Tell us about your character:
Donny is a Prison Officer with higher aspirations. He is a genuine guy, caring and dedicated to his job. He actually listens to what the inmates say, rather than use his authority to make decisions, and the inmates begin to realise this and see him as one of the good guys.
How has Donny ended up on G-Wing?
Donny’s been transferred from another wing at Larkhall but he’s secretly on a mission. His colleagues and the inmates don’t know he is working as a Police Liaison Officer – so he’s basically a spy – he thinks of himself a bit like James Bond!
Why do you think Donny works in a prison?
Donny originally wanted to get in to the police but didn’t make the training course. But he’s happy working in the prison service and takes his work very seriously.
Do you sympathise with your character or have respect for the way that they operate?
I do sympathise with Donny - he has a good heart, he thinks before he speaks and genuinely tries to get along with all the inmates. He carries out his duties to the best of his ability and I respect that in any person.
Do you share similar personality traits with your character?
In every character you play there are some similarities – Donny is basically a good guy at heart and I suppose I hope I am like that as well.
Explain how you are different to your character:
We do have a number of differences; I guess we are bit like chalk and cheese. I could never be and have no desire to be a Prison Officer so that’s the major difference.
If you met your character in real life, would you get along with them?
If I didn’t know he was a Prison Officer, I think we would get along as he seems like a nice guy. But I don’t think I would feel the same if I knew what his job was.
If there was one thing that you could change about your character, what would it be?
I don’t think I would change anything about Donny – he has good points and bad points, which makes him a rounded character.
What character does your character get on with best and why?
Donny gets on best with Janine Nebeski. He likes her immediately and sees she’s a soft person on the inside even though she plays the tough girl. He knows she is naïve but he sees she has a good heart. They have great chemistry between them; it can’t help but grow to something more.
Do you think it will be true love?
I think that it could turn into true love between Donny and Janine as they really fancy each other. Their relationship is also exciting as it’s completely forbidden for a guard to get involved with one of the prisoners. So by keeping everything so secret it builds a great sense of excitement and danger.
What has been your favourite storyline of this series so far, involving your character?
I like the story at the beginning of the show when Donny volunteers to be the personal officer of a new inmate. The police think she’s hiding the location of her terrorist husband. So Donny is secretly working undercover for the police, trying to gain information from her. The trouble is he gets to like this lady so then he becomes torn between doing his job well and betraying her confidence. It is a tough personal battle for Donny and I enjoyed the storyline.
What is the worst thing that you have ever done?
That would be telling…
Protestors are often arrested over an issue that they feel strongly about. Is there any issue that you feel strongly enough about that you would protest against at the risk being arrested?
I don’t do politics and don’t push my beliefs or feelings on to other people so I can’t imagine publicly protesting about any issue.
Are you involved with any charities?
I support Cancer Research and MS.
How did you feel the very first time you walked onto the HMP Larkhall set?
I was amazed the first time I saw the Bad Girls set, it was smaller than I imagined, but all sets are. But it is very real and impressive.
How did you feel when you were offered this role?
I was over the moon when I got the call that they wanted me to join Bad Girls, it’s a great program to be part of.
What are the best and worst things about being involved with Bad Girls?
One of the best things is that you get more time to work through scenes, compared to soaps, so you have more time to work with your character’s reaction etc. But I don’t enjoy the early morning starts.
What do your friends and family think about you being in the show?
I’m an actor so in their mind, it is just another job.
Bad Girls the Musical has just been on stage in Leeds. What do you think about Bad Girls moving from the small screen to the stage?
I personally prefer television to musicals but I can see how they could do it – the characters are big and bold enough to do so. But I have heard it got amazing reviews. Some of the current Bad Girls cast went to see it and really enjoyed it.
What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I go to the gym, watch TV, just try and relax basically.
You’ve had a break from acting since Eastenders – what’s it like being back and how have you settled in to a drama series?
It took me a month to settle in to a new routine and to get to know everyone. But I really enjoy it now. It is nice to have more time to do scenes and to be able to work with some really good directors.
How is Bad Girls different to Eastenders in terms of filming?
Bad Girls is shot with a single camera which means you have to spend a lot longer doing the scene as the camera has to capture the reactions/responses from all the characters involved in that scene. Whereas soaps like Eastenders are multi-camera so the process is a lot quicker.
What have you been doing since Eastenders?
I’ve had some time off since Eastenders and did some travelling. I went to Australia, I really enjoyed it. They’ve got some beautiful beaches there. I also did some renovating on my home. And I also went to Malaysia, Spain and America.
If you were in prison for real, how would you make the most of time?
I would do a lot of reading and train in something. Perhaps learn a language.
Prior to Bad Girls, what role are you most well known for?
That would have to be Ricky in Eastenders.
What was your first ever acting role?
My first ever role was in an Oliver Twist film. This was probably my first ever paying job as well.
Where were you born and brought up?
Where do you live now?
I’m based in France now when I’m not working in the UK.