Is it the beginning of the end for Ser Jorah?

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Sunday’s Game of Thrones, titled “Kill the Boy,” concluded with Mormont (Iain Glen) getting quite a shock after fighting with the stone men along the ruins of old Valyria: He’s contracted greyscale, the deadly and disfiguring disease that gradually covers the afflicted. EW exclusively spoke to Glen about the twist, which he first discovered when reading the script for Sunday’s episode.

“I thought, ‘Uh-oh, here comes trouble,’” Glen said. “Then you start reaching out for what this means, and [showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff] are playing their cards very close to their vest on this one.”

Yes, but getting greyscale … that can’t be good, right?

“You wouldn’t think good,” he said. “But in this story, people have died from it and they have been saved from it. So who knows? It’s a slow burn, greyscale, and there are ways to intervene.”

Indeed, Thrones cleverly set-up the topic of greyscale earlier this season by delving into the backstory of Stannis’ daughter Shireen, who contracted the disease as an infant. Last week, Stannis recounted how he marshaled all his resources to find an apothecary who could halt the spread of the disease and eventually succeeded—but not before greyscale scarred his daughter’s face for life. The moment played as a character-building scene, but in actuality it was also helping set up this week’s revelation. “Dan and David are so clever at surprising you, so wherever you think something might lead, it usually leads somewhere else,” Glen said.

Beyond the greyscale twist, season 5 has given Glen a more independent storyline this year, since Ser Jorah has been in exile from Daenerys. “It’s a very different journey this year to being constantly attached to Daenerys – which I’ve loved, but I’m enjoying the freedom of playing different scenes away from her as I’m working my way back toward her,” Glen said.

The shakeup has also meant plenty of scenes with one of Thrones’ most coveted scene partners, Peter Dinklage, as Jorah attempts to bring his prize captive Tyrion Lannister to Meereen. “There’s nothing complicated or difficult about Peter,” Glen noted about working with the Emmy winner. “He’s a lovely guy. We have a laugh. He’s the type of actor I really like—he can be serious when he needs to be, but then he’s not when he doesn’t need to be.”

As for what’s next for Ser Jorah, the actor will only tease that his character will get a major action scene later this season. “I’ve had bits and pieces of fighting through the course of the seasons,” he said. “I had the one-to-one with the Dothraki bloodrider, and then there was the sequence fighting to get into the city of Meereen. But this season will be the most substantial fighting I’ve had.”

Asked if there’s anything he wants his character to accomplish, Glen’s surprisingly chivalrous answer would make Ser Jorah proud. “I’d like to see Daenerys sit on the Iron Throne,” he said. “I’d like him to help her achieve her success.”

May 11th, 2015 Game of Thrones, Television admin 0 Comments

Busiest actor in showbiz talks to Bridget Galton about his Hampstead role in debut play reworked from Checkhov short stories.

There’s a tangible buzz of excitement around Hampstead Theatre these days. When I arrive to interview the venue’s latest big name actor, the “House Full” sign is pride of place on Eton Avenue and the foyer is thronged with matinée-goers who’ve secured the last tickets for outgoing play Di and Viv and Rose. The last time I visited, they were patiently queuing for returns to see Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss – a show now running in the West End.

It’s all so different from the pre-Edward Hall wilderness years when play after play received a critical drubbing and even loyal audiences lost faith.

It looks as though that sign will become rather weather-beaten in the coming weeks since the next play, starring Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig and John Sessions, is close to selling out before opening night. Longing is the debut play of novelist William Boyd, of Reckless and Any Human Heart fame, who has turned the characters and settings of two Chekhov short stories into a full-length drama that ploughs the familiar furrow of painfully humorous unfulfilled hope in provincial 19th century Russia.

Glen, possibly the busiest actor in showbiz at the moment, insists: “We are not doing a Chekhov play, we are doing a play in the world of Chekhov.

“It’s inspired by those two stories but he has reworked them so they are unrecognisable.” The actor has recently finished playing Uncle Vanya, but adds: “Chekhov is the master and you can’t get too much of it really. It’s very exciting to do a new play. That was the big draw, as well as William, who is a brilliant novelist. I read the script and thought it was marvellous. It’s a big shift from a novel to writing a play, which has to unfold through dialogue but this is very, very good.”

The 51-year-old, who turns out to be a courteous and relaxed interviewee, plays a successful Moscow lawyer who returns to the country estate where he spent his salad days as a tutor. He once again excites the affections of Greig’s character, one of the daughters of the family, who are seeking his help with their financial woes.

