Created 14th February 2004
Paul Fox after Soap Fame
FORMER Coronation Street star Paul Fox is back this weekend in his first British TV role since quitting Weatherfield.
The Cheshire-trained actor, who played Mike Baldwin's womanising son, Mark, sets pulses racing again when he joins the cast of The Royal.
Paul, 24, was in Canada when the call came from Yorkshire TV offering him the role of working-class GP and anaesthetist Dr Jeffrey Goodwin.
He had spent 10 months in Toronto filming a stylish sci-fi drama called Starhunter 2300.
Already screened in America, and set to be shown by BBC2, it's about a group of professional bounty hunters who roam the solar system. Paul is spaceship technical expert Marcus.
"We save the universe in every episode," he laughs.
Being out of the country, Paul hadn't seen the first two series of The Royal, having lost out when the Heartbeat spin-off was first cast.
He had originally gone for the role of Dr David Cheriton, played by Julian Ovenden, the character killed off in last week's episode.
"Julian and I are friends and we auditioned together for the part he eventually got," he reveals. "This character suits me a lot better. Julian was perfect for Dr Cheriton and this works a lot better for me.
"I came in a bit blind. I think it's useful not knowing anything about the series.
"You don't try to plan to be a certain way to fit in with the show. I was slightly unnerved about playing a doctor but as soon as you put a stethoscope around your neck you suddenly feel you've got a licence to treat people."
New arrivals always have to make an impact. So on his way to take up his post, Dr Goodwin witnesses a car crash, gets beaten up by one of the drivers, and has his own car and doctor's bag stolen. And that's just the start of his troubles.
"Yes, it's typical. It's your first day at work and everything just goes wrong. Dr Goodwin falls into a lake while trying to reach a patient and experiences Mr Rose's wrath when he interrupts him on his golf course.
"I think Jeffrey has probably had to fight to get where he is. He's not had the public school background. He's very likeable - I'd have a pint with him.
"I've also really liked the dramatic storylines I've been involved in. I've had to deal with fairground disasters, clifftop rescues, crazy people burning houses down and have even found myself on a surfboard riding the waves."
Paul's appearance follows the death of Dr Cheriton, who collapsed and died after scoring a try at a rugby match. The fictional tragedy was recently echoed in real life.
"A friend was playing a football match with friends from work last week," explains Paul, "and a guy had a heart attack and died on the pitch. None of them knew what to do. I think it's important that everyone should do some basic first aid."
Corrie is screened in Canada. Paul says: "They have showings in pubs for about four hours on a Sunday morning. It was very strange getting recognised over there."
Paul's previous roles include two children's TV classics - Granada's The Ward and futuristic sci-fi thriller Life Force. He also has previous form in another soap as Will Cairns in Emmerdale.
But most viewers know him as Baldwin's son, Mark, who certainly caused his fair share of trouble in Coronation Street, not least by bedding Linda Sykes, his father's bride-to-be. Johnny Briggs, who plays the veteran factory boss, has spoken of his ambition to retire full-time to the Florida sun eventually. Could Mark return one day to take over the family business?
"I love Johnny," smiles Paul. "Being offered that job to play Mike Baldwin's son - tell me anyone who'd say no to that job!
"It was fantastic and I loved working with Johnny, and with Jacqueline Chadwick, who played Linda. I'd definitely go back. I had a great time."
The Royal is screened on Sundays on ITV1 at 8pm.