Casualty’s Melanie Hill addresses rumours she’s quitting BBC show after huge move

Casualty’s Melanie Hill addresses rumours she’s quitting BBC show after huge move

Melanie Hill has been on our screens for 40 years and is currently playing clinical nurse manager Siobhan McKenzie in Casualty, but she’s still gets nervous at auditions

Melanie Hill dismisses rumours that she’s set to quit Casualty
Casualty star Melanie Hill, upped sticks to Cardiff last year to live close to the show’s studios, having previously left London to move to Manchester when she joined Coronation Street.

Yet rather than finding it stressful, she and her husband love starting afresh and exploring a completely new part of the country. “I’ve worked all over and I’ve learnt that you can either get miserable about it and think, ‘Oh, this isn’t where I live,’ or you can embrace it,” she explains.

“My kids have flown the nest – one’s in Australia and one’s in Portsmouth – so we’ve not really got any ties now – we’re footloose and fancy free. I’m not that keen on commuting, so it’s a bit of a pattern and me and my husband now really make the most of where I’m working.”

Melanie says: “We go everywhere together – we were going to move to Glasgow when I did Waterloo Road and we moved to Manchester when I was in Coronation Street. We try to find the best in wherever we end up and actually we’ve decided we really love it in Cardiff, so we might stay permanently. “My husband was a writer, but he’s retired now. He’s very good at pottering, so every time we move there’s a new place to potter.”

Melanie doesn’t have much time for pottering herself however, having established herself as Casualty’s no-nonsense clinical nurse manager Siobhan McKenzie earlier this year. “As long as my brain keeps going, I’m quite happy to carry on working. I love it and I love the routine,” she says.

“I get a bit lost at Christmas when you’ve got time off. I prefer to have structure.” If Melanie sounds happy with her lot, it’s because she is. Although she admits to being a bag of nerves at auditions, away from work she has discovered that mindfulness and the power of nature help her enormously.

Melanie Hill dismisses rumours that she's set to quit Casualty

Melanie Hill dismisses rumours that she’s set to quit Casualty (Image:

WireImage)

Melanie Hill joined Casualty earlier this year

 

Melanie Hill joined Casualty earlier this year (Image:

www.stuartprice.co.uk)

“I started around the time I left Corrie,” she says. “I do mindfulness, grounding and I hug trees. I do it every day. It might sound a bit hippy, but I feel so much better when I’m outside in nature and if I can’t get out every day, I get depressed. “[Mindfulness] is all about living in the moment,”

Melanie explains. “And when you actually do that and stop worrying about what’s gone before and what’s to come, then you take pleasure out of the little tasks that you do during the day and then you enjoy your day.” She adds: “I’ve always been a worrier and I wish I’d known this when I was younger. But when you’ve got kids, you’re making sure they’re alright, so you haven’t really got time to work on yourself much because you’re thinking about them more.”

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This year marks Melanie’s 40th year on our screens. Raised in Sunderland, she began her TV career at the age of 22 in the police drama series Juliet Bravo. Casualty’s Siobhan is actually her 53rd role. In between there have been a host of memorable parts, including Aveline Boswell in Bread, Maggie Budgen in Waterloo Road, Cathy Matthews in Coronation Street and Sandra in the hit 1996 film Brassed Off.

When she’s recognised, it could be from any of her previous shows. “I was out in a hat and glasses last week and someone came up and said, ‘You were in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet weren’t you?’ It was pretty unbelievable considering it was 40 years ago since we did it.” Melanie says her current role in Casualty suits her down to the ground. “Siobhan is like a mother hen,” she says. “She’s very dedicated to her job and very caring. She has a family who have grown up and moved away. She doesn’t take any nonsense from people and she’s got failings. It appealed to me because she’s very much like myself in a lot of ways. “

The long-running BBC One medical drama has been going from strength to strength and recently emerged triumphant after going head-to-head with Emmerdale and EastEnders in a battle of the soaps at the Bafta TV awards. But while overjoyed cast members took to the stage dressed in their finest, Melanie instead toasted the win in her sitting room at home in Cardiff. “I was so happy that we won. Since I’ve joined, I’ve realised what an amazing place it is to work, so it was great news. But I didn’t go to the awards ceremony. I leave that to the youngsters,” she says.

“I’d rather watch it on the telly – that’s my favourite way – with a cup of tea and a curry. It’s lovely cheering from the sides. “To be honest I haven’t ever really enjoyed that side of it – the red carpet and the photographers. I get tongue-tied and nervous and think I might say the wrong thing,” she continues.

She might not be rubbing shoulders with all the other stars on the red carpet, but Melanie has worked alongside some of acting’s best during her career. She was in the 2007 film Stardust with Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole and Michelle Pfeiffer. In 2014 she played Sheridan Smith’s mother in the TV miniseries Cilla and in 1994 she appeared in the British movie Shopping as the mother of Jude Law.

Despite her incredible success, Melanie remains refreshingly down-to-earth and is happy to share both the good and bad moments of her career, such as the time she turned down the chance to audition for the The Office. “I made the most massive cock-up ever,” she says, chuckling. “My agent asked if I’d like to go and be seen for a new project. They said it was set in an office and was improvised and featured Ricky Gervais. “I said, ‘Oh, it sounds boring actually. I don’t want to go for it.’ Can you believe that? I’m not saying I would have got it, but I didn’t even go for it.”

For now, Melanie could not be more settled at Casualty. “I’m happy to be part of a team again,” she explains. “I like seeing everyone every morning and the comfort of knowing I’ve got regular work. When I was younger, I enjoyed the feeling of ‘what’s next?’ and meeting new people, but as I’ve got older, I prefer the familiarity. “I did Waterloo Road for four years and then Corrie was seven years and hopefully Casualty will be for the next seven. I just take each day as it comes but I can’t see any reason to leave. I really enjoy it and feel very grateful.”

 

 

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