In October 2008 American actor Sam Page had the dubious honour of appearing as Dr Greg Harris in Mad Men’s most violent scene, in which his character forced himself on his fiancée Joan (Christina Hendricks) in Don Draper’s office. It was intense, uncomfortable TV, an unexpected burst of sexual violence from a programme known for its delicacy.

“I thought if there was ever a show to do some fucked up stuff on, this would be the one, because it would be very well thought out fucked up stuff,” Page says. “[Mad Men creator] Matt Weiner said they’d found in their research that it was a common occurrence in the workplace and something he wanted to happen, but not with a regular because you can’t buy that back.”

Coat £1,375 by Paul Smith, waistcoat £315 by John Varvatos, shirt by Michael Kors at Macy’s and trousers (part of suit) £865 by Paul Smith London

He’s right. There’s no way Draper would be quite as iconic if he he’d assaulted someone. But 34-year-old Page is okay with playing the programme’s least popular character. “I did an interview with a guy from a website once and he said that on their forum I’m known as Dr Rape. Then I was shooting Gossip Girl in New York recently, and people are really into Mad Men in New York, and I’d get people looking at me and I could tell something about me was creepy to them. It was weird.”

Page’s appearance in teen drama Gossip Girl is showing in America on the same evening as FHM’s chat with him, and at the same time as his debut in political sci-fi series The Event. It’s too much. He is, he says, working in a “new golden age of TV” where “you’re not necessarily compromising your integrity as a movie actor by doing a TV show because of the quality of stuff such as True Blood, The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.”

Coat £1,095 by Burberry Prorsum, jacket (part of suit) £865 by Paul Smith London, waistcoat £130 by John Varvatos, shirt £185 by Fake London and tie £125 by Prada

He has, you’ll note, spent a lot of time working with extremely attractive women, mostly Hendricks in Mad Men and Blake Lively in Gossip Girl, but has managed to cope without doing anything silly. “Fortunately I haven’t been playing their boss or gynaecologist or anything, so that’s not intimidating. And it’s actually a relief when they say ‘action’ to let yourself feel naturally attracted to two absolutely stunningly beautiful women.”

But then Wisconsin-born Page is a bit of a relationship expert having done a thesis on the female mating preferences of the Eastern mosquito fish at Princeton University. “Ultimately, what I found out, was if I do research on the same subject the department head is doing research on he’ll want to use my data and then I’ll be a published biologist and I’ll get an A in my thesis. And that’s exactly what happened.”

Coat £1,295 by Dunhill, shirt £98 by John Varvatos, bow-tie £90 by Neil Barratt, waistcoat by £125 by Jaeger and trousers by Billy Reid at Bloomingdale’s