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					                                                                                                                                                 Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales
(brief pack)

Introduction/production notes . . .          ...............................................                                                                                                                                    2
The Miller’s Tale
Interviews with the cast and writer
   Peter Bowker, writer . . . . . . . . .    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ....   4
   James Nesbitt plays Nick . . . . . .      .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ....   5
   Billie Piper plays Alison . . . . . . .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ....   7
   Dennis Waterman plays John . . .          .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ....   9

Canterbury Tales
                                                                        production notes

                                    Stars line up for
                                  modern re-telling of
                                  the Canterbury Tales
                                      for BBC One

Canterbury Tales has gathered together an              century is no different from the 14th in that human
outstanding cast which includes Julie Walters, James   weakness plays havoc with the human heart and
Nesbitt, Om Puri, John Simm, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul    there is still room for us to wise up. I wanted the
Nicholls, Dennis Waterman, Keeley Hawes, Billie        new season of tales to entertain but also to give us
Piper, Indira Varma, Andrew Lincoln and Jonny Lee      a little kick in the butt.”
Miller, in six, single dramas for BBC One.
                                                       When Laura Mackie returned from Arizona and
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are re-told for    discussed the idea with Jane Tranter, Controller of
a modern audience by some of Britain’s best-known      Drama Commissioning, the response she received
contemporary writers (Tony Marchant, Peter             was to “aim high”. So, once Mackie had signed
Bowker, Sally Wainwright and Tony Grounds) as well     producer Kate Bartlett, the process of choosing
as two writers new to television drama (Olivia         which tales to adapt and the writers to update
Hetreed and Avie Luthra) in one of the most            them began in earnest.
ambitious adaptations undertaken by the BBC.
                                                       “Kate really grabbed the concept and drove it with
Each of the tales is updated to the 21st century       great energy,” says Mackie. “We got together a wish
and set along the pilgrims’ route to Canterbury.       list of established writers and also some newer
The journey begins in Southwark, going on through      writers.This was a vital element of the mix because
Gravesend, Rochester and Chatham to Canterbury.        I believe it’s important that new writers are given a
                                                       chance to work on original concepts as well as on
For two of the executive producers, Laura Mackie       returning series.”
and Franc Roddam, their Canterbury Tales journey
began in spring 2001 in Phoenix, Arizona, when they    “We wanted to have a good mix of stories,” says
were looking for locations for BBC One’s Auf           Mackie.“So we balanced some of the saucier, more
Wiedersehen, Pet. “We were held up in Roy’s Bar        comedic tales with the more serious and darker
until the snow storms cleared over the Grand           stories.We also wanted to match those tales with
Canyon,” says Roddam.                                  the different writers’ strengths. For example, Peter
                                                       Bowker is brilliant at comedy, so we sent him The
“I had just taken over from Jane Tranter as Head of    Miller’s Tale: while Tony Marchant is wonderful at
Drama Serials and I told Franc about the projects      darker, more emotionally charged territory.We
we were developing and that we were looking for a      wanted to make sure we had a range of different
piece that reflected life in the new century,” says    stories so that each one felt unique whilst at the
Mackie. Franc is a brilliant ideas man and he          same time complimenting each other.”
mentioned the Canterbury Tales and what enduring
stories they were.We discussed how it might be         For Kate Bartlett, remaining as true to the
possible to update them to the present day and         original themes as possible was crucial to the
that sowed the seed of the idea.”                      overall concept.

“The diversity of characters in the tales reveals      “I wanted to be as faithful to the stories and spirit
everyone’s vanity and false humility and the           of the tales as possible and we have tried to
morality of life in the 14th century,” says Roddam.    achieve that.They’re not issue-based reality dramas.
“We recognise with this re-telling that the 21st       We often had to introduce sub-plots and

Canterbury Tales                                                                                              2
                                                                                 production notes

secondary stories because we always wanted the                  “The six films offer very different viewing
dramas to work on two levels.They had to appeal                 experiences,” says Mackie. “Some will appeal to
to those more familiar with Chaucer but also work               audiences who like comedy drama while others will
in their own right as single films, to an audience              appeal to an audience who want a more challenging
unfamiliar with Chaucer – and this was important                narrative. Hopefully, the audience will be drawn to
to all of us.”                                                  one for a particular piece of casting or storyline
                                                                and come back for more.”
“The tales are the most fantastic stories, full of
comedy, tragedy and the full range of human                     For Kate Bartlett, the whole experience of making
emotions,” says Bartlett. “The stories embody the               six contemporary, individual, single films has been
timeless themes of love, lust, greed, power, anger              an extraordinary challenge.
and bigotry: these emotions are as relevant today
as they were six hundred years ago.The characters               “Every shoot was completely and utterly different,
too are timeless. The Wife of Bath, for example, is a           with a new cast for each film and four different
wonderful, feisty, bawdy, independent woman who is              directors and crews. Each tale was set in a different
very much alive and living in the 21st century.                 location, so filming ranged from the amazing
Society might have changed but human emotions                   experience of townships in South Africa to the
and characters have not.”                                       harsh reality of Wandsworth prison, from historic
                                                                Rochester Cathedral to a run-down karaoke pub.
                                                                “The challenge of making six films, each scripted by
                                                                a distinctive and original writer, with a strong and
                                                                individual directorial style, was hard work but
                                                                incredibly exciting and rewarding,” says Bartlett.
                                                                “However, ultimately, we have to thank Chaucer for
                                                                writing such good stories, six hundred years ago.”

                                                                Canterbury Tales is produced by Kate Bartlett
                                                                (The Stretford Wives).

                                                                The directors are Julian Jarrold, John McKay, Marc
                                                                Munden and Andy De Emmony.

                                                                The executive producers are Laura Mackie, Franc
                                                                Roddam and Sally Haynes.

                            Julie Walters as the Wife of Bath

After a year in development and armed with the
scripts finally ready for shooting, Bartlett began
searching for directors and a cast that would carry
the tales to the screen.

“We always wanted to be ambitious with the
casting,” says Mackie. “Because each film involved a
short commitment of two or three weeks, we were
able to attract top-class artists like Julie Walters,
Jimmy Nesbitt, Om Puri and Jonny Lee Miller as
well as some terrific new talent like Nikki Amuka
Bird and Billie Piper.”

Canterbury Tales                                                                                                      3
                                                                            The Miller’s Tale

                                  Peter Bowker – writer

Time travel is involved in more ways than one in          power to make people like him – without seeming
Peter Bowker’s inspiration for The Miller’s Tale. Not     to try too hard. Jimmy captures that perfectly.”
only does this award-winning writer put a 21st-
century spin on 14th-century Chaucer’s sauciest           Bowker admits that little research was needed for
story, his own first memories of the Tales starred a      the backdrop. “I’m afraid I’m already familiar with
Time Lord.                                                karaoke pubs,” he confesses. “Not only have I given
                                                          voice, I’ve also watched with wonder at other
“It was a film version, directed by Pier Paolo            people. In my view, Pop Idol was karaoke without
Pasolini, years ago, that included this story,” he        the irony! Most people who get up in a pub and
reveals. “The reason it left an impression was that       give it their all will have some sense of self-
Tom Baker was in one of them and I was struck by          deprecation.”
the fact that Doctor Who was involved.

“But I think the ‘bum out of the window’ scene in
The Miller’s Tale is one of those images, like Jacob
Marley’s ghost, that somehow permeates the
culture, even though you may never have read the
original books.

“So I grabbed this opportunity with both hands,” he
adds with gusto. “This is the bawdiest of Chaucer’s
Tales – I hope that’s why I was lined up to write it!”

Bowker – who won the Royal Television Society
Best Writer award for Flesh And Blood – is full of
praise for the cast of this modern-day tale of greed,
lust, jealousy and opportunism, which he has
centred on a sexy, young, wannabe pop star. Her
karaoke skills wow the locals in her middle-aged
husband’s pub, but she has dreams of bigger things.

“It was always going to be a bit of a dilemma, do
you cast a singer who can act, or an actor who can
sing?” he explains. “I think people will be very
surprised by the quality of Billie Piper’s acting. Not
only is she very good, she can stop a pub in the
way that I describe it – as well as being like the girl
next door. Her look would be dead right, even if
she wasn’t Billie Piper.

“Dennis Waterman gives a wonderful performance
too; there is a real kind of pain and sorrow as John,
the cuckolded husband.Then, the real strength of
having Jimmy Nesbitt playing con-man Nick is that
he has to be likeable and have the

Canterbury Tales                                                                                             4
                                                                             The Miller’s Tale

                                James Nesbitt plays Nick

In the opening episode of Cold Feet it was                doing the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales for ‘A’
embellished with a rather uncomfortable-looking           level. “It may be the cradle of the English language
rose; in The Miller’s Tale it is thrust through an open   but when you’re 17or 18 it’s quite a slog.
window and branded with a red hot poker – so
just what is it about Jimmy Nesbitt’s naked rear?         “So I made a decision not to refer to the original; I
                                                          was led by the writer Pete Bowker – not by
“It’s a contractual obligation,” jokes Nesbitt. “I say    Chaucer.What Peter Bowker’s writing has managed
to my agent, ‘Do I get to show my arse?’ and if she       to expose so brilliantly is the shallowness of this
says ‘No’, I say, ‘OK, forget it, don’t send me the       world of instant fame and ‘reality’ television, the
script!’ But in The Miller’s Tale it is absolutely        desperation people have to escape from something,
essential – such a seminal moment in English              and Nick plays that card rather beautifully.
literature and now, hopefully, in television viewing.”
                                                          “I think Peter’s adaptation mirrors Chaucer’s ability
But Nesbitt insists that it is all done in the best       to see the inadequacies, the selfishness and the
possible taste. “It was fine. No special make-up          desperation of people to escape from their
needed because it’s not a crude, obvious shot. Our        humdrum existence.”
director, John McKay, was very good about all those
scenes, including Nick’s sex scenes with Alison           As Nick, the on-the-make newcomer to a rural
(Billie Piper).                                           backwater, Nesbitt has to make him a plausibly
                                                          likeable rogue. “I think Nick is a marriage of many
“He wanted them to be quite erotic and quite              different things. However much destruction he
charged as opposed to just crude and rude.”               brings to the people in that small village, he does at
                                                          least have the ability to bring colour into Alison’s
County Antrim-born Nesbitt was familiar with              life and give her a taste of something rather
Chaucer’s original, but groans at the memory of           amazing and optimistic,” he argues.

Canterbury Tales                                                                                                 5
                                                                                The Miller’s Tale

“He drives into this picturesque little village in a         With his reputation growing with every new role,
stolen car that runs out of petrol and is                    Nesbitt has already had interest from across the
immediately confronted by John, who is arrogant              pond. “Bloody Sunday certainly made a big impact in
and aggressive and small-minded.That’s exactly the           the States,” he agrees. “But I’ve no interest in
sort of thing that riles Nick,” Nesbitt adds.                uprooting the family to move there. I couldn’t sit
                                                             beside a pool for six months, waiting to get a part
“I think he just can’t resist being a devil – it’s just in   in a film, with an accent I can’t do and a subject I’m
him.Yet his natural instinct is to be funny and bright       not interested in – and I don’t want to play a
and he makes a difference. Playing him was fantastic         baddie for the sake of it.
because he’s a total, great bastard who just moves
from one thing to the next.”                                 “Having said that,” he adds hastily, “if someone
                                                             called me and said, ‘Come over and do a film in
But Nesbitt had to believe that there was an                 America’, I’d love to – but there’s so much to be
explanation somewhere deep inside. “Maybe he                 done here and I’m very happy here.”
came from a damaged home; a home where he
wasn’t loved,” he muses. “That helps to define               Nesbitt makes sure that the workload is balanced by
the character.                                               precious time spent with his wife, Sonia, and two
                                                             daughters, Mary, who is one, and four-year-old Peggy.
“He is a loveable – but very dangerous person; a
real loner, a shark who lives on his wits and even           “It wouldn’t surprise me if Peggy turns out to be
though he may really have enjoyed being with                 an actor,” he reveals. “She’s certainly got something
Alison, he’ll always say goodbye.”                           and I wouldn’t stop her. I hear other actors saying
                                                             they would hate their children to go into the
Nesbitt has now finally said goodbye to the long-            profession, but if she went into acting and was
running character of Adam in Cold Feet, a role               successful, it’s really not a bad world to be
which endeared him to the nation. Since then he              involved in.”
has proved he can do far more on screen than be
funny and charming.

