Simon MacCorkindale on the hospital wards. . .

Ever since we heard that Simon MacCorkindale was planning to quit his role as Casualty’s Harry Harper, the Inside Soap team has be distraught. How on earth would the emergency department ever be able to cope without him? And who else could offer the patients such a charming bedside manner? Luckily, when we put these questions to the man himself, it didn’t take him long to quell our worries. . .

“I’m taking a short break from the show but can assure you that I’ll be back soon,” he grins, “I’m signed up to play Harry for at least the rest of the year, and after that who knows? The producers might decide that they want a new consultant – I’m definitely not leaving just yet, though.”

While we’re relieved that Simon will be sticking around, the actor does mention that Harry’s in for a change of career. Having campaigned to become a local MP – in an attempt to help the bid to save Holby City Hospital’s ED from closure – the clinical lead is stunned when it’s announced that he’s won the by-election.

“At first, I think Harry’s quite pleased, and there’s definitely that sense of a job well done,” explains Simon, who has been married to actress Susan George for more than 22 years. “But then it dawns on him what all this actually means. He has to leave the job that he loves and goo off to be a politician. It’s something he really hasn’t thought through fully.”

A move into politics is bound to come as a shock to the system for dedicated doctor Harry. However, Simon has nothing but praise for the latest plot devised by the Casualty writers – especially as it reflects what’s really going on in the NHS.

“It’s based on absolute truth, and I know of at least two doctors who have won elections like this,” he shares. “Just like Harry, they want to help make decisions that will influence the health service.”

“This storyline will also allows me to take a five-month break from the show,” continues Simon, who celebrates his 55th birthday this week. “Of course I think that’s a great idea. It gives me a chance to come back nice and refreshed afterwards.”

Having worked on the hospital drama since 2002, it’s no surprise that Simon has picked up a few medical tips along the way. But while it’s allowed him to be of help in some tricky situations, he does reckon being a well-known ‘doctor’ also has it’s downsides.

“There have been times when there’s been an accident, and I’ve jumped straight into action,” reveals Simon. “I have to remind myself that it’s not really my job – although I have been able to calm casualties down on a few occasions which is something, at least.”

“But I also get stopped in the supermarket by people who want to talk to me about their bad leg, for example,” adds the actor. “I just tell them that if they don’t leave me alone, they’ll end up with two!”


Also in the same issue – Simon’s Horoscope

Simon MacCorkindale – 12 Feb

Ruled by unorthodox and independent Uranus, Aquarians are easily bored and seek out experiences and people that give them a buzz.

In this way, Casualty star Simon MacCorkindale (Harry Harper) was drawn to his wife, actress Susan George.

“I didn’t want to fall in love, but she was a breath of fresh air,” he smiles. “The thing that first hit me about Susie was her openess.”

Aquarians also harbour a prevailing sense of duty and obligation. . .

“You don’t realise the enormous responsibility you have as an actor,” explains Simon, who’s amazed by the number of people who recognise him.

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