From sex-mad barman to undercover cop, Nick Berry is one of the biggest stars in British television. He has worked steadily since 1985 thanks to the success of his roles in massive ratings-winners EastEnders and Heartbeat, whilst finding time for a few more varied projects. Not the greatest of actors or the greatest risk-taker, his charm and good looks have nonetheless won him enormous popularity.
Born April 16, 1963 in Woodford, Essex, UK, he attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, one of London's most prestigious stage schools. Early roles included a Pirate Rat in children's fantasy drama The Box of Delights, and a tiny role in Daniel Peacock's Party Party.
Nick Berry played Simon Wicks
from 1985 to 1990. Wicksy
was a bit of a bad boy: despite his floppy blow-dried hair and boyish looks he was a womaniser
who had girls falling at his feet. The son of Brian Wicks and Pat Harris (Pam St. Clement), he fooled around with most of the show's younger women characters, including Magda Czajkowski (Kathryn Apanowicz
), Naima Jeffrey (Shreela Ghosh
) and Donna Ludlow (Matilda Ziegler
). For a while he also ran the Queen Vic public house
alongside Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean
He had got Cindy Williams pregnant, but she married Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) instead. Cindy rapidly got bored with the incredibly tiresome Ian and ran off with Wicksy again. He survived a feeble murder attempt by Ian Beale who had fixed the brakes on his van, but soon abandoned Cindy and Steven again and fled the country, eventually ending up in New Zealand. In late 2002 he was mentioned in the show, with Pat and Steven flying halfway around the world to visit him, but chances of his return seem remote.
One spin-off from his EastEnders fame was the enormous success of his maudlin single "Every Loser Wins" which reached number one in the UK charts in 1986.
His next role was as loveable police officer Nick Rowan
- do you see?) in the nostalgic TV series Heartbeat
from 1992. Made by Yorkshire TV
, the show is set in the 1960s in the fictional village of Aidensfield in rural North Yorkshire
. Its combination of gentle drama
, comedy, scenery
and longing for simpler times proved incredibly popular right from the start, attracting 14 million viewers at its peak.
He appeared in the ITV drama for seven years, before deciding to move on in 1998. The show continued without him while Pc Rowan emigrated to Canada to join the Mounties. The show also brought him another hit single, with a cover version of the Buddy Holly song "Heartbeat" that was also the series' theme.
1995 saw a TV movie role, as the title character in the flop Paparazzo. The film was intended as a pilot for an ITV drama following the adventures of Berry's photographer, but no series was forthcoming.
Also in a break from Heartbeat, he rejoined his EastEnders co-stars Todd Carty (Mark Fowler) and Chris McHallem (Rod Norman) for Black Velvet Band, made for Yorkshire TV in 1997. The drama followed the adventures of nineteenth-century thieves who attempted to steal the Crown Jewels, but were caught and transported to Tasmania. They escaped en route at Cape Town in South Africa and had exciting adventures. (Trivia: Alex Ferns who went on to play evil Trevor Morgan in EastEnders also has a tiny role in this film.)
Following Heartbeat, he moved back to the BBC
for a less successful role in another drama, Harbour Lights
. In this, he played harbour master
Lieutenant Commander Mike Nicholls, dealing with various quay-related issues. Filmed in West Bay
, it also starred Tina Hobley
(of Coronation Street
and Holby City
) as a policewoman. The show was cancelled after two series which never performed very well either with viewers or critics.
In 1999 he also made the TV black comedy The Mystery of Men, starring alongside Warren Clarke and Neil Pearson. This was made by Berry's company Valentine Productions, proving a desire for him to establish himself as a producer as well as a television star.
Moving away from the years of gentle family television
, he appeared with Stephen Tompkinson
playing another policeman in the darker crime drama In Deep
in 2001. His character, maverick cop
Liam Ketman, was an undercover policeman
, trying to deal with the conflicting demands of family and work.
The show received a fairly warm critical reception and although it was never going to match the success of Heartbeat or EastEnders, it managed to do something relatively new for a British police show. Clearly Berry is trying to expand his range as an actor, and it will be interesting to see what he turns to next.
- BBC. "BBC Eastenders Homepage". BBCi. http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/ (24 January 2002).
- EveryHit. EveryHit. http://www.everyhit.com/ (24 January 2002).
- Johnson, Ryan K. "British TV Show Reviews 'P'". 12 April 2002. http://www.eskimo.com/~rkj/p.htm (24 January 2002).
- "Behind the Scenes with Heartbeat". Sikes Silly Site. http://www.sykessillysite.co.uk/heartbeat/index.htm (24 January 2002).
- TV Tome. TV Tome. http://www.tvtome.com/ (24 January 2002).