He played four different personae in Murphy’s Law
and made a huge impact as civil rights campaigner
Ivan Cooper in Bloody Sunday. He has just
completed Wall Of Silence about the so-called
“Estate of Fear” in South London, where Stuart
Robe’s son, Jamie, was beaten to death by a gang
of thugs.

“It has meant working back-to-back and Wall Of
Silence was a grim, hard shoot, but very
worthwhile,” he says. “When you play real people,
you are handling something precious and fragile and
you have to not only serve the story but serve the
people involved.”

Now, Nesbitt is working with Trainspotting director
Danny Boyle, on a new film, Millions. “It is totally
different again,” he says happily, “a kind of comedy,
moral fairytale. But, that’s what I like – it’s as
though every project is a new start.”

Canterbury Tales                                                                                                     6
                                                                         The Miller’s Tale

                               Billie Piper plays Alison

Wannabe singers in some of London’s mushrooming       character if I was singing with a voice that I’d sung
karaoke pubs did a double-take when they spotted      with for ever.
former pop sensation Billie Piper in their midst.
                                                      “That’s why I got in touch with Carrie. She is an
But the chart-topper was not bent on a singing        amazing woman, so special, and working with her
session; she was researching for her role as Alison   was a wonderful experience; she can sing with so
in The Miller’s Tale, the talented young wife of a    many different voices. She helped me change my
pub landlord whose twin obsessions are karaoke –      technique, showing me different ways of placing my
and her.                                              voice in my throat, or my stomach.

“I used to sing karaoke all the time, including La    “I wanted Alison to have a voice that belonged to
Bamba with my Dad, which was always hysterical,”      her and nobody else.”
she laughs. “But I’d not done it for ages, so I
dragged my friends round all these pubs to get a      Making her acting debut is a big deal for Piper.
feel of what it’s like.”                              “What people don’t really know is that I started out
                                                      acting,” she points out.“It’s a really big deal to me.
Fans of Piper – who had hits including Because We
Want To and Day And Night – may be in for a shock     “I left home in Swindon to come to Sylvia Young’s
when they see her as Alison, giving her all at the    theatre school when I was 12 because I’d applied
karaoke machine.Thanks to special training from       for a scholarship – I needed to act 24/7, all week,
Fame Academy’s Carrie Grant, her voice has changed.   just throw myself into it. At home, just one class a
                                                      week wasn’t really doing it for me.
“I didn’t want to go on screen and do something
that everybody already knew about,” explains the      “Then the pop career came along and although, at
20-year-old. “It would have been hard to get into     the time, I realised it would take away from the

Canterbury Tales                                                                                              7
                                                                             The Miller’s Tale

acting, I felt it could also open a lot of doors for     “You have to come back down, otherwise you don’t
me, which I think it has.”                               sleep, you grind your teeth and just burn yourself out!”

But it is open windows, rather than doors, that          Piper douses speculation that she is about to
most people know from Chaucer’s original Miller’s        return to her pop career, insisting that the whirl of
Tale, and writer Peter Bowker re-invents the             early morning plane journeys and endless
famous scene where Alison tricks a young suitor          interviews is one she is glad to have turned her
into kissing her bare behind.                            back on.

“I was quite daunted by that scene,” Piper admits.       “It was just too fast-paced,” she says. “That’s one of
“But John McKay, the director, drew a storyboard         the reasons I decided to have a break; if I’d carried
of how the whole scene would be shot and how             on, I would have missed out on so much real life
it would look; he really wanted to make me feel          and I’m so happy with acting. It gives me the time
at ease.                                                 and freedom I need in life.When I finish a day’s
                                                         work I can still get some time at home to make
“So you don’t see my arse full on,” she laughs. “It’s    some dinner, watch a bit of TV, have a cup of tea
poor Kenny Doughty who plays Danny, who got the          in bed.
whole shebang – but that won’t be seen!”
                                                         “I love cooking – I hated it before I met my
Piper also has to perform steamy sex scenes with         husband, he taught me all I know about the kitchen.
Bloody Sunday star Jimmy Nesbitt. “As a viewer,          I now love making pasta sauces, stews and baking –
you always want to ask, ‘Was it weird, did they          although I’m still working on that!
get turned on, did the crew get turned on, what
does your boyfriend feel about it?’” she admits          “I love hanging with our dogs, just being part of
with a grin.                                             proper things and it’s these things that help me to
                                                         act because, if you can’t observe real-life situations,
“But when you’re doing it, you’ve got these pieces       then how can you go out there and try and
of tape round your breasts and the ugliest tanned        become somebody else?”
thong on and all the lighting and sound. It’s just not
sexy – which makes it easy to play sexy, and just go
for it in the mind set of the character.

“I can imagine that in those situations, if you don’t
suspend reality, it can really mess with your head,
because it’s not real,” Piper explains.

Which is why Piper is relieved that her husband is
au fait with the entertainment business. “My
husband understands that it’s my job,” she says,
simply. “That’s the good thing about being married
to somebody who understands the technicalities.

“Having been married for two years, I’m more
domesticated now and I love it,” Piper insists. “I
know it sounds a bit of a cliché, but when you
come home and just do some jobs around the
house it does just bring you back to Earth because,
after filming, you’re so hyper.

Canterbury Tales                                                                                                 8
                                                                          The Miller’s Tale

                                     Dennis Waterman
                                        plays John

It’s a tough life being an actor – ask Dennis          guru, Nick insists that Alison’s singing could be
Waterman.The poor man suffered for his art while       the key to fame and fortune – meanwhile, the
taking on the role of John, the cuckolded landlord     canny conman, is busy seducing the naively
in The Miller’s Tale.                                  ambitious chanteuse!

“Filming was round the corner from me, which was       “I knew the Canterbury Tales by reputation but, like
very handy. I don’t have it written into my contract   most people in Britain, I hadn’t read them,”
– but I’d like to!” he laughs. “That’s very unusual,   Waterman admits. “But, strangely enough, Nicholas
more often it’s hours away.                            LePrevost, who I was working with on My Fair Lady,
                                                       is a big fan.
“But the upsetting thing was we had to film in a
pub,” he adds, ruefully. “Not only that, but the       “One evening, we had a long conversation about
Manchester United European Cup Final happened          them and he nearly talked me into going out and
to be on which annoyed Jimmy Nesbitt no end –          buying the book there and then.When this came
‘cos they lost! So it all added up to a good shoot.”   up, I did know that The Miller’s Tale was the most
                                                       bawdy! But even if this had been under another
That sweet revenge may have made up for the            name I would still have done it because I just loved
humiliations karaoke king John suffers at the hands    the script.”
of Nesbitt’s naughty Nick.With a beautiful young
bride, Alison – played by Billie Piper – the hapless   Waterman had no problem taking on the role of a
landlord is consumed with jealousy and fearful of      middle-aged dupe. “It’s kind of fun now and then to
rivals for his wife’s charms.                          play an absolute idiot,” he grins. “To show how
                                                       stupid he is, his whole life has been dedicated to
But when silver-tongued Nick arrives on the scene,     karaoke because, as a kid, he’d once heard his
John’s jealousy is tamed by greed. Posing as a pop     father sing the perfect Shirley Bassey!

Canterbury Tales                                                                                           9
                                                                            The Miller’s Tale

“But then, maybe he’s not a total idiot – the man’s a    you out of the building!” he explains, with a
fool, but he is to be pitied rather than laughed at.     wry grin.
Of course, they all do laugh at him though – it’s
unfair the way he’s treated.”                            “So, for the last week of filming, I arranged to have
                                                         a week off from My Fair Lady, in case we got behind
One regret he did have was that John is never given      in shooting. Until then, I hadn’t had a great problem
the chance to perform. “I’m a wonderful karaokist,”      while I was doing both shows, but when I had the
insists Waterman, who is still proud of having had a     week off I was absolutely knackered!”
Top Ten hit with I Could Be So Good For You.
                                                         This summer,Waterman is taking some time out
“I’m the only one who doesn’t bleedin’ sing in it – I    though – and pursuing his greatest passion. “I’m
should have had a go.”                                   playing golf every day,” he says, contentedly. “The
                                                         trouble is, despite playing it an awful lot, I have
Waterman is sanguine about taking on older roles         proved one thing – it doesn’t necessarily make you
after achieving fame as a child actor in the original    any better!”
television series of Just William and going on to star
in the huge hits The Sweeney, Minder and Circles Of      Waterman’s acting talents run in the family;
Deceit.                                                  daughter Hannah plays Laura in EastEnders and Julia
                                                         is a drama student. “She’s doing a post-graduate
“I just sailed through the early part of my career, it   course, a Master of Arts in Classical Theatre, which
was very easy,” says the 55-year-old, candidly. “But     she’ll finish at the end of this year, but she’ll
there is a big transition from being the young           become an actress,” he says proudly.
Minder on the television – well, comparatively
young – a Jack the Lad, to being able to progress to     “Hannah showed no great interest until she was
the fathers and the older characters.                    about 15.There was a very good drama teacher at
                                                         her school, then, she suddenly got interested.
“You don’t ever think that’s going to come and then
suddenly it’s ‘Bloody hell – I’m 50, I can’t keep        “But they were both intelligent enough not to think
chasing round bashing people up and pulling birds!’      that just because their dad has been successful that
But you just have to trust that people realise you       they would just slip into success themselves – it is
have grown into that age and then cast you as a          much harder for women!”
slightly different character.

Waterman has also had a hugely successful stage
career, receiving plaudits for his role as work-shy
Alfred Doolittle in the National Theatre production
of My Fair Lady. But it’s not a description that could
ever apply to this in-demand actor.

“I’m not a workaholic, but I only turn stuff down if
I don’t want to do it, not because I feel I need time
off. If a job looks like it’s going to be good and
exciting, I want to do it.”

He was recently seen playing ex-detective Gerry
Standing in BBC One’s New Tricks during the day
and on stage at night. “You’re allowed holidays in
the theatre now, which is nothing to do with kindly
producers, it’s an EU law, otherwise they’d never let

Canterbury Tales                                                                                            10
                                                                                                                         The Debt

The Debt

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     13
Production notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       14
Cast and production credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              16
Interviews with the cast
   Warren Clarke plays Geoff Dresner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     17
   Hugo Speer plays Detective Sergeant Ed Foster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                           19
   Lee Williams plays James Hilden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 21
   Martin Freeman plays Terry Ross . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                 23
Synopses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   25

The Debt

                            Warren Clarke, Hugo Speer
                             and Lee Williams star in
                                   The Debt

Warren Clarke, Hugo Speer and Lee Williams lead           manipulating boss; and Barbara Marten (Bob And
the cast of The Debt. Richard McBrien’s wry and           Rose) as Geoff’s ex-wife, Gwen, to whom he turns
witty look at the lives of three men and just how         in his hour of need.
far they will go to get themselves out of debt is
told from three very different viewpoints: the            The Debt is written by Richard McBrien, directed
crook, the police officer and the lawyer.                 by Jon Jones and produced by Pier Wilkie.
                                                          The executive producers are Sally Haynes and
Warren Clarke is Geoff Dresner, a safe-breaker by         Laura Mackie.
profession who has gone straight and is working as
a baker. He comes out of retirement for one last
job which is going to save his family. He’s the
expert so it should be a doddle. Detective Sergeant
Ed Foster (Hugo Speer) is the investigating officer
desperate to get a successful arrest. He comes
head to head with Geoff’s keen young solicitor,
James Hilden (Lee Williams).