“He’s coming back after a long period to the people he spent this idyllic period with, but there are ulterior motives, and the estate is in jeopardy. He’s a solitary man, although loved by women he’s never been able to commit to a loving long-term relationship. He’s a commitment-phobe.”

The play is billed as humorous, though when I put to Glen that Chekhov too often barely raises a smile, he agrees. “Chekhov can be treated too seriously and forbiddingly and be seen as full of melancholic people and it’s a mystery how he could be misinterpreted that way because he made it clear in his lifetime that he felt the first productions of his great plays were being misplayed and took to writing “comedy” in brackets after the title.

The truth is, like many great plays, they are a mixture of both sadness and humour and should make you laugh and cry. He portrays human nature as messy, unfocused and full of misplaced longing.One of the reasons his plays are universal is those qualities about human nature remain the same.”

Glen’s enviably diverse and consistently busy career has taken in classic stage roles from Shakespeare, to Ibsen, Chekhov to Tennessee Williams. When we meet, he’s enjoying the “different frisson” of rehearsing an untested script.

“Rehearsal for me is my happiest time, a time of risk and play,” he says. “Representing a piece of writing in theatre, without the pressure of an audience is the most exciting time. I love playing with the actors and director about how something can become manifest, that’s the reason I went into this job, not for fortune or walking down a red carpet – to play with lines and make them feel they belong to me.”
As opening night approaches, he admits to a certain anxiety, but never fright.

“The closer you get to having to put it in front of people the more there is a nervousness that focuses you. But fear isn’t very useful, I try not to be fearful it stops you being playful, and the longer you have been in the business you realise you can’t always please all the people all the time. Things go wrong. Life goes on.”

Not only does he move easily between theatre, radio, film and TV, but Glen is unusual in being freely cast across all classes and types, and his supremely unprecious view of the profession even extends to the unactorly comment that: “I don’t mean to negate what we do but there are some programmes which could be recast and be just as successful.”

Right now he’s appearing as an exiled knight in worldwide mega-hit Game of Thrones, a working class convict in BBC1 gritty Prisoner’s Wives and an Irish detective on Channel Five’s Jack Taylor series.

“Class is an obsession for some, and for me not to be typecast classwise was terribly important. It was perhaps helpful that my Scottish accent wasn’t too strong and was hard to pin down. I feel very grateful that I can chop and change, I would feel very bereft if film or theatre was taken away, I relish the change and differences each brings, and I think I would have had more fallow periods if I hadn’t been available wanting to work in all mediums or had insisted on only doing movies.”

But while he enjoys adopting dialogues and is “a bit dog like” with a new part, he’s not the type to become haunted by discarded characters.

“As an actor you come in at the eleventh hour and do the visible thing that gets noticed, on any given night you have to be very, very present but once it’s finished you can bugger off and forget about it rather quickly. That suits my superficial nature. When I exit a film set on wrap, I’m out of there like a rocket. I change myself out of costume and make-up and am off back to family and home.”
That home is in Dulwich with actress Charlotte Emerson and their daughter.

And while there are enthusiastic fans (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey), it’s nothing like the frenzy surrounding his appearance at the Donmar Warehouse in 1998, opposite Nicole Kidman in sexual-merry-go-round drama The Blue Room.

It brought unwanted paparazzi attention to both his own first marriage and Kidman’s marriage when she split from Tom Cruise a few years later.

“I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t like to play a role in a hugely successful film that gave me world wide recognition, but how I would be with the degree of scrutiny of a Tom Cruise, I don’t know. I’ve had times when I became recognisable and got a taste of it. I am not unhappy with how things have panned out.

February 22nd, 2015 Theatre admin 0 Comments

Game of Thrones star Iain Glen says reading is the “single most important thing” for any child to learn.

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The actor, currently filming series five of the HBO series in which he plays knight Ser Jorah Mormont, told pupils during a visit to Jubilee Primary in Tulse Hill how as a child he used to love curling up in bed with Tintin books and a Marmite sandwich.

He said reading has continued to be an important part of his life since — especially as a father of three.

The 53-year-old Scot, who lives in Dulwich, made the comments after reading a passage from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island to about 20 pupils, teachers and reading volunteers from literacy charity Beanstalk in support of the Evening Standard’s Get London Reading Campaign.

He said: “Reading is the basis of all culture — drama, film, theatre — and it’s only through the written word that you can properly access in your imagination such different worlds.” He added that he also found reading with his children before bedtime a welcome moment of calm.

