“Playing Glen has given me the utmost respect and admiration for people living with a brain tumour."
Actor Owain Arthur about portraying Glen, who has a glioblastoma, in Casualty's powerful storyline.
As Glen went AWOL on Casualty this evening with pregnant Robyn (Amanda Henderson) frantically trying to track him down, the couple are left facing an uncertain future.
But, as Glen leaves the emotional storyline, actor Owain Arthur made this video supporting us and chatted to us about his role; how much he wanted to get it right for you – our wonderful supporters – and how he couldn't have done it without our help.
“When I was first approached about playing Glen, it was very much a love story with Robyn," said Owain. “But I was quickly told he would have a brain tumour and the focus was on how he would cope with it."
Casualty approached us to advise back in December and we are proud we helped bring such an important awareness-raising storyline to the screen; and the actors the guidance they needed for their roles.
“Playing Glen gave me an insight into the devastation of being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and the horrific challenges – both physically and emotionally – people face every day," said Owain. “Out of respect to them, I wanted my portrayal to be as accurate and sensitive as possible.
“The Brain Tumour Charity's expertise and crucial advice enabled me to do justice to Glen's role – I couldn't have done it without them."
Everyone reacts differently to a poor prognosis – and there's no right or wrong way. Owain explains how Glen's strongest emotion was guilt.
“He doesn't want to be a burden to anyone," he said. “And he feels very guilty about the impact on Robyn of having a relationship with him, which may explain his actions.
“His self-worth takes a big knock and he seems to think he doesn't have a right to a 'normal' life when, of course, he does even more and every day should count.
“Glen also uses humour as a coping mechanism – he calls his tumour Kylie because he can't get her out of his head and loves puns."
Before his role, like most people, Owain didn't know much about brain tumours and was shocked by our statistics. "It was a huge shock to find out that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK, yet research is very underfunded," he said.
Owain praises his co-stars Amanda and Jason Durr (who plays nurse David) and is also one of our high profile supporters. “They were wonderful in this important storyline," said Owain. It was daunting walking on to the set as I'd watched Casualty with my mum when I was a kid! Casualty is a tight-knit family, but they made me feel at home straight away and were so supportive as I played this challenging role."
Most of all, portraying Glen has given Owain a huge respect for people living with a brain tumour.
“I have the utmost admiration and respect for people living with a brain tumour who get up every morning, determined to make the most of their day," said Owain.
“I'm happy and honoured that playing Glen has helped me to raise awareness about such a cruel disease and this brilliant charity's mission to defeat it."