Geoff’s first mistake is to enlist the help of his son-
in-law,Terry (Martin Freeman), whose debt to local
gangster Tony Stokes (Malcolm Storry) is the
catalyst for a dramatic turn of events with a
humorous twist.

The Debt also stars Nina Sosanya (Teachers) as
newly promoted Detective Inspector Kate Jaspers;
Orla Brady (Servants) as Angela Thorpe, Hilden’s

The Debt                                                                                                     13
                                                                                     Production notes

                                             Production notes

“The Debt is a story about a criminal, a detective                 weak and he can’t resist temptation which puts his
and a lawyer and how their lives collide with each                 family under threat.
other,” explains writer Richard McBrien. “I’ve
written the piece from three different points of                   Producer Pier Wilkie says: “Richard has taken the
view and we follow each of their lives as events                   familiar element of a crime drama and really given
impact on them.The idea is that all three men owe                  it a different spin. The Debt is character led; it’s not
debts to their children in some way which affects                  a whodunit in the conventional sense.The drama
the way they do their job.”                                        comes from when and how the story is revealed.”

The three men concerned are Geoff (Warren                          When Geoff’s son-in-law,Terry (Martin Freeman),
Clarke), a retired criminal who will do anything to                gets himself into financial difficulty, owing a large
protect his daughter, Stacey, and grandson, Andy.                  amount of money to local businessman and loan
Having been inside and missed out on a large part                  shark Tony Stokes (Malcolm Storry), Geoff feels he
of Stacey’s childhood, Geoff has now gone straight                 has no choice but to get involved and do one last
and is working as a baker. He will do anything to                  job in order to protect his daughter.
make things up to her.
                                                                   “Terry is really the catalyst for everything that
Then there’s Ed (Hugo Speer), the detective. He’s a                happens,” explains Wilkie. “Martin Freeman does
widower, struggling with his finances. He’s taken his              such a terrific job as Terry and we were delighted
son out of the previous school where he was being                  that he agreed to do the part.Terry is the kind of
bullied and placed him in a private school, but now                guy that you can recognise: he’s terrifically annoying
he has fallen behind with the fees. Only a                         and you know that he’s always going to get himself
promotion can help him. And finally there’s James                  into trouble. But, on the other hand, there’s
(Lee Williams), who has it all. He’s recently married              something very endearing about him and you can
and has a new baby and has secured a job at a                      understand why Stacey hasn’t been able to remove
successful law firm. But then he meets Angela, his                 him from her life.”
former lover, who is one of the partners of the
company. Everything is happening too fast; he’s                    “He’s a loveable rogue,” agrees McBrien. “He’s not
                                                                   really a criminal and I wanted to show that he
                                                                   wasn’t really evil, but he likes to take a chance and
                                                                   live life on the edge.Terry’s the person who makes
                                                                   the whole thing happen, he starts the ball rolling by
                                                                   borrowing too much money from Stokes, who then
                                                                   asks his father-in-law, Geoff, to break into a safe
                                                                   for him.”

                                                                   So, Geoff comes out of retirement to do one last
                                                                   job which, with Terry coming along to help, doesn’t
                                                                   quite go to plan. Ed is the detective investigating
                                                                   the case and James is the keen young lawyer
                                                                   representing Geoff.

                                                                   Filming the safe-cracking scenes involved some
                                                                   research to ensure that it looked accurate. “We
                                                                   consulted a locksmith,” explains McBrien. “He
                                                                   showed us how to drill a hole in the safe door and
             Nina Sosanya plays Detective Inspector Kate Jaspers   then use an endoscope to look inside so that you

The Debt                                                                                                                  14
                                                        Production notes

can see the cogs.Warren Clarke spent a morning
learning how to crack the safe so that he could
look like a professional.”

What makes The Debt so unusual is the order in
which the story is told. “I wanted to muddle the
story up so most of it is told through flashbacks,”
explains McBrien. “At the start of the first episode,
we see Geoff being arrested and then you move on
to see what happened in the three weeks prior to
that, so that episode one ends exactly where the
story began. Likewise, episode two starts in the
courtroom with the jury about to give its verdict
on Geoff’s fate.Then you slip back three months
until we catch up.

“I wanted the audience to feel that they don’t always
know the whole story so that they make a judgement
based on what they know at that moment.”

“I think telling the story from three different
perspectives is also unusual,” adds Wilkie. “Through
this we can see the implications that this case has
on each of them and we can identify with their
lives. I certainly sympathise with Geoff and I can
understand what leads Ed to do what he does. But
I find James a little frustrating. He is essentially
decent but rather weak.”

“I can sympathise with all three of them as I
think, deep down, they all want to do the right
thing,” says McBrien. “I wanted to show that in
their own world, criminals, detectives and lawyers
are all good people, not real villains.The three
men are trying to lead a good life but become
compromised by events.”

So, Geoff is backed into a corner and forced to do
one last job when he had promised to go straight.
But with a young, inexperienced lawyer on his side
and a desperate detective, eager to build the case
against him, what fate will befall Geoff when he
enters the courtroom?

The Debt                                                               15
                                                            Cast and
                                                   production credits

                          Cast credits

                    Geoff Dresner     Warren Clarke
                     DS Ed Foster     Hugo Speer
                     James Hilden     Lee Williams
                   Angela Jahnsen     Orla Brady
                   DI Kate Jaspers    Nina Sosanya
                       Stacey Ross    Amanda Abbington
                        Terry Ross    Martin Freeman
                   Gwen Dresner       Barbara Marten
                     Gillian Hilden   Harri Earthy
                      Tony Stokes     Malcolm Storry
                    Sophie Stokes     Jodi Albert

                   Production credits

                            Writer    Richard McBrien
                           Director   Jon Jones
                          Producer    Pier Wilkie
               Executive Producers    Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie
                   Script Executive   Sarah Brown
                Associate Producer    Elizabeth Binns
           Director of Photography    John Pardue
               Production Designer    Lynne Whiteread
                     Original Music   Martin Phipps
                 Make-up Designer     Karen Hartley-Thomas
                 Costume Designer     Mary Jane Reyner

The Debt                                                              16

                                      Warren Clarke is
                                       Geoff Dresner
                                                       to haunt him in a very devious way and he’s forced
                                                       to go out and do one more job in order to save his
                                                       daughter and grandson.

                                                       “Everything he does is for his daughter, Stacey, and
                                                       his grandson, Andy, who he treats very much like
                                                       his own son.The only person he doesn’t have time
                                                       for is his son-in-law,Terry, played brilliantly by
                                                       Martin Freeman.”

                                                       When Terry gets himself into financial debt to local
                                                       businessman Tony Stokes (Malcolm Storry), he
                                                       turns to Geoff to get him out of trouble.
                                                       Reluctantly, Geoff decides to come out of
                                                       retirement to do one last job, but things don’t go
                                                       quite to plan.

                                                       Geoff’s first mistake is letting Terry help him out
                                                       with the job, a decision which goes against his
                                                       better judgement. “There’s this line where Geoff
 Did you know?                                         says: ‘Mistake number one, letting Terry get
                                                       involved’. Geoff’s forced into it when he knows he’d
 • Warren has worked as a consulting producer          be better off looking after himself.”
 on Dalziel & Pascoe since 2000. He also directed
 For Love Nor Money, the final story of the            Terry and Geoff go off together to break into the
 last series.                                          safe at the warehouse of local businessman Jez Kirk
 • Warren’s first job was as a copy boy on the         (Douglas Rao). Everything’s going fine until the
 Manchester Evening News.                              security guard turns up to investigate and discovers
                                                       that a fire has broken out. But was it an accident or
 Born: Oldham, Lancashire.                             was it arson?
 Appeared in: Down To Earth.
 Upcoming:Warren plays a fictional Deputy              “I don’t think Geoff’s really that bad a criminal,”
 Prime Minister in The Deputy for BBC One              says Warren. “He’s breaking the law for a villain
 which has just finished filming, and will be seen     against a villain and when someone gets hurt in the
 in a new series of Dalziel & Pascoe this autumn.      middle of everything it’s really not Geoff’s fault.”

                                                       Geoff is later arrested by DS Ed Foster (Hugo
Warren Clarke leaves behind Detective                  Speer) and DI Kate Jaspers (Nina Sosanya), who are
Superintendent Andy Dalziel to turn to a life of       convinced that Geoff is guilty and are desperate for
crime, taking on the role of retired safe-breaker      a conviction.
Geoff Dresner in The Debt.
                                                       “When Geoff gets arrested, he feels like it’s the end
“Geoff’s gone straight after many years and is doing   of his world. He knows that if he’s found guilty then
well as a baker; you could say he earns a crust!”      he’s going to prison for a very long time. He even
laughs Warren. “But suddenly his past comes back       faces the possibility that he could die in prison.”

The Debt                                                                                                  17

Playing Geoff was clearly a role that Warren has
enjoyed. “Geoff’s very different to the characters
that I’ve played recently. I spend such a large part of
the year working on Dalziel & Pascoe that it’s nice
to do other interesting pieces in between.”

And Warren has just finished filming the next
series of Dalziel & Pascoe in Birmingham. “This will
be the eighth series and it’s still as popular as ever.
We’re doing four separate stories and we treat
them very much like separate films. I’m co-
producer on this series and I also directed one of
the films which went out last year. It can be tricky
combining acting with producing and directing, but
it’s a brilliant buzz.”

Film and television have always fascinated Warren
and it’s been a burning ambition for him to succeed
in the industry. “As a child I used to get taken to
see a movie with my mum and dad on a Saturday.
Sometimes we’d go to the morning matinee and
see films like Flash Gordon and then Saturday
evenings we’d go and see a double feature. I
remember it being so amazing looking up at the big
screen and I was totally seduced by it.When I
started acting I started in the theatre but my goal
was always to get into film, nothing to with the
fame but purely because I really enjoyed what the
camera can do. I never dreamt I would actually
achieve it but now I’m living my childhood fantasy.”

When Warren’s not working, he can often be
found on the golf course. “I love playing golf and
my handicap is around 16. I haven’t had much time
to play over the past few months so I’d like to
play more, but I also like working, so you can’t
have everything!”

And Warren’s other love is spending time with his
family and, in particular, his four-year-old daughter.
“She’s just started nursery school which she loves. I
really miss her when I’m away filming so I’m trying
to take on work that’s closer to home so I can
spend more time with her.”

The Debt                                                           18

                                       Hugo Speer is
                                     Detective Sergeant
                                       Edward Foster
                                                        Hugo plays Det Sgt Ed Foster, an amiable but slightly
                                                        dishevelled officer working in CID, desperate for
                                                        promotion.“He’s having quite a tough time,” explains
                                                        Hugo.“His wife died three years earlier and he’s
                                                        bringing up his young son on his own. His son was
                                                        bullied at the local comprehensive school and Ed’s
                                                        forced to send him to private school, so he’s
                                                        constantly financially pushed. He works as a taxi
                                                        driver at night to make ends meet and therefore
                                                        can’t perform at his best in the day. So, he keeps
                                                        getting overlooked for promotion.”

                                                        But Ed’s partner, DI Kate Jaspers (Nina Sosanya), is
                                                        leaping up the career ladder, despite being 10 years
                                                        his junior.

