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The Box: Gimme, gimme, gimme a role in Holby.

Byline: ROZ LAWS

IT takes confidence to turn down a guaranteed job in the hope that you might get a better one. But the gamble paid off for actress Kelly Adams, who has now landed a plum role in Holby City. She plays new nurse Mickie Hendrie, who works on the maternity ward, but she could also have been singing on a West End stage.

Just days before the Holby directors made their casting decision, Kelly was offered a part in the smash hit Mamma Mia! musical. But it was a case of The Winner Takes It All when the news from Holby came through.

Now Kelly is featured in a documentary which follows three new Holby City and Casualty characters from conception through casting to their arrival on screen.

Kelly found herself inventing a history for her character during the lengthy audition process.

'I really do like Mickie, although she takes herself very seriously,' says the 24-year-old drama school graduate. 'I decided that she hadn't had boyfriends. Then I spoke to the director and she said 'Well, she's a virgin and she hasn't had lots of boyfriends' -everything that I'd made up already.

'Before I started filming I'd never even held a baby, but I was thrown in at the deep end in my first scene when Mickie had to deliver a baby all by herself.

'Then we were doing a Caesarean the other day. When we got to the bit where they break the waters, nobody told me that it was going to spray everywhere -it was like a fountain! I hope I'm not on that take because it went all over us. Everyone else was really cool and I was just running around going 'Uggh!'.

'Three weeks ago my sister had a gorgeous little girl, so now I'm absolutely fine with babies. There's a big board in the maternity ward at workwith all the babies' pictures on it. I've moved them all and put a picture of her slap-bang in the middle, so she's on TV already!'

The Making It At Holby documentary also follows Simon Kassianides as he is cast as a Casualty patient called Steve. Each newcomer is given their own mentor and Simon's is James Redmond, who plays Abs.

Jaye Jacobs, who plays new Holby City nurse Donna Jackson, is taken under the wing of Jan Pearson (Sister Kath).

Jaye remembers the gruelling seven-week round of auditions for the part.

'The early auditions were workshops and just about getting to know our personalities, so we had to do things like go out to Portobello Market and have our photos taken with an octogenarian and come back with a pomegranate, which was all pretty funny.

'But when you get down to the last five or six, it's quite tense and you really feel the pressure.'

Jaye admits to being a little squeamish around some of the more gory patients.

'It looks really horrible, but it's better if you know what things are made of. You come in at 7am and you're faced with something quite gross, but you prod it and they tell you what it's made of and then it's OK!

'And the job has a lot of benefits, including getting paid to kiss people. Though I have really sensitive skin and I've been covered in stubble rash for weeks.'

Making It At Holby also features acclaimed names talking about their TV breaks, including Robson Green who shot to fame as Jimmy the porter in Casualty way back in 1989.

The hospital has been a breeding ground for a host of stars, such as Kate Winslet, Parminder Nagra, Helen Baxendale, Minnie Driver and Orlando Bloom.


STAGE FRIGHT: turning down a role in Mamma Mia! paid off for Kelly Adams; SICK BED: Simon Kasianides and 'mentor' James Redmond; START: Robson Green as Jimmy Powell in Casualty
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 21, 2004
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