Holby City star Nic Jackman on playing Dr Cameron Dunn
PUBLISHED: 16:39 03 December 2020
Norfolk Holby City actor reveals lockdown life and how he plays Dr Cameron Dunn
BBC hospital drama Holby City is one on the most popular shows on the box, with millions following the twists and turns of the far-from-everyday lives of the characters - including the villainous Dr Cameron Dunn, played by Norfolk actor Nic Jackman. This year has thrown a few real-life plot twists at us, of course, and for Nic the halting of filming in the first lockdown meant a change of scenery.
“When I’m filming I stay in a flat, but I had some time off and I was visiting my mum and then it was announced we were standing down and there would be a national lockdown, so I was in Norfolk. We were very fortunate that she had a garden and with the weather we spent much of it outside, it allowed me to see her really! She’s got three alpacas too which is quite unusual, but everyone is quite fascinated by them!
“Mum lives about 20 minutes from Norwich, she’s more out of the city and into the countryside and certainly it was quiet, the roads were quiet and because we were really fortunate with the weather, we could be outside! That made it more bearable for us, but I appreciate there are lots of people who didn’t have the luxury of a garden or getting outside as much,” says Nic
“I was born in Norfolk, I’ve lived there and spent my childhood there and only came to London when I went to drama school and started working professionally. My heart is very much in Norfolk; I’m very much a country boy and I recently bought a little house in Norwich so I will be moving there, and Norwich will be home!’
Nic grew up and went to school in Attleborough in the heart of the county, though he does like to head for the sea when he needs to switch off from the fast-paced life of being an actor:
“I love the coastline we’ve got – it’s fantastic. Holkham has a fantastic beach for walking. I love Wells, there are loads of places on the coast that are fantastic and Cromer! I really love the seaside, so whenever I can get to the sea that’s where I’m happiest,” he says.
“I really like Norwich; I think it’s a lovely city. It’s got a great art school and a great university; I think there’s a really interesting mix of people in Norwich. Certainly, in the last few years we’ve seen more brilliant and independent coffee shops and restaurants. Hopefully when things get back to normal that’s where I’ll spend quite a bit of my time.”
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When Nic’s character Cameron Dunn first arrived on the hospital wards, he was a far cry from the person he is today. Since the death of his well-respected mother, Bernie Wolfe, Cameron has become a surprising villain of Holby City hospital, using his manipulative skills to get what he wants, when he wants and, as viewers have seen in recent episodes, Cameron goes to new lows to become the hero of the ward – even deliberately making a patient’s injuries worse so he can fix them and look like he’s a talented young surgeon.
Nic told us how it feels to play the darker side to Cameron: “I love it because of the challenge that’s involved with that and taking on this journey. We’re now seeing a much darker path that Cam is going down so for me it’s something I can really get my teeth into and kind of have fun exploring the darker side to him. It’s definitely the most interesting stuff I’ve had!”
How does Nic feel when he gets the scripts and learns what Cameron is up to next? “Sometimes the actors or cast can know where the character or where the journey is going, but I quite like not knowing because I get a real pleasure in opening a script – it’s like opening a little present. Cameron has so many ‘oh my god’ moments that I absolutely love opening a script now and just reading to find out what he’s going to get up to next.”
Past Holby villains have been determined to bring hell to the hospital, and many of them never realised what they were doing was wrong, so is this the same for Cameron as he continues to put patients lives in danger?
“I think it’s got to the point now in that he believes in what he’s doing and believes that it’s necessary. I want to say he knows the difference between right and wrong, but he’s got a line there now where he ultimately believes what he’s doing is the right thing to do, and if people disagree with him, they’re wrong. He manipulates them until they see his way; he’s a massively troubled character. I think it’s really brave for the show and exciting to have this character in the mix too.”
Holby City is on BBC1 and also available on iPlayer.