Elliott Rogers still works as a waiter at the O2 and beside his dad in London’s famous fish market from 5am, writes Toby Porter.
So the 22-year-old from Eltham turned up for recent a crucial audition completely shattered and smelling of fish. But that didn’t stop him. They dropped him for the cameo he was interviewing for – and bumped him into the main lead character for that episode.
Elliott – real name Elliott Reed – makes his small screen debut in Casualty on December 2 at 9pm, playing a fireman who gets injured in the line of duty.
He has a sneaking hope that the character might reappear one day. “The good thing is that the character does not die – which does happen to one or two characters every show, as we all know,” he said. “It’s a start.”
One of the people who will be watching most eagerly is his grandma, Patricia Rogers – after whom he took his stage name. “She’s always telling me I will be the next James Bond,” said Elliott. “I decided on Rogers after her and my grandad, Charlie.
“She’s a big Casualty fan. My family give me exactly the support I need. They keep me going.
“I just want to show them that I have made the right choice to do this.”
Dad Phil is a chief inspector at Billingsgate Fish Market and Elliott has been doing odd jobs there since he was 13. He has been a porter there since he left drama school in Hoxton. “They are full of life for people who work at the dead of night,” said Elliott.
“I didn’t go to one of the big drama schools like Rada but we dug deep and a casting director came to see me so I built a relationship with him over the years. Three years later he called me for a drug-dealer part on Casualty with one day of shooting.
“I was very nervous, because it was now or never. I had to nail it with four lines.
“When it was done, I threw the script in the bin at Elstree rail station – I like to physically move on from an audition in that way.
“As the carriage doors shut, my agent called me, They wanted me to audition for a bigger part – the guest lead with a fortnight of filming.
“I got the call two days later. I told my family when I got home. Mum cried. Dad did too. I just hope they like it.
“They won’t get to see it until it goes out on BBC1 on December 2.
“I’m emailing a lot of casting directors, hoping they catch it, too, so I can build a relationship with them.”
Another fan is Elliott’s brother Piers, 18, who is studying game design at London South Bank University.
The brothers both do modelling work in their spare time – they were both recently flown to Japan to pose for Vidal Sassoon.
“I have built a portfolio so that when I left drama school I had a sideline to fall back on,” he said.
“None of us will ever be able to step fully into someone else’s shoes, but to take a moment to transform into another person – there are endless possibilities.”
Until now, Elliott has been doing the hard miles, playing dramatic roles in theatres. Mind you, the four parts he played in Road at the Bob Hope Theatre this year wasn’t exactly a long commute from the family home in Elibank Road – it was less than a mile to get to work.
“I like to stick to my roots,” he said.
He has also appeared in a Zayn and Taylor Swift video, I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – as a “wealthy hotel guest” – though if you blink, you’ll miss him.
After December 2, it is back to Billingsgate, and being a waiter – if he can. “I came off my bike recently and broke both my wrists and an elbow,” he said.
“My dad joked that with all the plaster on, I could have gone back on Casualty as an extra.”