“I’ve read to them every single night of their lives since they were two years old or something. In the hysteria of the day, it’s a lovely quiet time.”

After his reading, the result of a partnership between eReader and tablet firm NOOK and ESI Media, the children asked questions.

Glen urged them to go to university and told them he first got into acting as a student because he wanted to kiss a girl he liked.

Beanstalk wants to recruit more reading helpers. To volunteer, call 020 7729 4087 or visit beanstalkcharity.org.uk

November 21st, 2014 Charity Work admin 0 Comments

Iain Glen returns to our screens as private investigator Jack Taylor on Channel 5 this Wednesday. We caught up with the versatile actor, now an internationally recognised star thanks to his role in Game of Thrones, to find out what’s in store for the Irish private eye in the new series…

We understand Jack has given up drink and is going to mass when we catch up with him in the new series?
“He’s trying very hard to turn over a new leaf! Like many a person who suffers from the demon drink there’s a part of him that really wants to escape it, and that’s where we find him at the beginning of the series.”



Does this mean he’s a changed man?
“It doesn’t really make him behave better! Because he’s missing it furiously, it probably makes him misbehave more than anything! The more complicated the case he’s working on becomes, the more he wants to turns to the booze. You’ll just have to see what unfolds!”

What can you tell us about the opening case in the new series?
“Jack enters the world of university life when an academic asks him to look into the bizarre death of a student who’s fallen to her death dressed as a character from a famous J.M. Synge play, Deirdre of the Sorrows. The crime is very odd and quirky, and quite grim.”

Has it been quite a physical role?
“I don’t want to give anything away, but Jack’s not averse to using violence, or the threat of it, to get someone to tell the truth! As always, he gets battered, bruised and broken bones!”

The series is based on the books of Irish writer Ken Bruen. Have you read them?
“I’ve read all the novels – more than once! During the course of filming the series I read only Jack Taylor novels. Ken’s a great writer of dialogue.”

You’ve managed to play a broad range of characters (Spooks, Downton Abbey, Prisoners’ Wives, Game of Thrones) during your career. Is it an actor’s dream come true?
“It’s what you hope for. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve never been hugely typecast since I started. I think theatre is part of the reason for that, being able to break out and do different roles. I’ve spread myself quite thin, but I’ve yet to be associated with a type of character, which I’m pleased about. Variety is definitely the spice of acting!”

May 16th, 2014 Jack Taylor, Television admin 0 Comments

Iain Glen has reassured fans that he is back to full health after pulling out of a West End play in January with a mystery illness.

The Scottish star ended his role as Kuzovkin in Fortune’s Fool at the Old Vic a week early on the advice of his doctors. Glen, who has not revealed the nature of the illness, joined the rest of the Game Of Thrones cast as they took over Guildhall in the City for the premiere of the new series last night.

The 52-year-old, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont, told the Standard: “I am much recovered. I know what I’m doing for the rest of the year and it’s all pretty camera-based. But I’d love to return to the stage soon, just not immediately.”

Fans of the Sky Atlantic show were shocked when several characters were killed off in the infamous “Red Wedding” scene last year. Liam Cunningham, 52, who plays Davos Seaworth, said to expect more of the same. “Quite early on there’s going to be a severe ‘WTF’ moment. There’s some remarkable stuff coming up,” he said.

March 26th, 2014 Theatre admin 0 Comments

Game Of Thrones star Iain Glen has been forced to pull out of the Old Vic’s hit play FORTUNE’S FOOL due to an unknown illness.

Understudy Patrick Cremin has been standing in for 52-year-old Glen for the last week, but doctors advised he should not return for medical reasons. William Houston has now been cast to replace him in the role of ‘Kuzovkin’, opposite Olivier Award winner Richard McCabe as ‘Tropatchov’.

In an official statement, an Old Vic Theatre spokesman said: “Unfortunately Iain Glen is unwell and has been advised by his doctor to withdraw from FORTUNE’S FOOL in order to regain his full health. We are delighted to announce that William Houston will be taking on the role of Kuzovkin and in the meantime, Iain’s understudy, Patrick Cremin continues to give a sterling performance.” Having opened at the beginning of last month to rave reviews, “everyone at The Old Vic wish Iain a speedy recovery and thank William for stepping into the role at short notice.”

The classically trained Houston, 45, has appeared on stage opposite Nicole Kidman in the 1998 production of The Blue Room, in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Euripides’ Bacchai at the National Theatre, as well as Troilus and Cressida, Henry IV, Henry V, Ben Jonson’s Sejanus, and most recently Coriolanus for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His films include Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.

