First of all, thank you very much, Mr Daniels, for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to answer our questions!
Everyone just really loves the soundtrack, so the most asked question is: where can I buy, download or stream it? Are there any plans to release it?
Yes!! As part of the planning for S2, I had a chat with the wonderful Jeanette at Avant Music Publishing the other day. A soundtrack album with The Theme, Closing Credits Track and some favourite cues from S1 should be available to download and stream before S2 airs.
What is the song called that is played during the opening credits?
It’s based on a pre-existing library track the guys at Phase had done for Cratedigger Music called ‘Going Places’. When I played Rachael, Declan and all the other execs in the USA pieces that me and the team at Phase had done in the past to try and find the right tone for The Opening Theme, they fell in love with it. I shaped it and gave it the Scarlet sound and Cratedigger were good enough to allow it to reach its destiny as The Scarlet Theme.
During the theme song / opening credits, is there a female voice singing or vocalizing sounds? If so, what is the name of the singer?
There is a great company called Output who make brilliant synths and audio software for the computers that I use in my studio. They make a wonderful vocal plug in called ‘Exhale’. The vocalized sounds are from that.
Suzanne Lau: The main theme tune for Miss Scarlet & The Duke is one of my favourites. What inspired you to create the theme tune the way you did in relation to the show? I really love the rock music element to it.
The Execs wanted the theme to sound like current commercial music mixed into the ‘The Scarlet Band’ (which was the instrumentation we’d decided upon to deliver the score – all organic sounds that, although you couldn’t record them back in Victorian London, you could hear them back then…)
Lucy Feekins: Really love the whole soundtrack you’ve created (would love to be able to listen to it somewhere!) Were you influenced by anyone/thing in particular, and did you have to do any specific research for the show in relation to instrumentation/ ideas?
For the score, Dec & Rachael gave me the guidance that we wanted the sounds to be organic and believable from the past – no synths or electric guitars. I’ve been influenced by so many great composers, producers and arrangers along the way. They’ve all helped!
Helen Collins: I think there are tambourines and cymbals there? Could you tell me what other instruments are used in this amazing music?
I augmented the band with a chamber orchestra and sometimes a symphony orchestra too – for the ‘glamour cues’!
How did you come to be a composer?
My Mum forced me to have piano lessons. She used to say “you’ll thank me when you’re older” – she was SO RIGHT! I was very lucky and was given a few opportunities with the Phase guys. I delivered and they came to trust me.
Was Miss Scarlet & The Duke your first time composing for TV?
No, BUT it was my first time out on my own – scary, but thrilling, I loved it so much and am so proud that my first solo gig is a show that philosophically I truly believe in. Rachael has created characters that I love and a show that helps the world get better by showing us the folly of sexism and prejudice. It’s an honour to be part of that.
Final question: Will you be back composing the soundtrack for season 2?
Yes!! I can’t wait. It’s going to be even better!!!
Thanks for asking me to answer these questions Isabel. I’ve really enjoyed it!
Thank you so very much again, Mr Daniels! It was a pleasure talking to you and we look forward to hearing more of your amazing music!
Miss Scarlet & The Duke will return to our screens in 2022! Follow / join Scarleteers on Facebook (Page & Group), Instagram and Twitter for more information.
You recently mentioned in an interview that “life is about living, not dying” and that it would be a great slogan for Running Naked. Could you explain how it relates to the film?
We are all dying at different rates. The film touches how reflecting on this can positively affect how we live our lives. We need to be present in the moment and sometimes bad thing happening make you focus on this. I know when my wife went through this, we really focused on what was important to us and what was a stressful time became strangely a positive one.
My friend is a survivor of teenage cancer. I know she would love to watch Running Naked but she’s hesitant it might trigger some unwanted memories. What would you tell her?
We were keen that the presentation of cancer was both true but also positive. With that in mind we screened the film to young cancer patients through the teenage cancer trust. Their feedback was both moving and overwhelmingly positive. See below:
Firstly, when I found out it was a movie about two young lads going through treatment. Straightaway I thought “oh no” this might be too close to home and thought I might need to keep tissues ready for the emotional scenes. However, with that being said, my reaction was actually quite the opposite. This movie highlighted friendship during tough times and how they had each other to support but also how important it is to be there for one another.
For me personally, I never thought you could put comedy and cancer in the same genre, but the Running Naked team made it happen. Keeping it light-hearted and making me grin rather than cry just shows it was well put together. From the script, the cast, the whole movie storyline was brilliant. I laughed throughout because I could relate to the scenes.
I always avoided cringe cancer type of movies only because it was emotionally distressing but this movie I highly recommend, it’s a good watch. The writer’s message was to highlight friendship aspects during tough times and how the main characters Ben and Mark are just trying to live their lives to the fullest which as a viewer was so inspiring. They do things out of the ordinary especially for Ben because he has OCD. Highly recommend this movie and I’m sure you’ll reach out to your friends after watching if you haven’t in a while, especially during the current situation, as this movie just give you a pure warm fuzzy feeling inside. I know I’ll be recommending this movie to my friends.
