Nick Hendrix: 'I've always said that I would like a go at being James Bond, but then, who hasn't?'
Actor Nick Hendrix is ITV's Midsomer Murders' newest recruit. He tells Gemma Dunn about the pressure of joining such a well-loved show and why he would love to do an action movie
He may have flown under the radar up until now, but 2017 looks set to be big for rising screen star Nick Hendrix. While the 31-year-old actor insists his anonymity is intact thus far - "I'm well away from having to worry about that" - his latest career move, a main role in ITV bastion, Midsomer Murders, will likely beckon a tidal change.
Those who caught the opening episode of the long-running crime drama, which kicked off in December, will have spotted Hendrix in the role of snappily dressed newbie, DS Jamie Winter - the latest sidekick to uphold the law alongside DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon).
"He's a pretty cool guy," Hendrix says of Winter. "There's an allusion to the fact that he comes from London; he's got that sort of young, borderline-cocky energy."
Hailing from Berkshire, but having lived and worked in London, the RADA-trained actor - best-known for his recent run opposite Laura Carmichael in the ITV murder series, Marcella - isn't that unlike his onscreen counterpart.
He's well turned out and bursting with vigour, on the cusp of his career, but the show's appeal went beyond sharp suits and witty lines for him.
"It was great fun!" says Hendrix, cheerily reeling off stories featuring disobedient rabbits, children and even tanks.
"Detective roles are quite a classic aspiration for actors because you get to do lots of different things.
"The challenges as an actor are always changing. There's no, 'I'm going to go back and do some more similar scenes', it's always like, 'Right, what crazy stuff is happening in this episode that I have got to deal with?'"
"That's its charm," he adds, of Midsomer's stand alone format. "There are many ways to kill someone [in the county], it turns out. Most of which are ridiculous."
Moreover, the long-form shoot (six feature length episodes, to be exact) proved exactly the type of work he was seeking for his already-impressive CV.
"I have loved it... not to say I didn't expect to, [but] every acting job you don't know if you're going to like the cast or the character and with something this long, there's always that worry of, what if me or Neil [whom he refers to as 'captain of the team'] don't get on?
"But it's been far greater than I ever could have imagined," gushes Hendrix, who's also appeared in Netflix's The Crown and on stage in Man And Superman and What The Butler Saw.
"It's such a nice family of people who have worked on it so long."
Has he felt the weight of stepping into his predecessor DS Charlie Nelson's (Gwilym Lee) shoes?
"It's a funny mixture because there's no pressure in the sense that, you know the show itself is so well received," Hendrix confesses. "But there's always that strange pressure of, 'Oh my God! Now if the show doesn't go well, that's literally my fault.'"
"There's also pressure that I put on myself: how do I take something that is so successful and so loved and make it better, or how do I add to that? Because the last thing you want to do ever as an actor is just check in and out and go, 'Yeah, I'll just say my lines, stand in the right place'.
"You want to come in, add to it and improve it and be able to be something new and exciting about it, that brings in a new audience."
But is he expecting to be catapulted to stardom at the flip of a police badge? He honestly hasn't thought about it.
"I was told I won't be able to walk down Copenhagen high street in a couple of years because the Scandis love [Midsomer Murders] so much!" he explains. "Thankfully I went last year, so it's safe, but I don't think many actors think about those sort of things."
Appearing reflective, he continues: "I don't fear it, it's just part of the territory, and you deal with it as you can".
Outside of acting, Hendrix - who is engaged to Benidorm actress Jessica Ellerby - insists he lives a very "normal" day-to-day life, his Instagram feed is full of snapshots from friends' weddings, travel adventures and a peppering of showbiz events.
In July last year, he told Candid Magazine he gets to the gym most days, stating: "It's a passion I've had since a rowing coach at school got me into it.
"I have zero personality if I haven't done some exercise! The rest of my time I like to watch TV shows and films, play football and tennis, and see friends and family."
As for tying that in with his professional aspirations, he elaborates: "I love the athleticism of acting. I'm a big action movie fan and would love to test myself in those environments. Whether it be car chases in Fast And Furious or rooftop sequences in Bourne.
"Very rarely can you name specific roles because you don't know the films that are yet to be made, but of those that will, I've always said I'd like a stab at being James Bond - but then who hasn't?!
"I think I could bring a bit of the old suave of Sean Connery back, whilst maintaining the physicality of Daniel Craig. That would be my pitch anyway!"
Well, donning a suit and catching the bad guys seems like a good start, at least!
- Midsomer Murders continues on ITV on Wednesday, 8pm