After three years as the enigmatic surgeon Henrik Hanssen in Holby City, Dorset-raised actor Guy Henry is used to receiving some strange looks when he visits hospitals.

“I was visiting a friend in St George’s Hospital in Tooting recently. She was quite ill for a while, they got her better thankfully, but it was quite strange visiting,” he said.

“You can see the doctors marching along with their notes and everything and they give you a sort of double-take, as if they’re not quite sure what Mr Hanssen off the telly is doing in their hospital.

“Or probably they don’t even place that it’s me necessarily. They probably just think: ‘I know that fellow. I was at medical school with him’.

“I got in a lift with a woman who was also holding bundles of file sand she said ‘Hello, have you come to close us down?’”

The 54-year-old actor – who presents the Dorset Business Awards on Thursday, November 27 – is to return to the BBC1 medical drama in the new year.

He tells of a good turn he was able to do in the same hospital thanks to Holby City.

“One patient’s husband came up to me in the canteen and said ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but my wife’s a huge fan of Mr Hanssen in Holby and she’s just had a very serious heart operation. She’s getting better slowly but when she came in a couple of weeks ago, she did say to me quite seriously that if only Mr Hanssen were here, she’d be all right’.

“So I said all right, let’s go and say hello to her but please warn her I’m coming because I don’t want to be responsible for another heart problem.

“She was delightful and she was getting better and better, thankfully.”

He can still recall his Holby audition piece, which involved words like pheochromocytoma and neuroendocrine. “Fortunately, having done a lot of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, I’m quite used to long sentences,” he said.

Guy Henry was raised in Highcliffe by parents who loved showbusiness and were involved with Highcliffe Charity Players, of which Guy is now president.

His father had been a straight man to comedians such as Charlie Drake, Arthur Haynes and Al Read, and Drake was his godfather.

“Uncle Charles, we used to have to call him,” he said.

“My dad was his straight man for years. I’ve never forgotten I caddied when my father and he played golf. It was in the late ’70s. They went to the 19th hole of Barton-on-Sea Golf Club and I’d never at that point seen anybody quite that famous before.

“He was such a familiar figure and such a loved one that everybody felt they knew him. It was a riot in the bar when you went in.”

Guy went to Brockenhurst College – where he recently returned to open new facilities for people with learning disabilities – and to RADA.

He went on to a string of appearances in TV drama and comedy, including Rumpole of the Bailey, Doctors, Midsomer Murders, Extras, The IT Crowd and Rome.

At the age of 50, he finally had the job security to put a down-payment on a Jaguar from Westover Motors, whose boss Paul Collins is a long-standing family friend. The roles that gave him the security to do so were in Holby City and as Pius Thicknesse in the two Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films.

He said of Harry Potter: “The first scene I did was with Bill Nighy, who’s a lovely man, and there was a great big knobbly dark wooden chair and me and Bill and Peter Mullen and hundreds of extras in a great big green world.

“You go into this huge hangar of a studio set and there’s a rather sickly green coloured horrible room that you enter and they put on all the magic afterwards. Very exciting!”

He was asked to become president of Highcliffe Charity Players after mentioning it on Celebrity Mastermind, where his specialist subject was his hero Peter O’Toole.

“They wrote to me and said would I like to be president – and I leapt at it because I made my stage debut with them as a rather funny little footman. We’re not sure whether it was Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.

“My parents were part of the original team that set it up in Highcliffe in the early ’70s. They’re a very successful amateur company and it’s great fun to be a little part of them and to give something back to where I started.”

  • The Dorset Business Awards, organised by Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, take place at the BIC on Thursday November 27.