How much did you get bashed around on set?
‘Lots! It’s very action based, I do throw myself around and off cliffs and everything. I was battered by the end, but it was a good learning process.’
Did you watch previous versions of ‘Moonfleet’ or the stories told in ‘The White Queen’?
‘For me, it’s not helpful. I want to do something original rather than interpret someone else’s performance, which is always the risk – even if it’s only in a subconscious way. I want to concentrate on giving my own fresh interpretation.’
What was the specific attraction of ‘Moonfleet’?
‘There’s a lot of talk about “Moonfleet” being an action drama, but there’s more to it than that. It’s a good old-fashioned character piece, with a good storyline and a lot of lessons: family, trust, love, loss… It’s a young man seeking to make his way in the world. If anything, it’s the action that comes last.’
How important is it to work with people like Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels, who you watched growing up?
‘I’m always eager to work with people I admire, people who have experience, who’ve made mistakes and made great things. That’s the greatest teaching I could ever get in developing my own career. It helps me make the right choices and stay interested and creative. But also getting to act with people who listen to you while you’re acting rather than wait to say their line, so it becomes this tennis match. That’s really exciting. I think as a generation of British actors, we’re becoming a bit soft and too manipulated by the business. It’s great to work with someone who’s not afraid to get involved, to stand firm and do good work.’
Do you have a career strategy?
‘It’s about doing new work with people I can learn from, and playing parts I’ve never done before. I know straight away if there are roles I don’t want to do, and I have a lot of arguments with my agents about those.'
What sort of roles are they?
‘It’s more if I think the story’s crap or if I don’t think I’ll learn anything from working with that director.’
What have been your pivotal roles so far?
‘Everything’s had its effect, but I’ll never forget playing Richard III [in ‘The White Queen’]. It might have been nicer to have had more time to play that role, but the time constraints in the series meant we had to rush it a bit. Playing David Bailey in “First We Take Manhattan” was unforgettable - no one had ever played him before. And my first job, doing “Spring Awakening” in the West End straight out of drama school, and then getting the Olivier Award really kicked things off.’
Are you more comfortable on stage?
‘I love both. On stage you have to feel and manipulate the audience. But as a lead on set, you have to do that as well with the crew, trying to get them excited about the work you’re doing. That responsibility is a challenge I love.’
‘Moonfleet’, Saturday December 28 & Sunday December 29, 8pm, Sky1.
Watch the ‘Moonfleet’ trailer
Read more about ‘Moonfleet’
Another period swashbuckler from Sky1, with smuggling and a hunt for booty once again at its heart. Ray Winstone is as gruffly memorable as ever in the role of honourable thief Elzevier, smuggling liquor off the Dorset coast and under the nose of brutal law-enforcer Mohune (Ben Chaplin, jousting wholeheartedly with Winstone).
Bar Boulud is located in the basement of the majestic Mandarin Oriental and attracts a diverse mix of families, hotel guests, business people and romancing couples. Overseen by renowned chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant has an eye-catching view of the open-plan kitchen where chefs work in zen-like calm. Charcuterie from Gilles Verot is a big draw, as are the elegant French brasserie options and finger-licking American staples. We’ve had burgers here and loved every bite – perhaps a beef patty topped with pulled pork and green chilli mayonnaise or a French-US collaboration of beefy burger piled high with pork confit and morbier cheese. On our latest visit, we enjoyed such culinary gems as a robust french onion soup, resplendent with caramelised onions and topped with molten gruyère. A veritable mountain of steamed plump mussels cloaked in garlicky red chilli tomato sauce was another winner – every last saucy drop mopped up with chargrilled bread. The only downer was a lacklustre chocolate sponge layered with chilled coffee buttercream, although its accompanying scoop of coffee ice-cream saved the day. A class performance topped off by seamless service. The cheapest way in here is the 'Bouchon Menu' served daily from noon–7pm: 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses for £21 including coffee.
Venue says: “We have just launched our new menu at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, based around dishes from Provence.”