At the Old Vic until 22 February 2014, book your FORTUNE’S FOOL tickets today!

March 1st, 2014 Theatre admin 0 Comments

At the age of 52, actor Iain Glen has become a pin-up.

At a time when his fine features have begun to ripen, when a waffle of wrinkles has appeared on his handsome brow, when his hairline is inching north as roles as a romantic lead head south, he has found himself hot, hot, hotter than ever.

This is not because of television appearances as newspaper magnate Sir Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey, or as Galway private eye Jack Taylor, or even his 1998 turn opposite Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room, the ‘theatrical Viagra’ play that found him doing naked cartwheels across the stage.

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No, this is all because of Ser Jorah Mormont, the strong but not quite silent character Glen plays in the hit HBO television series, Game Of Thrones — a Tolkienesque adventure extravaganza that is hugely popular all over the world.

Being cast as a sweat-stained, exiled knight finds the Scottish-born actor thrashing across the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in full hunk mode.

He wears a breast plate and a leather kilt, even on horseback. He occasionally decapitates enemies.

He says things like: ‘There is a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.’ Most of all, he just gives good brood.

A huge part of Jorah’s appeal is that he bubbles with unrequited love for Daenerys, the exiled princess of the Targaryen dynasty (keep up), also known as the Stormborn Queen of the Dragons, the Breaker of Chains; she is a royal personage who is always addressed by the honorific title of Khaleesi.

She is also a woman who gave birth, as I understand it, to baby dragon triplets. What man could resist?

She is blonde, she is doggedly boobalicious, she is beautiful — and she looks about 19 years old. So first question right there: surely she is far too young for noble but weatherbeaten Jorah The Andal?

‘Ahhh. It was a different time, a different age,’ says Glen, with a wave of his hand.

Despite being one of the most in-demand actors of his generation, Glen has never been known as a heart-throb — or really made it as a Hollywood star.

Now, for the first time in his career, he is recognised all the time, all over the world. While innocently having a coffee in Cologne airport recently, a middle-aged woman approached him.

‘Are you Iain Glen?’ she asked.

‘Yes, I am.’

‘Can you do something for me?’

‘Sure, what?’

‘Could you look me in the eyes and say “Khaleesi”?’

Glen sportingly obliged, fixing her with his piercing Jorah stare and giving his ‘Khaaaaleesi’ full, lusty timbre. ‘Thank you very much,’ she cried. ‘You have made my day.’

Although Sir Richard Carlisle, one-time fiance of Lady Mary, disappeared in series two of Downton Abbey, some think that she should have married him.

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‘Exactly. Exactly!’ says Glen. ‘Julian Fellowes said quite sweetly he thinks they are quite suited to each other and would make a good couple. I agree.

‘They are both steely, forceful individuals who tend to get their own way. I think there would be the odd argument and slap, but generally they would get on.’

Now that Mary is a merry widow, he could come back. ‘He might! I would love if that was to happen. There are different whispers, but you believe nothing until something either happens or it doesn’t.’

It is perhaps his role in The Blue Room that provided Glen’s most notorious appearance to date. Although co-star Nicole Kidman got all the attention for a coy glimpse of her right buttock, it was Glen who revealed most.

‘Well, Nicole is a movie star, I wasn’t. She is a beautiful woman, I am a man with an unattractive dongle between my legs. Who wants to see that? Still, it did make me laugh. She stood up naked with her back to the audience for a moment.

‘You might have  seen a glimpse of something. I was full frontal doing cartwheels and no one seemed to notice.’

Funnily enough, he still loves getting his kit off. ‘I don’t mind being naked.

‘My children and my partner see me naked a lot at home. I don’t know why, I just like it.’

We meet in the rehearsal rooms of The Old Vic theatre in London, where Glen is about to appear as Kuzovkin in the Turgenev play, Fortune’s Fool. Worryingly, the first thing I see are his hastily discarded jeans and shirt, hanging from the legs of an upended table.

This is only because he has changed into his own frayed and patched ‘rehearsal clothes’, which help him get into character.

Kuzovkin is an impoverished gentleman, down on his luck, living on the comfort of others. ‘I hope we can make people laugh and cry with it,’ says Glen.

He lives in London with his partner, actress Charlotte Emmerson. They met while working at the National Theatre and have two daughters: six-year-old Mary and baby Juliet, who was born last Christmas.
He was previously married to the actress Susannah Harker and their son Finlay, now 18, has just gone to Trinity College in Dublin. Glen did not baulk at the thought of having another family.