                                                        “I don’t think Ed’s resentful of Kate as they get on
                                                        very well. He knows that Kate has deserved her
                                                        promotion but he also knows that life can
                                                        sometimes be a struggle and, in order to succeed,
                                                        he must keep any sort of bitterness or resentment
                                                        to one side.”
 Did you know?
                                                        Ed gets the opportunity to prove himself and earn
 • Hugo likes to play football and, last year, played   his promotion when he and Kate are called to a
 striker for Rod Stewart’s team at the Chelsea          warehouse fire and they investigate the break-in
 Soccer Six where they reached the final.               and attempted murder of the warehouse security
 • Hugo’s first job was as bouncer and roadie           guard. Convinced that local criminal Geoff Dresner
 for Tony the Tiger who used to advertise               (Warren Clarke) is the culprit, all they have to do is
 Kellogg’s Frosties.                                    prove it.

 Born: Harrogate,Yorkshire.                             “The pressure is on for Ed to crack this case to the
 Trained: Arts Educational School in London             extent where he might be prepared to bend the
 Appeared in: The Full Monty, Hearts & Bones,           rules in order to secure a conviction,” admits Hugo.
 Sons And Lovers.
 Upcoming: Boudica for ITV.                             It’s been a busy couple of years for Hugo Speer,
                                                        starring alongside Sarah Lancashire and Esther Hall
                                                        in Sons And Lovers and an episode of Paul Abbott’s
Hugo Speer has played a stripper in the Oscar-          Clocking Off with Nicola Stephenson. But when the
nominated film, The Full Monty, a butcher in the        offer of The Debt came up, he couldn’t say no.
BBC One drama, Hearts & Bones, and now he’s
turning his hand to detective work in the new           “I loved Richard McBrien’s scripts, particularly the
two-part drama, The Debt, for BBC One.                  way that much of the story is told in flashbacks, so

The Debt                                                                                                    19

the plot unravels as more information                    way of capturing their imagination.The story is
becomes apparent.”                                       based on Pinocchio, using Afghan folklore. It’s a fun
                                                         way of getting a very serious message across and I
As a child, Hugo was one of the few young boys           hope to go out there myself in October.
who didn’t have aspirations to play cops and
robbers for real, he had other ideas.                    “It can be hard fitting trips in around my work, but
                                                         whenever I’m not working I make myself available. I
“I always wanted to be a jockey because I was very       first became involved with War Child through Neil
small at the time. But then by the age of 11, I was      Morrissey. I did an episode of Men Behaving Badly
too tall. After that, I decided I wanted to be a         and became good friends with Neil, who was
professional footballer. I used to have a really good    already a patron.We were chatting one evening and
eye for a goal and if I’d made it then I would have      I decided there and then that I wanted to help.”
loved to play for Leeds United.”
                                                         Hugo is currently working on his first theatre job,
“I still support Leeds, we’ve got a big, young squad     with Sir Peter Hall’s company. “It’s a season of five
who all want to play, but we definitely need a           plays,” explains Hugo. “I’m in two of them –
degree of success very quickly.”                         Betrayal by Howard Pinter and Design For Living by
                                                         Noel Coward. I’ve done 11 years of television and
But it was acting that Hugo decided to make his          film so it’s nice to do something different. I’m
career, and he was fortunate to get his first acting     finding it very liberating doing a live gig in front of
job on the same day that he left drama school, a         so many people every night. I’d love to do more in
small part in The Bill. It wasn’t long before The Full   the future.”
Monty happened which made him an instant hit
with the British public. He went on to star              And there’s one other big role that Hugo would
alongside pop diva Lisa Stansfield in Swing              love to fulfil in the future: “I would love to play a
before landing the role of Rich in BBC One’s             Bond baddie! I loved all the Connery and Moore
Hearts & Bones.                                          films, it felt like part of an era.The character that I
                                                         would play would be really nasty and threaten to
“I made a film called Do Or Die in Australia and         blow up the whole of civilisation!”
then went to Paris to shoot a French film called
Barnie et ses petites contrarieties, for which I had
to learn to speak French. I’d forgotten most of the
French that I had learnt at school, I knew how to
ask a girl out and how to order a beer, which are
obviously the essentials! I was the only Englishman
on the set, so I learnt quickly!”

It’s not just work that has led Hugo Speer to travel.
He was a patron of the charity War Child for
several years, travelling to countries as diverse as
Rwanda, Kosovo, Uganda and Guatemala. Now
Hugo is involved with the charity No Strings with
Neil Morrissey. No Strings’ mission is to use
puppetry as an educational tool in the third world
and other developing countries.

“Our initial project is in Afghanistan to teach the
children there about landmine awareness. A lot of
the children are illiterate, so puppetry is a great

The Debt                                                                                                       20

                                       Lee Williams is
                                        James Hilden
                                                     James is a young lawyer, recently married and
                                                     with a baby on the way. He seems to have a
                                                     successful future ahead of him, so what could
                                                     possibly go wrong?

                                                     “James has just started work at a law firm and one
                                                     of the partners is Angela Jahnsen who was James’s
                                                     tutor at college and with whom he had an affair,”
                                                     explains Lee. “They rapidly resume their affair but
                                                     he doesn’t tell Angela about his wife. I think he
                                                     means to but he’s quite a weak character, there’s a
                                                     scene where he goes to put a photo of his wife on
                                                     his desk so that Angela will see it but, in the end, he
                                                     just can’t do it.

                                                     “I think it’s all pretty exciting for James. He’s bought
                                                     a house with his wife, who’s pregnant, but it’s all
                                                     happened a bit too fast for him and now his future
                                                     is looking pretty much mapped out for the next 20
                                                     years. Angela, however, represents everything that
                                                     James thought he wanted to be: independent,
                                                     successful and without ties.”

                                                     Nevertheless, James is keen to prove himself in his
                                                     career and when the opportunity comes along to
                                                     take on a pro bono case, which is something that
 Did you know?                                       all young lawyers have to take on, he jumps at the
                                                     chance to show Angela what he can do.
 • Lee was down to the last two auditioned to
 play the part of baddie Tom Riddle in Harry         “He represents Geoff Dresner, who is being
 Potter film The Chamber Of Secrets.The part         accused of arson and attempted murder.The police
 eventually went to Christian Coulson.               seem to be on a mission to pin this on Geoff, but
                                                     Angela is insistent that Geoff pleads not guilty,
 Born:Warrington, Cheshire.                          which James can’t understand. But she promises
 Appeared in: Me Without You, No Night Is Too        not to tell his wife about their affair if he goes
 Long, The Forsyte Saga.                             along with it. So, at the end of the day, James thinks
                                                     more about himself than his client.”

                                                     “I think, when Geoff first sees James, he thinks:
A singer in a boy band and an impulsive, 20-          ‘Oh, great!’ He realises that James isn’t going to be
something student doesn’t seem ideal preparation     the best lawyer in the world but his future depends
to become a lawyer. But for Lee Williams, roles in   on him.”
Channel 4’s Boyz Unlimited and BBC Two’s No Night
Is Too Long proved to be the perfect platform to     James ultimately wants to do the right thing by
take on the role of James Hilden in the new two-     everyone but he’s weak and he’s got himself in too
part drama, The Debt.                                deep and is unable to control events spiralling

The Debt                                                                                                  21

around him. In contrast, Lee is totally in control of
his career and is thoroughly enjoying the variety of
roles that are coming his way.

“In The Forsyte Saga I played the new lead, Jon, who
is the son of Jolyon (Rupert Graves) and Irene
(Gina McKee). My mum and my sister both loved
the first series so it’s nice to be doing something
that they will like.”

Lee also starred as Anna Friel’s boyfriend in Me
Without You, played Stuart Sutcliffe in a film about
John Lennon called In His Life and appeared in the
BAFTA-nominated Losing It, about teenage suicide.

Despite his success, Lee came very close to
diverting his talents elsewhere. “When I was at
school and I said that I wanted to be an actor, a lot
of the teachers tried to discourage me. At the time,
I really trusted the teachers so I went to art school
instead. I did my first year in Lancaster and then my
second year in Suffolk and then moved to London
to do a degree in art. I didn’t finish the degree in
the end but fortunately things seemed to have
worked out for the best.”

When he’s not acting, Lee loves writing and
recently wrote a play which was performed in
France. “It is called Round Robin and it’s about a
painter who develops Alzheimer’s and it explores
the effects that the illness can have on the family. I
also want to do more painting and I’d really like to
buy my own flat, probably in London. I’ve been
working such a lot over the past couple of years
but I want to make sure that I don’t stop doing the
things I enjoy.”

The Debt                                                          22

                                     Martin Freeman is
                                        Terry Ross
                                                        pigeon-holed. I’ve done straight roles before,
                                                        including Channel 4’s Men Only, but this is definitely
                                                        the biggest,” says Freeman. “I want to have a
                                                        balance. I would be as proud of being a Stan Laurel
                                                        as I would of being a Robert de Niro.”

                                                        In The Debt,Terry seems to have an uncanny
                                                        knack of getting into trouble and constantly relies
                                                        on his father-in-law, Geoff (Warren Clarke), to help
                                                        him out.

                                                        “Terry is married to Stacey and, together, they have
                                                        a young son called Andy. He’s one of those people
                                                        who can’t stop getting involved with things that he
                                                        shouldn’t. He’s a dreamer and has high hopes. I
                                                        suppose he’s a bit of a loveable rogue, I don’t think
                                                        he means to let his family down, he’s just a bit of
                                                        an idiot.”

                                                        Terry finds himself owing a large amount of money
                                                        to a local businessman called Tony Stokes (Malcolm
 Did you know?                                          Storry).When Terry starts to miss the repayments,
                                                        Tony loses his patience and sends his heavies round
 • Both Ralf Little and Martin Kemp are big fans        to try and make Terry pay up. It is then that Terry
 of The Office.                                         turns to Geoff. A retired safe-breaker, Geoff agrees
 • Martin loves clothes and never leaves the            to come out of retirement to do one last job and
 house in an un-ironed shirt.                           get the money to pay off Terry’s loan for the sake
                                                        of his daughter and grandson.
 Born: Aldershot, Hampshire.
 Studied: Central School of Speech and Drama            “I don’t think Terry appreciates what Geoff does
 in London.                                             for him.When he helps Geoff with the job,Terry
 Appeared in: The Office, Men Only, Hardware.           seems to think it’s all a bit of an adventure. Because
 Upcoming: Charles II for BBC One this autumn,          he isn’t really a criminal at heart, it seems quite
 Richard Curtis’s film Love Actually, Margery &         glamorous to him.Whereas Geoff knows all too
 Gladys for ITV.                                        well that it isn’t glamorous at all because he’s
                                                        been inside.”

Best known for playing Tim Canterbury in BBC            With Terry involved, inevitably the job doesn’t go
Two’s hit comedy series The Office, Martin Freeman      smoothly and Geoff finds himself in the frame not
loves doing comedy and making people laugh. But         only for breaking the safe but also for burning
in The Debt he turns his hand to straight acting,       down the warehouse and the attempted murder of
playing Terry Ross, a scaffolder who’s never far away   the security guard.
from trouble.
                                                        “I don’t think Terry ever realises that he could be in
“I’ve mainly done comedy over the last couple of        serious trouble. I don’t know what goes on in
years and I want to make sure that I don’t get          Terry’s mind, I think he’s emotionally immature.”

Canterbury Tales                                                                                            23

For Martin, working on The Debt was a bit like a         “I only ever choose to work on things that I think
home from home as his real-life girlfriend, Amanda       I’m going to be really proud of.With The Office, I
Abbington, plays his on-screen wife, Stacey.             think it’s brilliant and I know that, even if I wasn’t in
                                                         it, I would still love it and that, to me, is the most
“We met when we were filming Men Only but we             important thing. It’s like my record collection or
didn’t have many scenes together. Since then, we         book collection, I don’t really care if it matches up
haven’t worked together, although we have wanted         with what’s popular at the moment but it means
to do something for a while. She’s a brilliant actress   something to me and that’s what’s important.”
but it’s a bit strange playing husband and wife!

