A Spanish main man

Oct 29 2004 By Gordon Barr, The Evening Chronicle

Having three plum roles in one Royal Shakespeare Company season is enough to make any actor envious. And Joseph Millson, ex-dishy doctor in ITV's Peak Practice, is certainly enjoying his stint in the RSC's Spanish Season.

Only problem is, with three roles to play, and with the productions playing alternate nights, he sometimes has trouble remembering who he is. "I've had to give my characters little mannerisms to remember them by," laughs Joseph, during a well-earned break during The Spanish Season's Stratford run.

Joseph became a familiar TV face as Dr Sam Morgan in Peak Practice, starring in 49 episodes of the hit drama. He won the hearts of millions of viewers as the hunky medic, even being nominated in the best actor stakes at the National TV Awards. But he is clearly relishing his return to the theatre, and securing the three roles with the RSC.

When we meet, he's casually dressed, extremely amiable and it's easy to see why he proved such a hit on the box with his Hollywood-esque looks, chiselled features and smoldering eyes.

"It was a strange time," admits Joseph, 30, looking back on his Peak Practice days. "It took a bit of time, I'd say six months, before I started getting noticed by the public. "I'd be on the Tube in London, and I'd catch someone looking at me, then I'd look up the carriage and people were looking at me. In the next carriage people were looking at me. "I'm sure they probably all individually thought they knew me, but couldn't place me. It was weird. "But I had no hassle as such. But you do get a bit paranoid about it. Every person you walk past you think is looking at you, and, of course, they're not. "I had this minor celebrity thing going on for a while, and I don't envy those people who have it 24-7."

Joseph seems to be working 24-7 these days, taking roles in The Dog In The Manger, House of Desires and Pedro, The Great Pretender, all at the People's Theatre, in Heaton, Newcastle, from next week.

"It's great working so closely with everyone in these productions," he says. "And we haven't had time to over-analyse things. We've worked solidly for months with these productions, but we're surprising ourselves even now."

One of the Spanish Season highlights has to be House of Desires, a high-energy, albeit a tad confusing, farce which I caught a couple of months ago in Stratford. "It's amazing, but the audiences just seem to get it," laughs Joseph. "I don't even know if we actually get it, after all this time. "We were confused throughout the entire rehearsal. And I think some of us still are - at times!"