Let’s go back to the beginning: the script for Running Naked was developed over a longer period of time until you and Victor Buhler decided to finally make it into a film. You called it a “leap of faith”. Are you glad you took it or would you have hoped for different circumstances?
I think films have a moment when they will or won’t happen. I am glad we took the leap of faith when we did as otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. I know when people find the film, they generally love it. Particularly if they have been through any of the experiences related in the film. My hope is over the years people will discover it and it will gain a following.
The script for Running Naked draws on some very personal experiences dealing with your wife’s own battle with cancer. Would you say it made it easier or more difficult to write?
Whilst the film doesn’t directly touch on the same experiences, having a pool of emotions and reflections based upon similar events did help. Particularly at a distance from those events.
Can you talk us through the casting process a little? How did Andrew (and the rest of the talented cast) become a part of Running Naked?
Andrew Gower came through an introduction from Tamzin Merchant (who I had worked with previously and who was cast as Sara) who was working with Andrew on Carnival Row. Matthew McNulty came through Andrew’s agent. Emma Stansfield and Sacha Parkinson I had both worked with before. Rahkee Thakrar also came through Tamzin (thank you Tamzin).
The young Ben (James Senneck) and Mark (Samuel Bottomley) came through contacts with Matthew McNulty. Andrew and Matthew cast their youngers selves effectively.
This needs to be followed by the unfortunately inevitable question: how was working with Andrew Gower?
He was great and gave so much to the role of Ben. He is a fab actor and we are looking to work together in the future.
Running Naked was filmed in summer 2018. Since then the world has changed quite fundamentally and in quite an unpredictable way. Do you think this has also changed people’s reception of the film?
It’s strange in the film the character of Ben washes his hands a lot with gel. This was meant to be unusual but now is the new norm!
Hopefully the hope and positivity in the film chimes even more now.
Stoke-on-Trent seems an unusual choice for a filming location. Why did you choose it? I personally liked the contrast between the more “clinical” look of the city and the lush English countryside, just like the film itself balances a very serious matter with heart and humour.
We shot there because it hadn’t been seen on screen before but also because I teach film at the university of Staffordshire and the university (and the students there) helped in the making of the film.
What would you say was the biggest challenge in making Running Naked?
I would say making what is such an ambitious film on a pretty micro budget.
Do you have a favourite scene?
There is a scene towards the end of the film when the two leads reflect on their friendship that I love and that echoes what I feel about friendship. However lots of great scenes and special moments in the film.
Running Naked is now available in the UK and in the USA digitally and as VOD. Are there any plans for releases in more countries, more theatrical screenings? I’m quite old fashioned and like physical copies of my favourite films. Any plans for a DVD release maybe?
No plans for DVD but looking at potential cinema screenings post covid. Working through sales agents to release in other territories.
You’re currently filming in Mexico. Is there anything you can share about your new project? Or any other projects we should look out for?
Thank you so very much again, Mr Knowles, for your time and patience. Hopefully many people will have the chance to experience Running Naked soon, on the big or small screen, and we’re looking forward to seeing your future work, especially if it involves our Andrew Gower!
Running Naked, the “feel good buddy dramedy” starring Andrew Gower and Matthew McNulty as cancer survivors Ben and Mark, is available to rent or buy digitally or as VOD on several streaming sites in the UK and the USA.
Please consider leaving a positive review if you liked the film to support this micro-budget independent production!
Journalist Sarah Bradbury (The Upcoming) interviewed Andrew Gower about playing cancer survivor Ben Taylor in the British independent production Running Naked. They talked about researching Ben’s OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and how it relates to a world in lockdown from an infectious disease, filminig in “exotic places” like Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Manchester and finally how humour helps to deal with the toughest situations.
Running Naked is a film about Ben and Mark (Matthew McNulty), who met at a cancer ward as teenage patients and became lifelong friends. It is described as a comedy drama about “love, friendship and streaking”. It is available to stream online after its world premiere at the Beijing International Film Festival in August 2020 where it was nominated for the Tiantian award.
Yes! It was in an area of the hospital we had full control over, so it wasn’t too embarrassing, and we filmed in the summer so we weren’t too cold. It was liberating and nerve-wracking at the same time.
It’s been described as a film that will make you laugh and cry…
There are sad moments but it’s uplifting more than anything else. It’s about two cancer survivors, Mark and Ben [played by Andrew Gower], who are friends from being teenagers. The title comes from the fact that when they were younger they streaked through the hospital naked. It’s also a metaphor for being free – running without the things that weigh you down.