“And it’s been great having Warren Clarke as a
father-in-law! Virtually all my scenes have been with
him so it’s really important that we get on well. He
makes you feel like an equal part of whatever’s
going on.We had a really good rapport and were
always taking the mickey out of each other!”

Later this year, Martin turns his hand to period
drama, starring alongside Rufus Sewell in Charles II
for BBC One, in which he plays Shaftesbury. He also
takes his talents to the big screen where he can be
seen in Richard Curtis’s new film, Love Actually.

“Apparently, Richard Curtis is a big fan of The
Office!” says Martin, proudly. “Love Actually stars
Hugh Grant and Colin Firth and the plot involves a
number of different love stories, one of which
centres around my character, who is a movie stand-
in. Nina Sosanya, who plays DI Kate Jaspers in The
Debt, is also in the film, so it was nice to work with
her again.”

Away from the screen, Martin has also appeared on
stage, most recently alongside Gimme, Gimme,
Gimme’s Kathy Burke in Nick Grosso’s Kosher Harry
at The Royal Court Theatre.

“Theatre takes a lot of beating – it’s the attention
to detail as well as the immediacy of the audience. I
love the care and attention that you can take in a
few weeks’ rehearsals for a play. It takes some
beating in terms of fulfilment. I don’t have plans to
do any theatre for a little while but if someone
offered me the chance to play Hamlet then I would
jump at it!”

So, with appearances on the small screen, in the
cinema and also on stage and a talent for both
comedy and drama, what’s Martin Freeman’s secret?

The Debt                                                                                                        24

                                            The Debt
                                        Episode synopses

Episode One                                               Episode Two
Retired safe-cracker Geoff Dresner has been making        The security guard has died so Geoff is about to
an honest living as a baker since his release from        stand trial for arson and murder as well as theft.
prison three years ago. He’s determined never to go
back inside but when his son-in-law,Terry, gets into      Geoff’s lawyer, James, has been unable to break off
debt with local loan shark, Stokes, Geoff is              his affair with Angela – who, strangely, seems to be
persuaded to do one last job to pay off Terry’s debt.     taking a keen interest in Geoff’s case. DS Ed Foster,
                                                          meanwhile, is moonlighting as a taxi driver to pay
Stokes tells Geoff to break into a factory and steal      his son’s school fees. He’s constantly tired, making
the wages from the safe.Terry talks Geoff into            mistakes and close to breaking point.
letting him accompany him on the job and, together,
they evade the security guard and steal £50,000           Geoff by now is starting to suspect that Stokes’s
from the safe. Geoff and Terry are leaving the            motive in putting him up to the robbery isn’t as
factory, job completed, when Geoff notices that the       simple as it appeared.Why did Stokes get him to
factory is on fire and the security guard is trapped.     break into the safe for just £50,000? It’s small
                                                          change to him. Is he actually a pawn in some bigger
The police have Geoff down as a prime suspect,            game? Geoff tells Stokes there’s no way he is going
though Geoff denies involvement in the robbery            to jail for him but Stokes is unruffled – as long as
and the fire. DS Ed Foster, a single parent with a        no one tells tales to the police, they’ll all be safe.
flagging career, needs to solve the factory job if he’s   Does he have something up his sleeve?
to finally win the promotion that he feels he
deserves. But the case against Geoff looks shaky.         Will Geoff go down again and miss out on his
                                                          grandson growing up as he did previously with his
To add to Geoff’s problems, he isn’t yet off the          daughter? Will James persuade the jury that Geoff is
hook with Stokes. He gives him the cash from the          innocent? Have we seen the last of Terry’s meddling
safe, but Stokes thinks he’s keeping some back and        and just how far will Ed go to get that promotion?
tells him he’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

Geoff lies to Foster and tells him that he was
with his estranged wife, Gwen, on the night in
question and Gwen grudgingly agrees to back
up Geoff’s alibi.

Geoff is taken in for questioning and young lawyer
James Hilden is assigned to the case.To get the job
in his prestigious law firm, James has concealed his
wife and young child from Angela, a senior partner
at the firm and James’s former lover.

Geoff, meanwhile, is worried. He’s made too many
mistakes and the police are onto him. James seems
confident they can win the case but does he know
something Geoff doesn’t?

The Debt                                                                                                       25
                                                                                                                     Monarch Of The Glen

Monarch Of The Glen

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Cast and production credits . . . . . . . . .            . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Interviews with the cast
   Susan Hampshire plays Molly . . . . . .               .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   31
   Alastair Mackenzie plays Archie . . . .               .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   33
   Dawn Steele plays Lexie . . . . . . . . .             .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   35
   Hamish Clark plays Duncan . . . . . . .               .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   37
   Alexander Morton plays Golly . . . . .                .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   39
   Lloyd Owen plays Paul . . . . . . . . . . .           .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   41
   Paul Freeman plays Andrew . . . . . . .               .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   43
New faces in the Glen
   Richenda Carey plays Lady Dorothy                     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   44
   Hermione Gulliford plays Hermione                     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   44
   Rae Hendrie plays Jessica . . . . . . . . .           .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   45
   Martin Compston plays Ewan . . . . .                  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   ...   46

Monarch Of The Glen

                                   Monarch Of The Glen
                                   returns to BBC One

                                                          the status quo as a returning Archie was, when
                                                          faced with their father’s stubborn traditionalism.
                                                          Then Molly, Glenbogle’s guardian angel, looks set to
                                                          spread her wings and fly in the face of expectation
                                                          – into the arms of a new man. Even Golly, the very
                                                          essence of the estate, whose loyalty and advice
                                                          have been food and drink to Archie, is beset by his
                                                          own family turmoil when his estranged daughter,
                                                          Jessica, returns.

                                                          Barbara McKissack, BBC Scotland’s Head of Drama,
                                                          explains: “We join Glenbogle in a new era, with
                                                          Archie and Lexie firmly at the helm, looking
                                                          forward rather than back.Viewers have wanted that
                                                          for so long and it’s lovely to see them together as
                                                          the couple everyone hoped they would become.

                                                          “That leaves other characters to have a different
                                                          view of the world of Glenbogle and what they
At last, an air of prosperity settles on the turreted,    contribute to it.This has always been a place
Victorian edifice of Glenbogle, but within this loch-     where, behind the scenes, lots of change happens
side Lairdom it is family, not fortune, that is about     and where people find that they have been changed
to pose problems. Although life has never been            by experience – this year is no exception.
sweeter for Archie and Lexie, the family MacDonald        “The family has been changed by Hector’s death, by
has adjustments to make.                                  Paul’s arrival, by Molly’s new status in the house and
                                                          by Lexie and Archie’s new-found commitment to
“The key thing that has changed for Archie is that        each other. Now the established world order is
his problems have been solved,” explains series           about to be completely thrown in the air –
producer Stephen Garwood. “But Archie, being              anything could happen in terms of the future of
restless and adventurous, needs challenge.                Glenbogle and how the whole dynasty continues.”

“When the strain of putting Glenbogle into the            Adds Douglas Rae, executive producer at Ecosse
black is stripped away, he needs to find something        Films: “The community can shift and change as
else – and his quest obviously leads him into             people come and go.That gives us the opportunity
difficulties and dangers.”                                to bring in new characters, but in such a way that
                                                          people will see they’re not just bolted on.They
Archie’s feverish pursuit of fulfilment is just part of   actually come in for a reason and there’s a reason
Monarch’s rich mix of laughter, tears, warmth and         for them to stay.”
wit. His hell-bent bid to regain some challenge in
his life has an impact on everyone close to him.The       As followers of the show will already be aware, this
solid ground of Glenbogle is on the move.                 new series heralds Archie’s departure. Says Douglas:
                                                          “Clearly,Alastair has been an incredibly loyal and
First, there is the seismic shift of coming to terms      wonderful performer over five series. But one has to
with Paul. His newly-discovered half-brother shows        understand an actor’s desire to move on and take up
disturbing signs of being just as eager to overthrow      new challenges.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                          28

Stephen Garwood is keenly aware of the affection          Another outsider about to make his mark is
fans hold for Monarch.“One of the challenges for us       Glasgow tearaway Ewan, played by multi-award-
has been to find a reason why Archie would leave the      winning actor Martin Compston, the young star of
two things he loves the most, Lexie and Glenbogle –       Ken Loach’s film Sweet Sixteen. Says Barbara: “Martin
and we didn’t want to cheat the viewers.To split up       is an exceptional talent and he brings a whole new,
with her emotionally would be wrong.                      young generation to the cast.There’s also a lot of
                                                          urban chaos coming in with him.”
“We’ve come up with a device that we think works
– but I can’t give it away,” he adds tantalisingly. “We   Stephen agrees. “Ewan has some lessons to learn
also looked for ways of bringing new characters           and will make some mistakes and win some hearts.
into the show and the most obvious place to find          We’re dipping our toe in the water with this
them was under our nose.                                  character, but I have been really impressed with
                                                          what I’ve seen of Martin’s work – he joins a rank of
Stephen adds: “They already exist in the community        really strong actors and so it’s a great place for him
and we haven’t really explored that area except in        to learn his craft.”
guest stories from time to time. So, when the family
is forced to leave the house temporarily and go           For Douglas, Monarch’s success is simple. “It has
into the village, we meet a new set of satellite          entered the folklore of television because, in
characters there.                                         addition to the humour, there are genuine
                                                          emotional storylines affecting family members and
“The village setting provides a wealth of                 the community,” he says.
opportunities such as the rather hopeless, but
popular, policeman who has an unfaithful wife.There       Stephen agrees: “Monarch is the perfect way to
are so many ways of discovering new people.”              spend a Sunday evening which will allow you to
                                                          laugh, maybe to cry and be entertained for an hour
One of the biggest changes for the family will be in      in the company of old and new friends in some
coming to terms with the return of Paul, the secret       wonderful scenery.”
son of Hector. But it will be even harder for this
independent outsider to accept his place in the
bosom of Glenbogle.

“Beneath that ‘action man’ exterior is a little boy
who has never known what it’s like to have a family
and he wants to find a home,” says Stephen. “But
what he hasn’t quite worked out is what the
definition of home might be.

“He cuts a swathe across the whole tradition of
Glenbogle because, even though he wants to be
part of it, he doesn’t understand it. So that
inevitably puts him into conflict with Archie and,
later, with Lexie.”                             

Adds Barbara: “Paul is the grit in the oyster for
them all this year. How do you accept somebody as
part of your family that you didn’t know existed
before? It’s fantastic news for Archie that he has a
brother – now he has a chance to have that
brotherly love and friendship that he’s missed. But
will he take that chance?”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                           29
                                                                                Cast and
                                                                       production credits


                                 Susan Hampshire      Molly
                                Alastair Mackenzie    Archie
                                      Dawn Steele     Lexie
                                     Hamish Clark     Duncan
                                Alexander Morton      Golly
                                       Lloyd Owen     Paul
                                    Julian Fellowes   Lord Kilwillie
                                     Paul Freeman     Andrew
                                   Richenda Carey     Lady Dorothy
                               Hermione Gulliford     Hermione
                                      Rae Hendrie     Jessica
                                 Martin Compston      Ewan

                                   Production credits

                                          Producer    Stephen Garwood
                      Head of Drama, BBC Scotland     Barbara McKissack
                               Executive Producers    Douglas Rae, Robert Bernstein, Gaynor Holmes

                                          Writers     Niall Leonard (eps 1, 10)
                                                      Mark Holloway (eps 2, 9)
                                                      Andrew Taft (eps 3, 8)
                                                      Leslie Stewart (ep 4)
                                                      Jeremy Front (ep 5)
                                                      Michael Chaplin (ep 6)
                                                      John Martin Johnson (ep 7)

                                         Directors    Richard Signy (eps 1, 2, 3)
                                                      Robert Knights (eps 4, 5, 6)
                                                      Ian Knox (eps 7, 8)
                                                      Brian Kelly (eps 9, 10)
                                    Series Creator    Michael Chaplin

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                  30

                                     Susan Hampshire
                                        plays Molly

Far from being a dotty dowager, Molly – now the         Susan is all in favour of this on-screen exploration
Second Lady of Glenbogle – has style, panache and       of the romantic relationships of an older woman.
a penchant for getting men to fall in love with her.    “It really isn’t tackled very often and yet it must
But that can bring its own problems to a woman          happen all the time,” she points out. “It is a huge
who was last on the singles market 40 years ago.        shock when someone loses a long-time partner,
                                                        for whatever reason.
“She is hugely nervous about the whole process of
being ‘available’ again after Hector’s death,” says     “But your life doesn’t end when there is no man
Susan Hampshire sympathetically. “She doesn’t           in it and it doesn’t mean to say you’re not ready for
know how to cope with it and isn’t at all convinced     a new one, or ready for love – it can be such a
that she is doing the right thing.                      huge adventure.”

