I'm a bit of a bumpkin (from Peak Practice online)

Dr Sam's country life is also the best medicine for actor Joseph Millson

Since he joined Peak Practice last year, Dr Sam Morgan has established himself as The Beeches handsome healer, the one Cardale's babes are keenest to play doctor with. But so far, Sam's hectic schedule has left him little time for love. Even his relationship with Serena cools this week.

Actor Joseph Millson knows the feeling. His 10-hour days filming Peak Practice mean that Joseph hardly gets to see his new wife, actress Caroline Fitzgerald, whom he married last year. 'She's currently on tour in a production of Blood Brothers, so Sundays are precious to us beyond all belief,' says Joseph, 25. 'We meet in London, where we have a house, or sometimes I drive to wherever she's on tour. But we both know how lucky we are to be in work, so we're not complaining.'

When he's filming Peak Practice, a full-time job since the series expanded to 26 episodes per year, Joseph rents a cottage in the picture postcard Derwent Valley. 'I'm a bit of a country bumpkin,' he admits. 'I grew up in Berkshire, which is beautiful, but Derbyshire is the most stunning bit of Britain I've seen. When Caroline and I have nippers in a few years, we'll move back to the country.'

And even when Joseph can't play husband, he's not sitting at home alone. 'I was worried it might be tough living away from home, but it's been great,' he says. 'I hang out with the other actors at their hotel in Nottingham and I've been around to Haydn Gwynne's place. Gary (Mavers) and I have been to a few Liverpool matches, and he and his family came to see my wife in Blood Brothers. With Gary around, you can't take yourself too seriously. No egos allowed.'

The son of publicans, it wasn't until the age of 16 that Joseph considered an acting career. After attending drama school, getting good breaks in theatre and a bit part in the C4 sitcom Dressing For Breakfast, he landed the plum role of Peak Practice's idealistic Dr Morgan. He has no plans to quit doctoring on Peak Practice just yet, but he sees his future in the theatre. 'Playing a doctor is a bit like being Ernie Wise every week,' he says. 'I'm a straight man for other people. Eventually, I'd like to get on the other side of the double act. I like a bit of nose putty.'

In the meantime, Joseph is delighted that Dr Morgan's love life is getting a shot in the arm. 'So far he's had no vices and no life, so it's great that he's getting entangled.' And moving in with Andrew has loosened Sam up, too. 'They have a sarky relationship and a lot of beer is consumed. It's Men Behaving Badly.' Only when our bachelor docs aren't on call, of course. This is Peak Practice, after all.

TV Times, February 2000