Q&A with Jules Knight (Dr Harry Tressler)

We caught up with the actor Jules Knight to talk about his new role as Dr Harry Tressler

What was the first thing you did when you heard that you had got the part?

I was waiting quite a long time to hear back because I did four auditions over a period of two and a half months so by the time it hit New Year’s Eve and there was no word, I’d resigned myself to the fact I hadn’t got the part because I thought I’d hear by then. I was very surprised and very happy when I got the call in early January. I was over the moon.

Did you do any special preparation for your role?

I really enjoyed going to hospital and spending some time with a senior consultant whom I shadowed for a whole day. By the time I left that evening I was knackered and had huge respect for the job they do which is amazing and done under difficult circumstances. It’s fascinating to go on rounds and see surgery as well as see what happens behind the scenes – like in the doctors’ mess. It was very useful to try and get an idea of what it’s like to be a doctor in a real working hospital. It was a fantastic and life changing experience, I learnt a lot.

What do you think Harry’s strengths are?

He’s a very clever, capable doctor. He’s one of those annoying people who finds things come easily to him, whether it be academics or sport or social life. He’s good in lots of different environments. He’s the annoying guy at school who’s good at everything.

What’s Harry’s flaw?

He can be a bit arrogant and he’s so focused on getting what he wants he can be a bit manipulative. He’s got an eye for the ladies which can land him in hot water.

What was your first day like?

It was great – I was quite nervous on the days leading up to it and then as I shot my first scene I actually felt really relaxed and I think that was due to the cast and crew making me feel at home. My first scene was with a load of girls (a scene in Albie’s with Ty, Lauren and Niamh) which broke me in gently. I felt like, having been a singer for the last six years, finally I was doing the thing I should be doing and I felt very in control and pleased to be there.

What’s it like going from performing as a singer to performing as an actor?

The recording process in the singing world is very repetitive, which is similar to filming something in that you film the same scene several times. Most of the work you do as a musician tends to be live work which can feel quite throwaway in that it only exists in that moment. Filming Holby is a major undertaking because of the time it takes to film an episode. It’s more time consuming, but when you complete an episode it’s really satisfying as you feel you’ve all been working towards one goal. It takes time but it’s worth it in the end.

You have a strong fan base already – what have they been saying about your new role?

They’ve been very positive. I’m extremely lucky to have some fantastic support from people and I love to get tweets and Facebook messages. It’s great to hear people’s ideas, opinions and feedback; good or bad.

What scared you about starting on Holby?

The challenge for me was that Harry is a very competent doctor who’s trained for many years. He’s highly academic, highly intelligent and knows exactly what he’s doing, whereas I’m starting completely fresh, I have no medical experience and joining a medical drama and a huge cast and crew is quite a daunting thing to do. I had to pretend that I knew what I was doing from the first day, I was acutely aware that the confidence of my character had to come through from the first scene.

What do you think is in store for Harry?

My main hope is that he is not a bland character. I don’t mind if he’s the guy you love to hate, because I would find that interesting to play and I hope that would be enjoyable to watch. My job is to make him come across as a fully rounded, three dimensional person. Very few people are either all good or all bad, they have good qualities and bad qualities in equal measure.

Holby City Q&As

Read (or watch) all our interviews with the Holby cast and crew here...