BBC Casualty & Holby City site

What is the man behind Holby's most frightening figure like? George Irving tells all ...

Can you tell us a bit about Mr Meyer?

Meyer is the boss of surgery in Holby hospital. He has a reputation of being very demanding. Heís extremely good at his job and expects everyone else to be extremely good at their jobs, and that is reflected in the way he acts towards them.

Could you describe Anton in three words?

Certain, collected and passionate.

Whatís been your best moment on set so far?

I was very proud of something that happened in the very first episode of series one. In that episode Meyer was going out for the night, and put his dinner clothes under his uniform. During the course of the scene I tied my bow tie, and Iíd never done that before. I practised it for a long time, before I could do it... Itís things like that that you become proud of, because it involves doing two things at once, which is always a problem for actors.

Is it difficult doing the surgical scenes?

The things that you find convincing in Meyerís surgery are determined by the professionals that come on set. Itís all checked by our surgical advisors so itís very accurate. I just do the rest, I hope itís convincing.

How do you feel about being viewed as a sex symbol?

Itís a strange thing because I tend to see it as Meyer rather than me. I can see why people find Meyer sexy, heís an enabler, heís an able man, heís a strong man. Thereís also that attraction for surgeons because itís a 'your life in their hands' kind of appeal. Iím talking about appeal rather than finding someone sexy. Itís hard for me to say because I donít find him sexy!

How similar are you to him?

I donít think he does anything that Iím incapable of, I can lose my temper as can he. Iím capable of the upside and the downside of Meyer, but I do it in different proportions to him. His arrogance quotient is about 75% whereas mine is about 40%. I recognise him as a character, I donít have a problem standing in his shoes.

What kind of home life do you imagine he has?

I think itís richer than people would imagine. He has an image of being married to his job, and his wife would have to be very patient. She would have to have her own career because he would only be married to an equal, someone who complements him. We also know that he has a daughter who is about 12. He also does a lot of charitable work.

What do you think makes him tick?

I think he grew up with something very fervent in him about wanting to do this job. You donít get as good as he is without being driven by something specific. Itís also partly something to do with his status as a Hungarian. He was bought over to this country when he was seven by his mother and father. Though heís been in this country most of his life, his experience was one of a refugee family. So heís always had some sort of humanitarian cause, and this is the one that won out.

What would you like to see happen to him this series?

Iíd like him to become Secretary General of the United Nations I think!

Are you squeamish at all?

No Iím not. When I first started the job I went to a training hospital to watch an operation. I wasnít up in the gallery I was right in there. I wasnít squeamish at all and found the whole thing absolutely extraordinary. There was something very beautiful about it.

Can you tell me one surprising fact about yourself?

I used to teach English to a bunch of business men. By the end of the day I was always tired, because as I was an actor I felt the need to be entertaining as well. I just ran out of steam and dropped it!

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