The News Letter (Belfast) October 1999

Joseph Millson, the actor who plays the dashing young GP, also found himself heavily involved with a woman during filming - his new wife.

The handsome 25-year-old took just three days out of a hectic shooting schedule to marry his girlfriend, actress Caroline Fitzgerald.

''We had planned the wedding before I got the job on Peak Practice,'' he explains. ''We got engaged in February last year after meeting in the West End production of Salad Days.

''I had to rush down from the Peak District shoot to Berkshire for the wedding and then be back on set just a few days later.''

Millson has made quite an impact as the newest medical recruit to The Beeches and female fans will begin to see a new side to him from next week, when he falls for a married music teacher and jeopardises his professional detachment.

''It's good to get a sniff of romance,'' grins Millson. ''In most of the series I am the one who has been slithering around in the mud or plunging into a murky river''

Not that Millson minded shooting the birth scene; he is a self-confessed softie when it comes to babies.

''I'm a real sucker for them and it is definitely on the cards that we will have children.

But there is no mad rush. We are both up to our eyes at the moment."

In fact hard-working Millson reveals that he has not had a full week off for over a year.

''Not that I'm complaining,'' he adds hastily. ''It has been great. I also managed to pass my driving test and move house, so I haven't had time to even think about a break.''

Even when he does have a little time to spare, Millson devotes it to his own theatre company, Pursued By A Bear, which also involves Caroline.

''Instead of a holiday, I do a play. There is nothing like the slap round the face from an audience to tell you how bad an actor you really are. We will be doing Monogamy, a two-handed new play at Battersea.

''After that I'm back on Peak Practice, but I will also be driving around the country to catch up with Caroline who will be on a major tour in Blood Brothers. It's all go.''

Both Millson and his new wife come from Berkshire and he reveals that their paths almost crossed some years ago - when he was rejected by Caroline's mother.

''She was a well known choral director in the area and I auditioned for her choir when I was 12, but she turned me down.''

Describing his childhood as ''totally free, hippie style'', Millson is revelling in being back in the countryside after years of working in London. ''My parents were a couple of old hippies. They got married at 16 and they are still together. I remember lots of naked bodies around when I was growing up. Clothes weren't necessary.

''Then when I was in my teens we lived in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't uncommon for my parents to come home to a kitchen full of young lads making toast and a sitting room full of bands rehearsing.

''It was just open house and it was great. They just gave over the house to us.''

One of the passions that Millson developed at the time was for skateboarding and sharp eyed Peak Practice fans may have spotted a picture of him on his speedy wheels at the back of Sam Morgan's office.

''I love anything where you stand sideways and go forwards,'' he laughs. ''Skateboards, snowboards, surfing - I even used to earn money with the skateboard, doing exhibitions. But bones kept breaking so I slowed down a bit.''

Not that visits to the local Casualty department toughened him up. The actor declares himself to be more squeamish than ever since working on the medical series.

''I spent two days training with a real doctor and was doing fine on the first day. Then he had to do some very minor surgery, removing a mole and, when he made that first incision, I was on the floor with a big lump on my head.''

Now that he has become established as one of Peak Practice's stars, Millson is trying to get used to the prospect of being recognised in the street. ''I got lots of fan mail, but so far, not a single pair of knickers - I wait with bated breath for them to start rolling in.'' Says the actor.