‘I think if a woman says “I want a child”, then if you love that person and they love you, then you have the child. If Charlotte wants children, then we will keep having them.’

That’s very emotionally generous of you, I say. Lots of slightly older men with first families don’t feel that way. ‘I know and I find that weird. Selfish — but men are much more capable of being selfish than women. Women generally are better beings all round.’

 

 

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This morning was difficult. My youngest girl, who is aged 10 months, woke up just after 5am. Depending on the shape of the night, one of us [Iain Glen or his partner, the actress Charlotte Emmerson] will get up at an ungodly hour with the little one and try and survive until breakfast when the rest of the family appears.

I start my day by getting on my Cannondale bicycle. I’ve been addicted to cycling for two decades. It transformed my opinion of London. You arrive at your destination energised and enthused. You get to see the grandeur of the city and the parks and all these higglety pigglety streets you’d never normally go up.

My other daughter, who is six, has her own bike and we set off together in the morning. I’ll escort her to school and then head into the Old Vic, where we are rehearsing Fortune’s Fool, for around 9.30am. If I could be stuck in one place as an actor it would be a rehearsal room preparing for a theatre piece. I love it.

I don’t bring work home. I really believed as a young actor that work was the most important thing but it feels less important now. Children make you forget about everything else. I love to play tennis. I’ve joined this lovely little club in Dulwich Village, where I live. It’s a great place to spend time. I’ll play maybe two or three times a week with my brother.

My other big thing is music and the guitar. I’ve played since I was 14 years old. I brought this period acoustic Martin in New York when I was doing The Blue Room with Nicole Kidman. I also got a guitar made for me by a luthier in Clapham. There’s nothing more relaxing than just sitting strumming away, especially when filming and you’re idling time away in your caravan.

We’ve just completed filming of season four of Game of Thrones [Glen plays Ser Jorah Mormont]. The scripts for season five have been written and that’s what we’ll be thinking about now. All I’ll say is that there are surprises up ahead. We’ve been doing some very different scenes in season four. We might be entering pastures new. It’s going to be fantastic and I’d say it’s going to be the biggest and the best yet.
My storyline follows a nomadic tribe that travels from place to place, so we are always on the move. The majority of the storyline is filmed in cold, wet Northern Ireland and then I turn up to shoot in Malta, Croatia and Morocco. I really struck lucky with the role. It’s so varied that some of the cast only met for the first time recently when we did a photoshoot for Vanity Fair.

I don’t know exactly what lies in store for my character because I haven’t read the books [George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, on which Game of Thrones is based]. It’s important that this functions as a screenplay and I quite like the surprise of not knowing where it is going.

Working on something of this scale is a constant highlight. It’s a dream job. But if I had to pick one [spoiler alert], then I’d say the culminating scene of the first season when Khal Drogo was burned on the pyre. I approach Emilia [Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen] in the aftermath of the burning embers and the dragons emerge for the first time. All the elements just felt right. It felt like something we’d never done before, as if we’d all realised that this was indeed something special.

December 12th, 2013 Game of Thrones, Television, Theatre admin 0 Comments

The actor, 52, on stage craft, what we can learn from children and why he loves being naked

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Actors shouldn’t necessarily be able to speak intelligently about what they do. That academic intellectualising of what you’re up to is so alien to me. And, more than anything, I’m thick.

Simple tasks make man simple. That was Jung’s philosophy, and I agree. Neuroses and psychoses come when we overanalyse. If you have to go and chop a tree down to get wood to build a fire to keep you warm, most human beings are happy doing that. I certainly am. Doing a simple activity makes you calm.

The happiest I’ve been was at the birth of my children, and I fluffed my lines on each occasion. At the birth of my second child I mistook the umbilical cord for a penis and called the wrong sex.

Children teach you how to love better. If we could only love our partners as we love our children there would be more relationships that lasted a lifetime.

I despise my adolescent self. I was very rejecting of my parents, but also incredibly needy of them. Every time they went away I imagined they’d died, and I used to cry at night. Then they’d come back and I’d be rude to them.

I had no fear of anything when I was young, and I was always falling off high things. I still have this trait. In South Africa a couple of years ago I drove past a sign for Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee in the world. Twenty minutes later I was jumping off the bridge. It was like the best fairground ride ever.

When I was younger I was living in Scotland and didn’t feel Scottish enough – that made me upset. Now I feel entirely Scottish, but I’m not for independence. It feels a bit churlish to live in London and say we should be independent.

