James Nesbitt: Star in Leeds hospital for TV role

James Nesbitt in Monroe.
James Nesbitt in Monroe.
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TOP actor James Nesbitt sampled hospital life at the sharp end while preparing for his new telly role as a neurosurgeon.

Nesbitt watched four brain operations at Leeds General Infirmary to try to ensure he got his portrayal of the title character in ITV1 drama Monroe just right.

And the former Cold Feet star hopes his experiences after scrubbing up for theatre will help make a success of the six-part series, which was filmed in Leeds.

Nesbitt said: “It was incredibly generous of the patients and the medical teams to allow me this access.

“I’ve seen how neurosurgeons drill through the skull, pull back the skin on the head and make an incision into the brain.

“I’ve seen the brain, which is an amazing organ, pulsing away.

“I’ve seen the revelation of an angry, horrible, grey-black tumour, which has then been removed.

“I’ve seen how difficult this job is and the decisions that have to be made very quickly when faced with an emergency.

“Thankfully I’m not squeamish, but I was incredibly nervous and very fascinated.

“What you come away thinking is just how fragile everything is and how fleeting life can be.

“It’s magnificent that neurosurgeons can extend people’s lives by years.”

The LGI and the old Headingley site of Leeds Girls’ High School were among the places used during the programme’s 12-week shoot.

Location and crewing support was provided by Screen Yorkshire, the Leeds-based agency that promotes the county’s media, broadcast and cinema industries.

Nesbitt’s fellow cast members include Sarah Parish (Cutting It) and Tom Riley (Lost In Austen).

The first episode of Monroe goes out at 9pm on Thursday, March 10.