Irish actor Eoin Macken plays a brilliant but brash army doctor and says the new TV series is like a comedy-action drama

Eoin Macken (left, with co-star Jill Flint) on bringing levity into the medical drama series The Night Shift. -- PHOTO: SONY ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION
Eoin Macken (left, with co-star Jill Flint) on bringing levity into the medical drama series The Night Shift. -- PHOTO: SONY ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION

Irish actor Eoin Macken plays a brilliant but brash army doctor and says the new TV series is like a comedy-action drama

Girls, there is a new Doctor McDreamy on TV. On new medical drama The Night Shift, Irish hunk Eoin Macken plays TC Callahan, a doctor so charismatic that he is sure to give the famous McDreamy character of Grey's Anatomy (as portrayed by Patrick Dempsey) a run for his money.

Not that Macken himself is particularly impressed with the comparison.

He deadpans in a telephone interview with Life! and other regional reporters: "McDreamy sounds like a new burger from McDonald's or something.

"There's something edible about it. But it's fun, it's a fun title. My grandma likes it."

The 31-year-old actor is promoting his new show, which is centred on the antics of a group of medical staff who do the graveyard shift at a Texas hospital.

Macken is an army doctor who has just returned to the United States after serving in Afghanistan. He is brash and never goes by the rules, but is nonetheless well-liked for his brilliant mind and magnetic demeanour.

In person, the actor sounds every bit as charming and down-to-earth as the character that he plays, going by his numerous quips throughout the media interview and the way he chats to reporters as if they were a longtime friends.

He gushes about New Mexico, the American state in which the series is filmed in, before proceeding to give a list of places to visit there, including White Sands National Monument, which is "really, really cool and beautiful - you've got to go there".

Later, when he discusses what he does on his days off, he talks excitedly about a sport called paddle tennis, which he repeatedly declares to be "just so awesome, you really have to try it".

Another reporter comments that the actor is so charming that it appears that he is simply playing himself on the show.

Macken, who played laidback knight Gwaine on historical TV drama Merlin (2010 - 2012), laughs in response: "Well, you said it, not me. But no, I think I got lucky with this character. He's a lot of fun. On TV, they write really strong characters but I try to imbue the character with a lot of my own traits.

"I think it's important in this kind of show. You don't want it to be overpowered by intensity and emotion - there has to be some kind of levity."

He adds that the entire series is, in fact, filled with lighthearted moments, even though it is a serious medical drama. "It's more like a comedy- action drama. Sometimes, medical shows can be bogged down by the jargon and you're trying to figure out what's going on and you're like, 'let's get through this operation really quick so we can get to the relationships stuff'.

"I mean, it's the characters around the physical blood and guts that's really interesting, right? It's fun working on this show because everyone's so fun and we all had a great time together. It's a bit like summer camp."

The show also stars Jill Flint (Royal Pains, 2009 - present) as his former girlfriend and current boss, Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty, 2006 - 2010) as the hospital's no-nonsense administrator, and Ken Leung (Lost, 2004 - 2010) as a free-spirited doctor.

There is another reason Macken enjoyed filming The Night Shift so much - the night owl gets to film a number of episodes after it gets dark.

He says: "Most of it is filmed in the studios, but we also shot a few episodes through the night, from 7pm till 5am the next day. I prefer working at night because it's more fun and it's also more exciting, right? It reminds you of the times when you're going out for drinks and events, where it's cool and fun.

"There're no distractions at night and no one calls you. Anyone who says that he is a morning person is either a liar or there's something wrong with him."

yipwy@sph.com.sg

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The Night Shift airs on Sony Entertainment Television (mioTV Channel 320) on Tuesdays at 9.55pm.