I stumbled into acting at university. I had a small part in The Crucible and this girl came along who I really fancied, and afterwards she said: “I couldn’t take my eyes off you.” I was sold. I thought: acting – that’s what I’ll do.

Walking my little girl to school this morning there was a big puddle, and I saw three different kids jump in it and three different adults avoid it. I thought: there’s the journey from childhood to growing up, from wanting to jump in puddles to wanting to not get your shoes dirty.

Given half the chance, I’ll be naked. I’ll walk round my house naked until I’m forced to put on clothes and go out. When Nicole Kidman and I were in The Blue Room [in the West End], everyone was talking about a flash of Nicole’s back, and there I was doing full-frontal naked cartwheels and no one seemed to care.

I loved the time I spent with Arthur Miller. As a young actor I was in The Man Who Had All the Luck, and he invited me to visit him in Connecticut. He was generous, and it felt right that he was the man who wrote those masterpieces.

The guitar keeps me sane. Time really flies when I’m playing, so it’s a perfect complement to waiting, which you do a lot of when you’re filming.

Cycling is my addiction. It’s transformed my feelings about London. I never really liked London until I got on a bicycle, and it’s like you’re in a secret club… you arrive at every destination feeling energised and happy.

December 7th, 2013 Theatre admin 0 Comments

Game Of Thrones star Iain Glen looks dapper as he films scenes for new ITV1 drama Breathless

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He’s been in two of the most globally successful TV dramas of recent years and it looks as though Iain Glen is set to make it a hat-trick. The Downton Abbey star looked dapper in a three-piece suit as he filmed scenes for the ITV1’s latest drama Breathless in central London on Saturday.

Set to be as popular as his predecessors, Breathless – which has yet to have a confirmed airing date – focuses on the complicated private lives of a group of doctors and nurses at a London hospital in 1961 ‘The medical stories and events are there to illuminate and complicate the lives of our key characters and 1961 is a fascinating time in which to explore the changing role of women in society,’ said ITV Studios executive producer Kate Bartlett. ‘It’s an exhilarating and charismatic drama.’ Glen joins Shaun Dingwell, Jack Davenport, Natasha Little, Zoe Boyle and Joanna Page in the show, which has been created by Paul Unwin, who will also direct the first two episodes of the series.

Shaun Dingwell looked dapper too as he filmed the scenes, wearing a three-piece tweed suit complete with a red bow tie. The females on set looked fabulous as they sported an array of floaty dresses and headpieces. Breathless has been co-created and written by Paul Unwin, who will also direct the first two episodes of the series.  The series opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy Gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.

Jack Davenport plays Otto Powell, a brilliant and charismatic surgeon, who passionately believes he can make a difference to women’s lives, even if that means risking imprisonment under the abortion laws of 1961. Otto and his elegant wife, Elizabeth, played by Natasha Little, preside over the rich ensemble of characters – they are the beautiful people living the consumerist dream and the couple that the others aspire towards.  But Otto and Elizabeth are hiding a devastating secret about their marriage – an event in their past which could shatter the careful illusion they have created. Otto’s oldest friend and closest colleague, Dr Charlie Enderbury, played by Shaun Dingwall, is an experienced anesthetist who is married to ex-nurse Lily, played by Joanna Page. Together they share a warm and loving marriage and Charlie hopes for a promotion that will guarantee a better life for him and his wife.

But his hopes are dashed when newcomer Dr Mehta, played by Ronny Jhutti, is appointed Chair of Anesthesiology and the couple struggle to keep up in the wake of their circle of friends. Charlie also holds another, far deeper burden – he alone knows the truth about Otto and Elizabeth. Dr Richard Truscott, played by Oliver Chris, a junior consultant, oozes boyish confidence and charm in the face of his medical students and is constantly irritated by Otto’s superiority.  He is engaged to Jean, played by Zoe Boyle, a sensual and fiery nurse who is convinced her dream is to become a doting housewife living in the lap of luxury, but as an independent woman, Jean cannot always do what her husband expects of her. 

New to London is Jean’s sister Angela, played by Catherine Steadman, who arrives from Portsmouth to take up a job in the hospital. Angela is a dynamic and striking nurse with a strong moral sense who won’t let her responsibilities be compromised. But when she meets the charismatic Otto Powell, she can’t help feel an urge of temptation that she struggles to repress and no one has caught Otto’s eye in years in the way that Angela has.

May 7th, 2013 Television admin 0 Comments
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