“I think she is going through all the doubts that any   Viewers have certainly picked up on the post-
woman of her age would have.To be single again          Hector Molly and Susan has seen an increase in
after decades of marriage must be terribly hard.        attention from young men. “It has been a real
What do you do, what do you say, how do you             surprise.They send me very nice letters and I
behave – do you ever have to take your clothes          truthfully don’t know why,” she says modestly.
off?” she laughs.
                                                        “But then maybe before Hector died, they just saw
“It is so different when you’ve been married for a      her as an appendage. Curiously, since he died,
long time; you’re used to each other and it almost      people are very much more interested in her as a
doesn’t matter what you look like because you’re        human being.They liked and sympathised with
so familiar. So seeing someone else is a really big     Molly before, but now they really want to know
deal for her at this stage in her life.”                what is going to happen to her.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                        31

One major happening is the return of Molly’s
prodigal daughter, Lizzie (played by Saskia
Wickham). “She is a bit of a tearaway and a free
spirit,” Susan explains. “So Molly hasn’t really seen
her very much, but she does have a good
relationship with her and, even more importantly –
Lizzie has her only grandchild.”

One thing is certain: love in many guises will play a
big part in Molly’s life. Not only is she the object of
ardent affection, but she decides that the lonely folk
of Glenbogle also need a helping hand – so she sets
up a dating agency.

The move has its repercussions when Andrew
(played by Paul Freeman) overhears and
misinterprets one of her client conversations.
“When Andrew came into the story in the last
series, everyone thought he was very tasty and
wondered what Molly was going to do about him,”
smiles Susan. “Now we are exploring how she
comes to terms with a real relationship and
whether she can cope with it.”

Coping is Susan’s stock in trade. Always in demand,
she managed to fit in a new adaptation of Agatha
Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide between series. “I play
another widow, this time with a questionable son,”
laughs Susan who, in real life, has been happily
married for over 20 years.

“I’m also still busy converting a derelict barn in the
Chilterns – the planning permission finally came
through last autumn. It’s very exciting to go off into
the depths of Shropshire to find special pieces of
wood and old slates and I was planning to make a
film about it.

“But it just hasn’t been possible. I’m enjoying it
very, very much – but you have to get your
priorities right and, at the moment, my priorities
are learning my lines and being here on time.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                32

                                      Alastair Mackenzie
                                         plays Archie

It will be a while until the impact hits Glenbogle,      On a personal level, one of those challenges is the
but viewers of Monarch Of The Glen will soon             new dynamic within Glenbogle as Paul – Archie’s
discover that the darkly handsome, newly married         newly discovered half-brother – takes up his place
Laird has itchy feet.                                    in the family.

For Alastair Mackenzie, the series has been a            “The advent of Paul does cause some initial
life-changing break that has made his face familiar      antagonism,” Alastair admits.“Then, slowly but surely,
round the world. Now – like Archie – he has              Archie comes to realise that Paul is not only useful, but
achieved success and is looking for a new                that he belongs to Glenbogle because of his father.”
mountain to climb.
                                                         Archie’s emotions are all too familiar for Alastair,
“When we join the series Archie and Lexie have           who has also seen an important and personal
been on their extended honeymoon, so Archie is           project materialise through the release of his debut
already a different person,” Alastair points out. “He    film, The Last Great Wilderness. Along with his film
has always been more concerned with trying to            director brother, David, Alastair formed his own
keep the estate from the debtors, pre-occupied           production company, Sigma Films, and wrote and
with making sure it doesn’t go bankrupt.                 starred in the film alongside David Hayman and
                                                         Victoria Smurfit.
“Now it is up and running – it is finally clear of all
debts, the mission has been accomplished. So, after      Meanwhile, work on Monarch continued and
travelling all over the world and being reminded of      Alastair had to try and balance the series, his film
the wandering, roving spirit that he truly is, Archie    and his family – daughter Martha and partner,
wants to find something new to challenge him.”           Trainspotting actress Susan Vidler.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                             33

“I’ve absolutely loved Monarch and I will miss
everyone dreadfully after all this time,” he says. “But
I decided that seven months a year is too long to
be away from home. I had to sit down and start
prioritising. I have a three-year-old child and you
need to spend more time with young children.

“There was a point when I hadn’t seen Martha for
weeks. I felt really miserable, but didn’t really know
what it was, just that I felt pretty grim.

“Then, when I did go home, I had such a fantastic
time with her that when I got back on set,
someone said to me, ‘I can tell you saw Martha at
the weekend – you just look so much happier’. I
just need that fix. So now I’m looking forward to
getting a bit more normality back into my life.”

Not that Alastair will be saying goodbye to the
Highlands even when he finally leaves the series. He
grew up just 20 miles from where Monarch is
filmed and he is now actively looking for a plot of
land to create his own Scottish retreat.

“A local woodsman built some wonderful log
cabins for the Activity Centre in the show,” he says
with an enthusiastic grin. “They are beautiful
creations – precision engineering with a chain saw.

“I just love the idea of living in an organic
structure in the woods. I also love interior design
and working out how you want everything to
work, but in our house in London we’ve had a
nightmare with builders and architects; it was a
very unhappy experience.

“The thing about a log cabin is you don’t have to
worry about that; they always look beautiful
because the interior is – logs.”

Not that this hugely popular actor will be escaping
the spotlight – he is planning an extended trip to
the States.

“Through Monarch I’ve proved I can do one thing,
but there is a certain amount of re-invention
required,” he explains. “I’m not going to move to
America lock, stock and barrel, but will go en
famille for maybe a couple of months. I’ve told
myself I’m never going to have another winter
in London.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                34

                                           Dawn Steele
                                           plays Lexie

Travel may broaden the mind, but an extended,           her driving test. “It has totally changed my life,” she
round-the-world honeymoon has left Lexie –              says happily. “I even went off to Australia and drove
Glenbogle’s new First Lady – even more                  all around there, that was amazing. It’s given me
determined to make her mark at home.                    such confidence.”

Now that she finally has her man and the estate’s       No wonder: Monarch is Australia’s number one
perilous finances have been dragged into the black,     imported show and seeing Dawn, driving round the
this resourceful and energetic Glaswegian has time      Outback, must have been quite a surprise for her
to look beyond the Gothic turrets of her domain         fans. “But,” adds this home-loving Scots lass, “It also
and give a helping hand where it’s needed.              means I can go back to my flat in Glasgow a lot
                                                        more, just jump in the car, go back and have two
“Lexie is always supportive of the community –          nights in my own bed.
always fighting for the underdog,” says Dawn Steele.
“I think it’s because she feels she has to be true to   “I used to have to rely on lifts, but now I can just
her working-class roots. She never forgets she          go when I want. If I just have one day off, I can
came from the kitchen.                                  drive up to the gym in Inverness, or potter around
                                                        this amazing scenery. It’s given me so much
“But now she rarely gets to see any pots and pans       more freedom. “
– she is much more involved with marketing plans
and accounts – the boring stuff.That’s why she          Looking back, Dawn wishes she had taken
needs an outlet in the village.”                        the plunge earlier. “I was just never interested,”
                                                        she explains. “When I was 17, I remember having
Dawn has been having a few new outlets of her           a few lessons and I hated it; I just found it
own, in that the 27-year-old finally took and passed    too stressful.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                          35

“Now I’ve got a new Mini Cooper, which is great           Not that Lexie is likely to turn into a perfectly
and so nice to drive. But I know I should have            polished glamour puss any day soon. “She’s relaxed
learned straight away when I first started on             a bit with her clothes,” laughs Dawn with relief.
Monarch – it’s taken me four series up here to get        “When she first got engaged to Archie she felt she
round to it.”                                             had to wear suits to make the point about
                                                          becoming the Laird’s wife.
It has taken rather longer for Lexie’s brother-in-law
to discover his Highland heritage. But, after a           “But now she can allow herself not to be quite so
lifetime not knowing about his real father, Paul is       smart and posh. She’s more mature, more confident
making his presence felt. “Lexie is mainly very           and happy, and that allows her to let some of the
supportive of Paul,” says Dawn. “She was the one          quirkiness back in – and that’s great.”
who wanted to bring him into the family and get
everyone to really accept him.                            Dawn’s high profile on the show has earned her a
                                                          rare accolade – readers of a Scottish newspaper
“They actually have a lot of things in common –           voted her the country’s number one “Most
Paul never knew his father and Lexie’s father left        Wanted” single female and featured in the male list
when she was really young. But there will be times        was her new, young, co-star Martin Compston, in at
when they clash, especially when he is setting up the     number four.
Activity Centre and wants to benefit youths from
other cities – she wants it to benefit the locals.”       “I don’t often feel very glamorous,” she grins.
                                                          “Working on The Key I was given wrinkles round
There are problems, too, with Lexie’s nearest and         my eyes and some grey in my hair to look 47 – but
dearest – Duncan and Golly. “She has always been          I found it much harder playing 17.”
really close to them and that helps her to know
what is important on the estate. But sometimes she
gets caught between them all.

“Lexie feels she has to support Archie – and
sometimes he makes decisions that may not be what
Golly and Duncan want. She has to be the girl in-
between who has to try and keep everyone happy.”

Dawn couldn’t be happier at the moment, despite a
frantic workload, which meant finishing work on
Monarch one evening and driving to Glasgow to
begin work on a major new BBC family saga early
next day.

“It is called The Key,” she reveals. “There I was, in a
period costume, with a big steam engine, 300
extras and the actor Kevin McKidd, saying ‘Hi, I’ve
got to kiss you today’.

“The hardest thing was that I wasn’t allowed any
make-up, even though I age from 17 to 47; I get
beaten up, so there are cuts and bruises; I wear
cardigans; and I’m really padded out to look fatter.

