Jack Ellis certainly looks very much alive, and talks about his character Jim Fenner’s dice with death at the hands of Shell Dockley (Debra Stephenson). “I’ve never been stabbed in real life or in any role as an actor. I didn’t know what I was going to do on the day, it just sort of happened and it seemed to work! I didn’t sit at home preparing or get my wife to stab me with blunt instruments! I think the thing was not to immediately scream, the pain comes later. It was the physical demise as Jim’s life is draining away that was harder, how to map that life ebb flowing away. There was a lot of white make-up and a lot of blood - and lying on a trolley for several hours! I was even left with all tubes attached, while everyone went off on a break.”
Jack is enjoying his role, which is certainly getting him a reputation as one of the most hated characters on TV! “From an audience point of view last series he was always crossing the line. But in his eyes he doesn’t see what he has done with Shell, behind locked doors, as wrong – he has always thought, well, fair enough. But taking a ‘bung’ from Yvonne (Linda Henry) was bad, even in his eyes. He got away with it though but he is on the downward spiral.
“I think this series we might see a more vulnerable side to him – if he survives the stabbing! Possibly a romantic side to him, even though he has a wife! But maybe the wife will be taking a back seat for another woman? He is certainly not a man in control any more.”
So is Jim Fenner getting easier to play? “This series is different for me because there is an element of relaxation, having done the first two series and knowing the character – but you just never know what’s around the corner for him!”
Jack Ellis is married to the actress Christine Kavanagh (Chimera, The Black Heath Poisonings) and they have a young family. He is the youngest of three brothers: the eldest an actor and his middle brother is a TV director in LA.
Jack’s television credits include: DI Muddiman in Prime Suspect, Dr. Stephen Collier in An Unsuitable Job For A Woman, Alex Moore in City Central, Eddie Barton in The Knock and Malcolm in Heartbeat.