Category: Burns News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: March 12, 2006 | Publication: Sunday Mail | Author: STEVE HENDRY
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HUNKY Robert Cavanah has revealed how his starring role in hospital drama The Royal, set in the 60s, brought back painful memories of the car crash that threatened to cripple him for life.

The former EastEnder, the face of Glenmorangie's famous Glen of Tranquillity adverts, spent eight weeks in traction after being hit by a truck.

As Adam Carnegie, the suave new boss of TV hospital St Aidan's, the Scots star was asked to turn on the Celtic charm which has won him roles alongside Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz.

But just turning up on set each day brought back agonising memories.

Robert, 39, of Edinburgh, has spent years going in and out of hospital after smashing his leg as a schoolboy - and breaking it again five years ago.

He said: "It's ironic that I'm in The Royal because if I never see another hospital again it will be too soon.

"But if anyone is going to make a hospital run efficiently it's me. I've spent half my life as a patient.

"When I broke my leg in 1977 I spent the best part of a year in hospital and I've been in and out most of my life.

"I got run down by a truck when I was crossing a road and suffered a compound fracture and a lot of muscle damage.

"It wasn't very pleasant and, even now, my right leg is very thin and I can only move my foot so far.

"But what I think caused the long term problem was the treatment offered in 1977. I was basically in traction for about seven or eight months.

"As I was going through my growing years at the time my foot grew in a drop position and the muscle wasted away. There was no physiotherapy and there was no follow-up treatment.

"I had my last major operation in 1993. The medics have kind of given up on me now."

The truck accident also shattered his dreams of being a footballer but he says he was too young to be bitter.

Instead he's grateful his injury pushed him towards acting.

He is equally philosophical about his second fracture on the same leg in 2001, which cost him a starring role in hit series Wire in the Blood with Robson Green. Robert said: "I'd just been confirmed for the job with Robson and was going to meet a mate to celebrate.

"I was riding through Soho on a Vespa scooter when a car pulled out and I bounced off it. As soon as I hit it I was shouting 'No!' because I knew I'd broken my leg.

"The police were telling me to lie still but my memory kicked in from 1977 and I got out my phone and called my agent, my mum and my wife before the shock overwhelmed me."

Robert, who has just appeared in The Bill heading up a child abuse investigation team, is proud of being a jobbing actor.

He's rarely out of work and his CV includes playing Vicki Fowler's cheating older lover Tommy in East- Enders, starring with Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz in Sahara and playing opposite Angelina Jolie and his good mate Gerry Butler in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

Any spare time he gets, he spends with four-year-old son Logan, who he dotes on.

Robert shares joint custody with his estranged American wife Kathryn Stokes and is delighted to have reached an understanding after a legal battle.

He said: "We had a very bitter court fight but I'm glad to say things have worked out well.

"If I was born to be anything in life I was born to be my son's father... it's the best thing I've ever done.

"Kathryn's seen what he would have missed out on and about six months ago said to me, 'Robert, I'll never take your son away from you'.

"I was gobsmacked but since then we've rebuilt our relationship."

Kathryn even arranged a place for Robert and girlfriend Hilary Hamilton to stay on a trip to New York. He said: "She actually stayed with us for a couple of days.

"She went out on a date and I remember thinking, how bizarre is this? My wife is going out with a guy while I stay at home with my girlfriend and our son. Figure that one out.

"I think we were just exhausted with animosity. I've been through a few traumas in my time but that was the worst."

Next up, Robert is to team up with Gerry Butler again in the long a waited biopic about Scotland's national bard Robert Burns when he will play the poet's brother Gilbert. Shooting is to start before the end of the year.

In the meantime, he's about to start filming a Spanish language film and hoping to fulfil his ambition of stepping behind the camera at River City.

The sometime-director revealed at the Sunday Mail's Great Scot Awards last year that he wanted to direct the soap.

He said: "I went up and met them when Stefan Dennis was in it because he's a good pal of mine.

"They showed me round, told me how it all worked... but I haven't heard a dicky bird. It mystified me a bit but I would still love to do it."

The Royal is on ITV tonight at 8pm.

'If anyone can run a hospital efficiently, it's me.. I've spent half my life as a patient' Robert Cavanah

Copyright 2006 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail Ltd.