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Nicholls plays Dr Robert Fielding, who, despite the custom-made suits that his well-off patients fund through their inflated medical bills, believes he owes everything to the NHS, which trained him.
He repays the system by working night shifts in a busy hospital A& E department.
The idea for this one was born in the canteen at the Royal National Theatre.
I didn't want to be a heart-throb, and I could not handle the attention.' Initially, though, Nicholls found the fame exciting. The more I partied, the more I was telling myself, "Wow, this is what acting is all about". I had an appetite for craziness.' But his love life diverted public attention from the drink and drugs.• Serve with fresh fruit, date caramel and chia jam.• Top with a sprinkle of your favourite granola and finish with sliced banana.Paul Nicholls was only 16 when he first found fame - as the schizophrenic Joe Wicks in East Enders.He had everything: a £70,000-a-year salary, the adulation of millions of fans, was twice voted TV's sexiest actor, and had affairs with the soap's leading ladies, Martine Mc Cutcheon and Daniella Westbrook.