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Clarke Peters to appear in Holby City

Clarke Peters in The Wire

Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ALREADY a familiar face on television from his roles in The Wire (as Detective Lester Freamon) and Damages (Dave Pell), American actor and singer Clarke Peters will soon be seen in BBC One’s Holby City.

He will appear in a handful of episodes as Derek, the estranged father of Staff Nurse Donna Jackson (Jaye Jacobs). However, working on a show like Holby City tested him like never before. As he explained:

“You’ve got to get it in a certain amount of time because they’ve got an hour of television to do a week. This is like a factory.”

And speaking about his role, he said: “If you’ve been following the show you’ll know Donna. Her father – estranged – shows up. We don’t know whether it’s on the pretext of seeing her but while he’s there he finds out he’s pretty ill.”

He also said the role would reveal more about Donna’s life: “This is a way to get into these characters rather than just seeing them as one-dimensional characters, dealing with whatever happens at Holby.”

Although The Wire came to an end after five series (60 episodes), Peters said he would jump at the chance to star in a film version of the show. Yet he admitted the likelihood of that happening was remote: “I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, simply because David (Simon, the show’s creator and executive producer) was adamant about telling that story, the story of a city in five chapters.”

He also thought the show owed its success to controversial storylines:

“Some of the issues we hit are issues that some people would prefer to just sweep under the carpet but we’re brave enough to expose some of this. Whether it’s corruption in local government, whether it’s what happens to a city when industry leaves, whether it’s what happens to the education system.

“It’s not just Baltimore (where the show is set) that’s like that. These are problems that affect all of us.”

And he finished by saying: “I didn’t know how big it was going to be and I’m glad it’s doing what it’s doing.”

As well as television, Peters has appeared regularly on stage – in The Iceman Cometh (Broadway) and Porgy and Bess, The Witches of Eastwick and Chicago (West End). He also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for the revue Five Guys Named Moe.

Holby City airs on BBC One on Tuesday evenings at 8pm.