“But it’s so nice to play parts like that where
looking glamorous is not an issue – you can just
concentrate on the acting.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                        36

                                            Hamish Clark
                                            plays Duncan

There is an extra twinkle in Hamish Clark’s roguish       “Hermione unashamedly introduces him to the high
eyes when he reveals just what Duncan will be up          life and dangles car keys in front of him and
to in the new series of Monarch Of The Glen – the         Duncan, unashamedly, goes for it.”
lad becomes a hit with the ladies.
                                                          Romance and riches are rare enough in Duncan’s
“Duncan has never been short of girls over the            life; when they come as a complete package he just
four series,” Hamish insists manfully. “In fact, in the   can’t resist. “The scenes with Hermione are really
first series, there were lots of little hippie chicks     good fun to do; hilarious, good old heightened
who liked the cut of Duncan’s jib. If you look back       reality stuff,” Hamish explains. “It’s good to have a
he was averaging three a series, but they were            laugh and a bit of flirtation.”
always blowing up in his face – he was either like a
rabbit caught in the headlights, or being jilted.”        But other female relationships will also take their
                                                          toll on Duncan’s life when Golly’s estranged
But when Kilwillie’s niece, Hermione, descends on         daughter, Jess, returns to the estate after studying
Glenbogle with her mother, the daunting Lady              Land Management at university. “With Jess there is
Dorothy, things are about to change. “This time he        rivalry, but lots of respect and an attraction and
has a choice,” says a happy Hamish. “He is slightly       fondness – plus, Golly is like a father to both of us.
more his own man this time round – probably
because he knows that she is even more desperate          “That is pregnant with potential, whereas, with
than he is.                                               Hermione, it’s high comedy. I am just really pleased

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                           37

with how they have written the part up over the           “Because of Monarch everyone knew me, it was
past couple of years. Now he spends a lot less time       amazing. I’d never been to either country and when
mending fences and has much more inter-action             I arrived in New Zealand we flew in through the
with the other characters – girls, mainly.”               cloud and before I’d even got my bags off the
                                                          carousel, people were shouting, ‘Duncan, Duncan’.
This could be why Hamish feels he needs to keep
his strength up.The hugely popular actor has been         “One morning before breakfast I was swimming in
out pounding the Scottish turf at every                   the hotel rooftop pool – I felt like James Bond,
opportunity.                                              looking out over the yachts in the harbour.Then I
                                                          was asked if I could come down because the Prime
“I’ve been running a lot at night in the hills behind     Minister [Helen Clark] was at the hotel for
Newtonmore,” he reveals. “It’s really great at night,     breakfast and wanted to meet me.
after work, to just go and run it all off. It is so, so
beautiful that it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining     “She was a really nice woman and a fan of
or not.                                                   the show.”

“But the weather has been tremendous this year.           But the modest actor is down to earth about his
Yesterday I was out until midnight in the hills, up on    fame, even though he has been asked for his
the ridges, after watching the sun setting in the         autograph all over the world – including the top of
glens. It was spectacular.”                               Table Mountain. “I feel as though it’s not really me,
                                                          it’s Duncan,” he explains. “It is him that the public
Always health-conscious, the 36-year-old really gets      respond to and him they’re cheering.
into his stride when he heads north of the border
for Monarch. “I always did hill walking because my        “I’m just his caretaker.”
mum and dad live in the Highlands and when we
were kids all our holidays were spent fishing,
walking and climbing. But it’s weird – as I get older,
my lifestyle gets more healthy,” he laughs.

“I was invited to start the Laggan 10k race recently,
which I had done last year. But this time I decided
to not only start it, but to run in it as well. I did a
good time and then, when I got back, I handed out
the prizes, which was excellent.”

The London-based star has covered all the bases
when it comes to keeping his perfectly formed
body in trim.When he is at home he is a regular at
the gym, where he has a personal trainer.

“He’s even designed a work-out with weights that I
can do while I’m on Monarch because, obviously, we
don’t have ready access to a gym.”

But Hamish did take some time out from his
regime between series, to travel Down Under for a
promotional tour of a website for Australians and
New Zealanders anxious to trace their Scottish
roots and visit their ancestral homeland.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                           38

                                    Alexander Morton
                                       plays Golly

There are two women in the life of Golly,             “She now does what he does and I think he finds
Glenbogle’s fiercely loyal ghillie, and for both of   that very challenging at first; he just isn’t used to
them he holds complex and deep-seated feelings        having her around. She suddenly appears and takes
which look set to cause him heartache and distress.   over the house. It’s the first time that he has had to
                                                      deal with any parenting problems at all and he is a
This sternly silent man has long held a special       bit lost – it’s a shock to the system.
affection for Molly, the widow of his old boss.
As Molly finds new companionship with Andrew,         “So many things have changed in Golly’s life after
Golly suddenly realises that his relationship with    the death of Hector and his feelings for Molly are
her is about to change forever. And, to complicate    developing,” he continues. “I’m really hoping he
matters further, the return of his estranged          might get a bit of sympathy.”
daughter, Jess, turns his already rapidly changing
world upside down.                                    Golly may be the strong, silent type, but his
                                                      character has always attracted a lot of female
“She’s his daughter and he loves her,” says           attention, something that makes Sandy smile. “He
Alexander “Sandy” Morton. “Without knowing it,        did smarten himself up in the last series, because
he will actually have planted the seeds of his own    he wanted to impress a lady friend. So, when he’s
love for the land in her and now she has gone one     not working on the land, he does look quite good
step further and has studied it at university.        in his designer jeans,” he concedes.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                        39

“But one thing a lot of people commented on was
his leather jerkin – and actually I have had that
since I was at drama school and a pal of mine sold
it to me for £2 19s 6d. It’s one of my favourite
things and I’d never part with it.

“It’s just great to see it on screen. I’d treated it
almost as an heirloom now, just keeping it hung up
– but it is rather special. It used to have a beautiful,
bright red tartan lining, so when I went to Wembley
in 1967 and Scotland beat England 3-2, I was
wearing that jacket inside out,” laughs Sandy.

However, fortune wasn’t on Sandy’s side when his
feet were – quite literally – taken from under him.
“Between series I fell down the stairs and hurt my
leg; it was extremely painful but I was so pleased
that I could move it. I thought, it can’t be too bad if
it’s not broken,” he explains.“But actually the doctor
said that a break would have been easier to heal.”

The accident meant that a film part Sandy had been
cast in looked in jeopardy. “I had a day’s filming on
I Sleep When I’m Dead, directed by Mike Hodges
and starring Clive Owen. Although I knew it was a
sit-down scene, I had to let them know what had
happened and that I would be on crutches.

“I had to hop around for weeks, I was like Long
John Silver – all I needed was the parrot.”

But Sandy’s troubles weren’t quite over – like
Golly’s problems with women, they came in twos.
“Just after I started work again on Monarch I did
the other ankle. I thought, ‘I can’t believe this’. I’d
only just got the other one back to normal. But this
time it wasn’t nearly so bad,” he says with relief,
“and they are both fine now.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                 40

                                            Lloyd Owen
                                             plays Paul

Feel the fear and do it anyway – that’s the motto of    “But I have to admit it has become a bit of an obsession
acclaimed actor Lloyd Owen.The ruggedly                 and it gives me something to do on my days off.”
handsome addition to the MacDonald family tree
cheerily admits he has no head for heights – which      Lloyd rejoins the series when Paul – Hector’s
is why he has taken up climbing.                        secret son – decides to come back and give life at
                                                        Glenbogle a try. “I’ve built up my own little life
“Paul is an outdoor action man; he sets up a new        story for him,” he reveals. “I think his mother
project at Glenbogle – an outdoor activity centre       would have told him that his father died and then
where there is climbing, football, canoeing and         brought him up on her own. But she maybe had a
everything that might appeal to kids from the           few boyfriends who came and went – so there was
inner city.                                             never any reliable father figure.

“So, as I have to climb in this series, I’ve been       “Then he decided to join the Army and has
training on an indoor climbing wall just up the road    developed into this rather lonesome figure who
from the set. I have never liked heights,” he           really needs a family.”
confesses. “But I always think you should challenge
your fears.                                             Coming into a well-established series is nothing
                                                        new for Lloyd, who made quite an impact on
“It was quite frightening when you’re low down and      female viewers when he joined Hearts & Bones.
I was really daunted. As you get higher, it does take   “That was the same – a new character coming into
on a different perspective and, even though you         an established story and smashing the dynamic of
know you’re safely on the end of a rope, it is scary.   the group.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                           41

“Here, Paul changes that dynamic. He wants to               “I think it’s because there are so many choices to
introduce things that don’t always go down too              be made about how you spend your time. Up here
well with everyone else.There are frictions with            it can be quite challenging.You think, ‘Well, what am
Archie, which are very similar to the trouble Archie        I going to do on my day off, I should plan a trip’.
had with their father.
                                                            “Having said that, it has made me do things I would
“There is a tension there, yet they are more alike          never have thought of anywhere else. I’ve been
than they allow themselves to realise. Paul is quite        spending a lot of time walking, hiking, doing the
forthright and determined and comes into                    climbing wall.Where I’m staying there is a guy who
Glenbogle wanting to change things – just as Archie         used to play the bagpipes in the Strathclyde Police
did when he first came up from London.                      Band, so I have asked him to teach me.

“Paul’s idea is to bring kids in from the inner cities      “With all the training I’ve been doing I’ve got
to get a taste of something totally different to their      the lungs for it, but I can hardly get a note out at
normal lives. He is an outsider there and yet he has        the moment.”
also fallen in love with the place.”
                                                            Lloyd readily admits that his television career, which
The magic has certainly cast its spell on Lloyd, who        also includes appearances in Coupling, The Vice and
has thrown himself heart and soul into life in the          The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, helps to subsidise
Highlands. “I grew up in north London, but my               the real love of his life – the theatre.
family are from Snowdonia in north Wales,” he
explains. “So I have some knowledge of this kind            “Recently I did Edward II with Joseph Fiennes at
of countryside.                                             The Crucible in Sheffield and last year The York
                                                            Realist, which won the Critics’ Circle best play
“When I was with the Cheek By Jowl theatre                  award,” he says. “But the role I really want to
company some years ago, we did 35 countries in              tackle is Macbeth.”
three years. But I still think Scotland is exceptional
because the change in geography is extraordinary.           Meanwhile, he is more than happy in Monarch, but
Scotland has got everything.”                               with one reservation. “They haven’t given Paul any
                                                            romance so far,” bemoans Lloyd. “It would be nice
The locals have taken this enthusiastic incomer to          to think there was someone in the future, but I’m
their hearts – and their hearths, giving Lloyd a real       still in the dark about who it might be.”
taste of Scottish hospitality. “I’ve just been to my
first proper ceilidh recently – for a retiring sheep
farmer who was moving to a croft on Skye.The
whole village threw a big party for him.

“They were doing wonderful dances, including one
called “Strip The Willow”, that I had no idea of at
all,” he admits with a grin. “But I was being helpfully
pushed around by people.That is what is so
wonderful about this job – you can get involved in
the community you’re working in and see a side of
life that the tourists don’t see.”

But London-born Lloyd says he is torn between
rural and city life. “It is very addictive up here, it is
so beautiful” he says, adding, “but I like the city, I
like the buzz and I can’t see myself living anywhere
other than a city.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                                42

                                            Paul Freeman
                                            plays Andrew

                                                           “It’s a great antidote to the whole business of
                                                           working as an actor where you’re surrounded by
                                                           people.To be able to get away so completely, with
                                                           not a road or a house in sight, is just wonderful. I
                                                           had done it before, but I’d rather lost touch with it.

                                                           “I live in London, so trying to do it near there
                                                           always involved an excursion.To be able to leave
                                                           my house in Newtonmore and be in a glen in
                                                           five minutes where there is nobody for 20 miles is
                                                           just extraordinary.”

                                                           Well known from films such as Raiders Of The Lost
                                                           Ark, The Long Good Friday and the TV hit ER – in
                                                           which his on-screen daughter, Dr Corday, is played
                                                           by Alex Kingston – Paul has spent a lot of his
                                                           working life in America where he is due to return
                                                           to promote the film Morlan, which gained him the
                                                           Best Actor award at the prestigious Cairo
                                                           Film festival.

