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Apr 8, 2018
Iain Glen reveals why he hasn’t forgotten his roots

He’s starred in Game Of Thrones and Delicious, but actor Iain Glen hasn’t forgotten his roots.



As one of the longest-serving (and surviving) cast members of Game Of Thrones, it must have come as something of an ego blow for Iain Glen to discover he was to be bumped off in the very first episode of his next drama, Delicious.

Luckily for Iain, the writers decided they wanted to keep his character in the show from beyond the grave.

And now he’s back for a second series of Delicious, which was Sky One’s highest rating original drama of last year.

Iain plays Leo, a celebrity chef who has an affair with his ex-wife, played by Dawn French, behind the back of his second wife (Emilia Fox).

A heart attack swiftly kills him in episode one, but Leo remains as a narrator, finally stepping back on screen in the last episode.

“My daughter had attempted suicide and came into ‘God’s waiting room’, where she had this imagined conversation with me,” says Iain, 56.

“The writers took that and have continued it into the new season. It feels like a quite unique conceit.”

Iain certainly isn’t used to being killed off so quickly. He has played Ser Jorah Mormont in Game Of Thrones for seven seasons without succumbing to deadly disease or bloodthirsty battle.

He says both shows have been great fun to film, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to rejoin the cast of Delicious for a second spin.

“It was hugely enjoyable filming in Cornwall and I’m very fond of Dawn and Emilia. It’s a lovely sensation as an actor to return to something that has gone down well, and to meet up with people and have that shared experience. I feel it on Thrones very acutely, but I definitely felt it on this, too.”

The food required for filming made life on set particularly enjoyable.

“There’s lots of nibbling going on at Delicious as they give us fantastic dishes to work with,” he says, although playing a chef hasn’t improved his skills in the kitchen.

“I’m a foodie in the sense that I love food and can eat enormous amounts of it and get away with it – much to the irritation of my wife. But I’m really moronic when it comes to creating meals. I don’t trust myself or have any instinct for it, so I laboriously follow a recipe to within an inch of its life and get very nervous about it,” he says.

“If I were asked to do one of those celebrity cooking shows it would be a clear, resounding no.”

It’s unlikely Iain will need to do any reality TV any time soon, though, having been on the receiving end of the ever-escalating salaries enjoyed by the Thrones cast.


The main stars are reportedly on up to seven figures per episode in the final season, though Iain would never be so vulgar as to entertain a conversation about pay packets.

“For me, success has never been about visibility or a recognition but the ability to have done enough to choose the parts you take,” he says.

“When I get into my sixties and seventies, it would be nice not to need to work – I know too many actors for whom life is very hard.”

So what was the secret to avoiding being brutally wiped out? “I’ve been sucking up to the writers when I’ve met them,” he jokes.

“Those of us who have survived – and Ser Jorah has teetered close to demise for quite a few seasons – do feel very lucky to have staggered to the final act.”

It probably helps that Iain hasn’t annoyed anyone by giving away any big plot twists over the years.

“I haven’t ever let anything slip,” he says.

“It’s quite fun because people ask so much that you start toying with them and then play along as if you’ve given something away, but deep down people don’t really want to know. They ask but it would just spoil it for them.”

Iain grew up in Edinburgh but didn’t discover acting until he was at the University Of Aberdeen, quickly dropping out to study at RADA – thankfully with the support of his mother and father.

“They’ve enjoyed a lot of theatre, TV and films I’ve made over the years,” he says. His career has included stints with the RSC, starring alongside Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room in London’s West End, plus roles in Downton Abbey, Ripper Street and the Resident Evil trilogy.

“My parents are still in Scotland, though they’re more fragile and less mobile than they were, so we tend to go to them more often than we did 10 years ago,” he says.

“I love returning to Edinburgh as it’s a great, quality life up there and I’m bombarded with memories from childhood.”

He even wonders if growing up north of the border may have given his career a boost.

“I feel fortunate in that I’m not associated with a particular class, which is massive in the UK,” he says.

“I’ve portrayed a range of good souls and bad souls and feel lucky not to be perceived too strongly as one or another. I don’t know if that’s to do with being a Scot working down here, although I don’t have a very pronounced accent. People love to pigeonhole actors in the UK, so it’s good I’ve managed to avoid that.”

Does he ever see himself moving back? “Well, I’ve married an English lady and we have built a life down here,” he says.

“We’ll see, but I think it feels unlikely right now. We’re very rooted where we are.”

The “English lady” in question is the actress Charlotte Emmerson, who Iain married this summer after 12 years together.

“I’m rather enjoying saying ‘my wife’,” he admits.

“I used to use it and [Charlotte] would say, ‘I’m not your wife.’ It was just shorthand really, but she told me not to, so it’s nice that now I can and not get corrected.”

The pair celebrated their nuptials with an intimate meal in a Georgian house near their home in London’s Dulwich Village.

“It was just as we wanted it, with only our immediate family, about 30 of us. The courses just kept coming and it was the most perfect realisation of what we hoped it would be.Then we took stock, waited a month or two and threw a big party for about 200 friends.

“It made sense to us to separate the two. Sometimes, when you put it all together it can be overwhelming and you lose the personal, small-scale intimacy of a marriage the way you want it, but you don’t want to not share it with friends.

It worked well and we managed to pick two of the hottest days of last summer.”

The couple already have two children together, Mary, 10, and Juliet, four. Iain also has a son, Finlay, 22, from a previous marriage.

The three still find their father being recognised in the street “kind of odd”.

“My 10 year old rather loved it when people asked for selfies, although she has started to become a little blasé. My littlest one doesn’t quite understand yet, while my eldest has ignored me as an actor in quite a healthy way and rarely watches stuff I’m in.”

It might make more sense once his girls are old enough to watch his most famous roles. “I did a voiceover for [Nick Jr cartoon series] Nella The Princess Knight, providing the voice of Santa, and a few years ago I did Kidnapped, the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, when Finlay was the right age to watch that.

It’s nice when you can do stuff they are able to enjoy.”

They’ll certainly have quite the back catalogue to catch up on when they reach their late teens.

Source: The Express

Delicious - Game of Thrones

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