Series 1 Cast Interviews
Cristian Solimeno

Cristian Solimeno

Plays
Jason Turner

"Jason is a hard-drinker and a womaniser. He is a larger than life natural born leader, with a great talent at football, but he's got by on his talent rather than hard work. Now that age is getting the better of him, he's kind of fallen apart a little bit. Especially as there's a new manager, Stefan Hauser at Earls Park - his whole world gets shaken up with his place on the team looking uncertain.

"I did a lot of reading for the role. I read loads of autobiographies - Dennis Wise, Vinnie Jones, Ian Wright, Kevin Keegan, Paul Merson, Tony Adams... anything I could get my hands on.

"Jason is a really great character. What's so much fun is that his emotions are bubbling out of him all the time. He's like a big child, which is unsurprising considering that he achieved success at a really young age, like a lot of these fellas. He's never had to grow up because he's been pampered all the time, and he's been rewarded for that kind of attitude and selfishness. That's probably what's made him such a good player - but he's a self-destructive guy.

"The relationship between Jason's wife Tanya is very volatile, to say the least. She's the great love of his life, but they torture the f**k out of each other the whole time. He can't deal with the responsibility that he feels towards her. It's his job that's keeping them in this lifestyle. It's excellent working with Zoe, she's one of the best actors I've ever worked with - and very beautiful. There was a real chemistry between us, even at the audition.

"Usually I don't drink, or smoke, or eat red meat. But I've started drinking again, and puffing on big cigars. So it was the other way round, because that's Jason, he spirals out of control physically. Usually I'm an exercise fanatic and I rely on that as a coping mechanism, but I injured myself training for this. Football is such a dangerous game, you know! It's funny when you play a role, how your subconscious kind of structures your life around your role. Jason's always out drinking and I couldn't even remember what it was like to be drunk. I hadn't touched a drop for like, two years.

"I think football's a beautiful game, and I love to play it. But I force myself to not watch it. I've trained myself out of it as there's just so much else to do. I don't support a team. If I did, I'd support Chelsea, but I don't."

There are certainly some aspects of Jason's lifestyle that Cristian has enjoyed! "It's great to have a chance to wear some lovely stuff. Loads of it is Kenzo. We went in there shopping for the series, and now I'm in there every week for myself! They know me really well. It's 'Ah, Cris, come in...' I can't stop shopping there, it's really bad!"

And on the glamorous house and car: "When you film you can be in the most beautiful environments, but you rarely get a chance to appreciate it, as you're surrounded by cables and lighting. The house is probably worth millions and there's a swimming pool with a footballer mosaic on the bottom, but it's not really my cup of tea. Jason drives a Range Rover, and I love it. I want it!"