                                                           “It is based on a true Dutch story about a couple
                                                           who enter into a suicide pact because the wife
Handsome, charming and affluent, Andrew Booth              is ill,” he explains. “But after she kills herself,
could sweep any woman off her feet – but will his          the husband doesn’t – he goes off with a young
softly-softly approach work on Glenbogle’s                 blonde instead.”
winsome widow?
                                                           He may have a reputation for playing chilling screen
As his feelings for her grow, this suave suitor also       baddies, but Paul insists he enjoys nothing more
has to cope with the realisation that he might have        dangerous than cooking and gardening. “I bought a
a rival for Molly’s affections. But faint heart never      house in France last year, near Avignon, and I’m
won fair lady.                                             looking forward to spending some time in the
                                                           garden there, among the vineyards.
“There is a continuing tango of Andrew getting
closer to Molly over the episodes,” explains Paul          “Not that it will be very relaxing,” he adds with a
Freeman.“But there are also hints of jealousy from         laugh. “Last time we turned up there a family of
Golly and a bit of a struggle between the two of us.”      wild boar had been trampling through it, so there
                                                           was hardly anything left of what we planted in
Paul’s spell on Monarch has given him the chance to        the spring.”
rediscover a hobby that has helped him cope with
the pressures of filming. “It’s hill walking,” he grins.
“I hill walk like a lunatic. As soon as I’m off the set
I’ve got my boots on and I’m gone.

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                              43
                                                                  New faces in the Glen

                                 New faces in the Glen

Richenda Carey plays                                        are best. “Look at JR in Dallas, or Alan Rickman in
                                                            Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves,” she points out. “But
Lady Dorothy                                                they are characters we love to hate.

                                                            “Obviously, I have to play it from her point of view
                                                            and I imagine she has been rather disappointed in
                                                            life. She’s very, very urban – London urban – and
                                                            she has an innate snobbism that is to do with class,
                                                            but also with locality.

                                                            “She does assume that she’s right all the time and I
                                                            have a certain sympathy with that. My nearest and
                                                            dearest would say that I very occasionally may be
                                                            the same. But really, you just want to smack her.”

                                                            As well as a brief appearance in Tomb Raider,
                                                            Richenda has worked with Mike Leigh and Victoria
                                                            Wood on television and has spent a lot of time on
                                                            radio drama. But this is only her second working
                                                            trip to Scotland and she has fallen in love with it.
                                                            “It is beautiful, what a lovely country,” she says.
                                                             “I have been going for walks and exploring the
Cheerful and charming, Richenda Carey is relishing          countryside, climbing the hills.
her role as the woman who is about to unleash the
fury of Monarch fans everywhere.“I confidently              “I was born near Bristol and have spent a lot of
expect hate mail; I shan’t have been doing my job           childhood in the country, but have been living in
properly if I don’t get any,” she declares.“I think there   London because of work for the past 30 years –
is something rather delicious about horrid people.”         gosh, that sounds a long time. But I love the
                                                            country and I’ve brought my hiking boots up here.
This versatile actress takes on the haute couture           It’s such a bonus to the job.”
mantle of Lady Dorothy, Kilwillie’s sister and a
scheming, sour-faced snob.With her spoilt daughter
Hermione, she will make her peevish presence felt
throughout the estate, leaving a trail of havoc in
                                                            Hermione Gulliford
her wake.                                                   plays Hermione
“She comes in like a dose of salts and a splash of          Female fans will be furious: cute and cuddly Duncan
vinegar,” grins Richenda. “She is terribly irritating as    is about to be seduced by the girlfriend from hell –
well as being this monstrous person and she’s very          and he’s going willingly.
snobby about Scotland, which immediately makes
her the bad guy.                                            “There will be letters,” warns Hermione Gulliford
                                                            with a laugh at her namesake’s expense. “She’s not
“She will be appallingly patronising to the people          at all interested in other people. Even when she
the viewers love – like Duncan and Lexie. It will be        first meets Duncan, it doesn’t occur to her to ask
like kicking a dog on screen.”                              him any questions.

Richenda’s obvious happiness at playing this                “She is Lady Dorothy’s daughter and a real chip off
harridan comes from her firm belief that baddies            the old block. If she can’t get her own way she

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                                44
                                                                New faces in the Glen

                                                          So far, most of Hermione’s career has been on the
                                                          stage where her Olivia in Twelfth Night was
                                                          nominated for the Ian Charleson Award. She also
                                                          played Portia in the RSC’s world-touring
                                                          production of The Merchant Of Venice.

                                                          “We went to America, China, Malaysia and Japan,”
                                                          she explains. “The Japanese are notoriously very
                                                          quiet and respectful and that was a bit weird. But at
                                                          The Globe in Tokyo, we were told that they were
                                                          usually much quieter than that – so we must have
                                                          stirred them up a bit.”

                                                          Rae Hendrie
                                                          plays Jessica

does terribly manipulative things, or throws money
at the problem. She thinks the world should revolve
around her and everyone should come running. If I
met anyone like her, I think I’d probably run a mile.”

Yet Hermione, the Somerset-born actress, does feel
the need to defend Hermione, the spoilt, little rich
girl. “There is a vulnerable side to her,” she insists.
“If she was too awful, Duncan wouldn’t like her.

“She can’t help herself because that’s what she’s
grown up with. Until now, her love life has been
hopeless. She falls in love very easily and then
throws herself at these men who clearly can’t be
doing with her. So they make up all these dreadful
excuses – like terminal illnesses.

“But, playing her, I have to find things that I like
about her, otherwise she would just become a
caricature. I do feel she genuinely falls for Duncan.
There is a moment she realises that he is a proper
human being, someone genuine – not like the
                                                          It is a happy return to the world of Glenbogle
City types she’s used to. Her motives are from a
                                                          for Rae Hendrie – but will her character, Jessica,
good place.”
                                                          feel quite as delighted at the reception she gets
                                                          when she bowls back into the life of Golly, her
It was “like mother, like daughter” for real-life
                                                          estranged father?
Hermione, whose own mum was a drama teacher.
“I told her at a young age that I wanted to be an
                                                          “She does do quite a lot of walking off, a bit of
actor and she wasn’t too surprised,” she grins.
                                                          flouncing,” laughs Rae, who initially won the part of
“I also found out later that my great-grandfather
                                                          Jess while she was still at drama school. “I got my
had been a keen amateur actor, so it must be in
                                                          degree results while we were filming,” she recalls.
the blood.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                            45
                                                                 New faces in the Glen

“I was so excited about the job, I’d forgotten they        Martin Compston
were coming out.”
                                                           plays Ewan
Since then, Selkirk-born Rae has appeared in
Rockface and Taggart, despite having recently moved
to London. “It’s exciting being in London, but I miss
my mum and dad,” she admits. “I live in the East
End, which is a little bit rough and ready, but it’s
great to be in the thick of things.

“I share a flat with two other actors, which is quite
good because we all go through our little lulls and
we spur each other on.”

Rae was a latecomer to acting, having gone to
Edinburgh University to study psychology and
linguistics. “I got involved in a production of Bugsy
Malone and was enjoying doing that a lot more
than I was enjoying my course,” she explains.
 “So I dropped out and decided to apply to
drama schools.

“My parents weren’t exactly happy, but once they
realised it was what I wanted to do, they were fine
and really supported me.They were just worried
because they had it in their head that I was going to      Young actor Martin Compston comes to Monarch
be a psychologist and then, suddenly, I wanted to be       Of The Glen trailing clouds of glory from his multi-
an actor. But every job is unreliable these days, so       award-winning screen debut in Ken Loach’s film,
you might as well do what you really want to do.”          Sweet Sixteen. Hailed as a new James Dean, or Paul
                                                           Newman, this likely lad could be forgiven for being
Rae knows how tough it can be to keep an acting            too big for his boots.
career going, but this former cello player has more
than one string to her bow. “I started off singing         Instead, Greenock-born Martin is determined to
when I was younger – classical singing and                 learn his new craft, ignore the hype and build a
performing in Burns competitions.That led to me            career that doesn’t depend on the latest tabloid
doing parts in school shows, playing in orchestras,        headline.That’s why he turned his back on tempting
doing ballet and contemporary dance – everything           “get rich quick” offers from the States and plumped
but acting.                                                instead for the role of street-wise Ewan, a loveable
                                                           rogue from the wrong side of the tracks.
“Now, when I’m not acting, I’ve been working with
kids with behavioural problems in a school in              “After Sweet Sixteen I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to
Camden and totally loved that.                             rush into anything’. I had the feeling that for a lot of
                                                           people, all that attention would go to their head
“It’s been brilliant, so exciting and satisfying – never   and they would try and do too much, too soon,”
a dull moment.When I got this part back in                 he says candidly.
Monarch they didn’t believe me, obviously. But I
think they will definitely be watching; I’ve got my        “I needed to step back and chill out and wait for
little fan base now.”                                      the right things to come along and then just do

Monarch Of The Glen                                                                                              46
                                                       New faces in the Glen

what I thought was best.There has been some
pressure on me to move to London or America,
but I never went to acting school, or anything like
that, so I’m still learning my trade.

“The reviews I got for Sweet Sixteen were
unbelievable, but I’ve got a long, long way to go if
I’m going to make it to Hollywood. Anyone who
has made it there has got my total respect because
it must be so hard to get there. I’ve got years yet
and I need to learn. Monarch is brilliant for that
because it has a really talented cast and I’ll be on
set all the time.”

Plucked from school to star in Loach’s acclaimed
film, Martin had his sights set on a career as a
professional footballer – a dream he has had to
give up. “I was absolutely gutted,” says the former
Morton FC player. “I’m 19 now and that was a good
10 years of my life where all I had done was play
football and train every day, really hard.

“It was my only ambition, all I ever wanted to do
and I had a good chance of getting where I wanted
to be and to have to give up on it was a nightmare,
devastating. But acting’s not a bad compensation
and I know I’ve done the right thing.”

Monarch Of The Glen                                                        47
                                                                            Drama highlights

                              Coming soon on BBC One

Charles II                                                 Carrie’s War

A dynamic romp through history – racy, visceral            Adapted from the children’s classic by Nina
and violent – Adrian Hodges’ four-part drama               Bawden, Carrie’s War tells the story of 13-year-old
focuses on the court of King Charles II, his               Carrie, evacuated to Wales from war-torn London.
squabbling family and his glamorous mistresses at a
time when the conflict between Monarch and State
was at a crossroads. Starring Rufus Sewell, Rupert
Graves, Helen McCrory, Martin Freeman, Diana               The Deputy
Rigg and Ian McDiarmid.
                                                           Warren Clarke plays fictional deputy Prime
                                                           Minister and Birmingham MP, Bob Galway. The
                                                           Deputy is a funny, wry, fast-paced and sexy drama
Holy Cross                                                 which explores Galway’s life and work in the House
                                                           of Commons and his constituency.
A factually-based drama telling the story of two
fictional families caught up in the events on the
Ardoyne Road in Belfast in the autumn of 2001.
Holy Cross attempts to go behind the headlines and         He Knew He Was Right
the anger to discover why the people involved in
this dispute felt that they had to see it through, no      A dark and edgy portrait of a marriage in trouble,
matter what the consequences.                              adapted by Andrew Davies from Anthony Trollope’s
                                                           take on the Othello story. Stars hot new talent
                                                           Oliver Dimsdale and Laura Fraser, with a very
                                                           strong support cast including Bill Nighy, Geraldine
The Young Visiters (sic)                                   James, Geoffrey Palmer, Anna Massey, Ron Cook
                                                           and Patsy Palmer making her period drama debut.
Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie star as Alfred
Salteena and Lord Bernard Clark, the two
gentlemen competing for the favours of young minx
Ethel Monticue (Lyndsey Marshal), in Patrick               Pride
Barlow’s adaptation of Daisy Ashford’s much-loved
comic Victorian novel, The Young Visiters (sic), written   A real pride of lions, filmed on the plains of Africa,
when she was nine-years-old.                               become the characters in a magical and dramatic
                                                           tale of love and survival in Pride, an ambitious new
                                                           family film. Kate Winslet, Sean Bean, Helen Mirren
                                                           and Rupert Graves star as the voices of the
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet                                       leading characters.

One of the BBC’s most popular dramas of 2002 is
back for another series as the magnificent seven
head to the Caribbean island of Cuba.

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