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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Network TV BBC Week 44
Casualty feature

EastEnder Jase checks into Casualty

Stephen Lord plays Warren Clements in Casualty

Casualty

Saturday 30 October on BBC ONE

Former EastEnders star Stephen Lord has swapped Walford for Holby to play Warren Clements, the husband of popular nurse Kirsty (Lucy Gaskell) in Casualty. In his first few appearances it's clear that all is not well in the Clements household and that Kirsty is hiding a big secret from her colleagues. Here, Stephen talks about his new role as the controlling and unpredictable former fireman who makes life very difficult for his feisty young wife.

"I think Warren was very different years ago to how he is now," explains Stephen. "He married at an early age and I don't feel he coped well with marriage and having a child. His job was his saving grace working as a fireman. It gave him such a huge purpose in life. But now he can no longer work – for reasons we find out later – his actions have gone from bad to worse. He genuinely loves his daughter Nita and he wants his relationship with Kirsty to work but he hasn't got the skills and is fighting a losing battle with himself and others.

"At times he can be genuinely charming, warm and caring. But he's riddled with self-pity, suffers from low self-esteem and on top of that can be extremely manipulative with an explosive temper."

Salford-born Stephen has kept extremely busy since the violent demise of his popular character Jase Dyer in EastEnders with roles in upcoming feature films Route Irish by Ken Loach, Jackboots Of Whitehall by Ed and Rory McHenry and Desperate Measures by Chris Green. What was it like to come back to another long-running TV drama?

"It felt very easy to go into an established show and do what you need to do," says Stephen. "I never have any preconceptions in terms of what any job will be like. All I know is that I enjoy working with people and doing the work. It was a bonus knowing a few regulars from working with them on previous jobs. I actually did one of my first jobs – a film called Shooting Stars – with Jane Hazlegrove, who plays Dixie and is still a good friend.

"And working with Lucy Gaskell was a joy," he adds. "We struck up a nice rapport and working relationship from the start. I always connect easier with actors who have good instincts, who care about the work and are free from ego. I had never worked with Lucy before but I hope our paths cross again after Casualty."

Later in the series viewers find out that Warren has a dark, aggressive streak, and there were violent undertones in Jase Dyer's life too. Does Stephen find it easy to click into that violent mindset for acting?

"Thankfully I have always found it easy to tune into feeling and being violent in order to then play a scene," says Stephen. "I think Warren is a very flawed character despite his best intentions but I do like to find all of a character's qualities and defects and use them in the best way to serve the story."

Married to actress Elaine Cassidy, with a young daughter, Stephen hopes he's a more supportive husband than the controlling Warren.

"I asked my wife and she says I'm 'the best'," laughs Stephen. "And I never argue with the Mrs!"

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