YOU are going to be seeing a lot more of Stephen Lord.
Not just in his latest TV role in BBC1’s Casualty.
But in a range of projects, too numerous to fit in to today’s Manchester Evening News feature below.
Stephen’s CV includes playing Jonno in Common As Muck – one of my all-time favourite series, written by former binman William Ivory.
“It gave me a real taste of what credible work was, in terms of TV with an amazing cast, great writing and a gift of a part,” he told me.
“I learned a lot from that.”
He recently teamed up again with Ken Loach for feature film Route Irish.
“One of my first parts was for Ken. I started off when I was 17 and 20 years later he’s asked me to pop in to have a cup of tea with him with a view to doing something in his next film.
“It was a strange experience, almost like coming home.
“The way he works, even back then, definitely affected the way I tackled jobs.”
FORMER EastEnders star Stephen Lord laughs: “People haven’t started throwing things at me yet. But I’m from Salford. I’m always ready for it.”
The actor, writer and director, who played Jase Dyer in Albert Square, has swapped Walford for Holby in his latest role as ex-fireman Warren Clements.
Casualty (BBC1, tonight, 8.20pm) sees nurse Kirsty’s (Lucy Gaskell) working day disturbed by mysterious phone calls from her husband Warren, who is playing one of his mind games. What is his secret and does it explain the bruising on Kirsty’s arm?
Viewers have yet to learn the full story about Warren. “He’s got an abusive nature which comes through mentally and also, as will be revealed, physically. I was living in America when the BBC offered me this part, which is quite a complex role,” he explains.
Were there any second thoughts about joining another long-running drama? When I took on EastEnders, I always knew there was a beginning, middle and end. And it’s the same with this job. So I had no qualms taking on either project.”
Jase met a violent end, stabbed to death just hours before his wedding to Dawn Swann, played by current Strictly Come Dancing star Kara Tointon. “It was a great 12 months and over 100 episodes. I did the work, banked a bit of cash, a strong exit and on to the next role. I always had the idea that a year was enough. Certainly not to fall into being typecast.
“I felt the audience was just about getting a handle on who this character was and learning more about me. And I thought that was the ideal time to rip him away from the viewers.”
He adds: “I didn’t fall into that fame game. I went in there, did the work and there was no going round clubs and pubs doing personal appearances or anything like that. I just did the work and got out.”
Stephen, 38, said he was welcomed by the Casualty cast in Bristol. “I wasn’t overwhelmed by stepping into it. I treat it as another job and as long as I’m going in there prepared and I know what I’ve got to do, then I feel more than confident to step on set.
“Lucy is a lovely actress and we’ve struck a really strong chemistry, which is great. Viewers will be able to see that over the episodes to come.”
In real life, Stephen is married to Irish actress Elaine Cassidy and the couple have a one-year-old daughter. “Fatherhood definitely enriches you as a person. I like to think that I’m not a selfish person but it certainly rids you even more of self because you’re thinking of your baby pretty much 24/7.
“It’s just an amazing experience, Elaine and myself are absolutely loving it. It hasn’t affected us and the work we do. Obviously there’s less time but you just juggle your time better, don’t you? If you’ve got work to do, you have to do it. Thankfully the pair of us can share the duties, so to speak.”
In Stephen’s case that includes playing the lead in feature film Desperate Measures, filmed in Manchester and Yorkshire and due on screen next year. “It’s probably one of the most gruelling roles that I’ve done to date about a drug addict who gets kidnapped.
“My character is dragged to a farmouse in the middle of nowhere. We’d hike up a big hill at seven in the morning, film all day and then come down at night. I’ve never had a film shoot like it. It was pretty intense.”
While still filming Casualty, his own production company has been developing TV and film projects, including an animation pilot featuring Andy Serkis, Imelda Staunton and Elaine.
He also hopes to finalise the finance for a film called Extra Time. “It’s a great script, set in Purgatory and the backdrop is the Hillsborough tragedy. I’m looking to shoot that in early January, all being well. But you never know until you’re actually on set.”
Meanwhile Elaine has filmed US TV pilot The Miraculous Year. Made in New York and directed by The Hurt Locker’s Kathryn Bigelow, it’s the work of The Aviator writer John Logan and also stars Manchester-born Linus Roache, son of Coronation Street’s William Roache.
Stephen’s route into acting came via a flute player. “A friend of mine’s sister played the flute and I wondered where she played. I got led to a Jacobean banquet at Worsley Old Hall and, before you know it, I started performing as a court jester.
“I did that for about two years and the guy who ran the banquet started introducing me to a lot of classics and acting techniques. I got the bug for it and he encouraged me to audition for Salford University. I got in on an unconditional place, just on a practical, and it went from there.
“Salford will always be my home,” maintains Stephen. “My wife and I are still like gypsies. We spend a lot of time in Ireland, and the States has opened up now. But I’d love to spend more time in Manchester.”