Fans will have the unique opportunity to join the Zoom meeting and ask their questions live themselves. Message the Scarleteers page on Facebook or contact us to be included in the Q&A and receive your invitation. If you prefer, you can also just send in a question and the host will ask it for you. Scarleteers are asking you to send in your questions by Monday, 7 December 2020 in order to allow them to organize them and send out the invitations.
The event will be free to view on YouTube. The link will be shared about 15-30mins prior to the live stream on the Scarleteers Twitter account and on Facebook. We will share it as soon as possible on our our Social Media outlets on Twitter, Facebook and in this post.
We are sure you can sneak in a question about Andrew Gower and his character Rupert Parker if you like!
What do you like best about Eliza Scarlet? She’s a quick thinker and a clever mind. I love her wit and her tenacity. She’s a very fun character to play.
What do you think annoys the Duke the most about Eliza? She doesn’t know when to give up and it often ends with the two on them at logger heads. She doesn’t pull her punches with him, which clearly winds him up but somehow they always manage to come together in the end.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Rachael has created an amazing ensemble of really witty and heart felt characters and Eliza is different with everyone – each bringing out a different side of her. I particularly love her relationship with Ivy. She takes on the role of a mother figure for Eliza and between them they share a lovely balance of bickery but also tender moments.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? There are way too many to choose from but I have the best memories of filming one particular scene in episode 5. It was our last day of the shoot and Stuart and I were having to perform a scene through a small hole in a prison door. It was a very fun and fast paced scene to play as, whilst starting off quite sweetly, as ever it escalates quickly into a full blown row.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Action sequences. My favourite moments are when Eliza is bounding around, hair a mess, spouting some sort of pithy, cutting remark – most likely in The Duke’s direction.
What do you like best about Henry Scarlet? He loves and admires his daughter.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about her father? He’s usually right about things.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Eliza.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? No favourite. They were all wonderful to do.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Come back to life!
Lola Sattar is a young aspiring actress who is best known for playing young Eliza on Miss Scarlet and The Duke. She has also appeared in the British-German fantasy children’s television series The Worst Witch and most recently, played a guest role on The Dumping Ground, a British children’s drama series about young people living in care homes.
What do you like best about Eliza Scarlet? I like her fiery nature, sharp mind and determination as well as her compassion for those in need.
What do you think annoys her father the most about Eliza? I think the fact that Eliza is so strong minded can annoy her father as it would have been unusual at the time for a young woman to act in such a way and I think he fears what the rest of the world will take of it, especially in her future – he wants what he thinks is best for his daughter.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Moses.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? I love the scene where Eliza begins to teach Ivy to read & write – I found it really moving.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 I’d like to see Eliza solve more cases and build up her reputation for being a great detective.
What do you like best about Ivy? What I like best about Ivy is her honesty and loyalty! She always speaks her mind and she is absolutely loyal to Miss Scarlet. Even when Miss Scarlet runs into finance trouble and can’t pay Ivy, Ivy stays and remains loyal and continues to run the house. Her honesty is a joy to play. She always speaks her mind even when it’s not what Miss Scarlet wants to hear. This relationship is everything to Ivy. Miss Scarlet is the daughter, sister, best friend she never had.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about Ivy? What annoys Miss Scarlet most about Ivy is her conservative and old ways: Ivy doesn’t believe in women’s rights. A woman’s place is in the home. But watch this space… Miss Scarlet is working her beautiful ways on her. She teaches her to write and educated her on women’s rights. I love this journey Ivy is on.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? It has to be my lovely Eliza! Kate Phillip’s portrayal of Miss Scarlet is wonderful. She has an ability to bring great masses of emotion and gear changes with the lightest of touch. It’s beautiful to watch Eliza grown through series one.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? My favorite scene to play was in ep 4 where Eliza teaches Ivy to write. Two women from opposite poles supporting each other and making their way in the world.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 I’d love to see Ivy continue to grow with Eliza. Perhaps help Eliza in her private dectective business. What I am most confident about is that in the hands of our gifted creator and writer Rachael New, Ivy is in very safe hands.
What do you like best about Mr Potts? Pompous characters are always fun to play as they have further to fall when it all goes wrong. Mr Potts is a perfect example of that. He is a stickler for rules which are invariably broken by either Miss Scarlet or The Duke.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about Mr Potts? See above. Also he secretly knows that she is way more intelligent than him.
Who was your favourite character in S1? What a difficult question! I’m going to sit on the fence and say all of them. Is that allowed?
What was your favourite scene in S1? Really too many scenes to choose from but the first scene in the first episode with the glass eyed moll is a fantastic opening.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Win the lottery. Failing that, managing to get one over on Miss Scarlet…
Dublin born and based actress Helen Norton has an impressive resumee in theatre where she hasn’t only acted but also written and directed short plays for children, and toured with her two-hander play To Hell in a Handbag (co-written with Jonathan White) across the UK and Ireland to sell-out performaces. Her television and film credits include Angela’s Ashes, Ella Enchanted and The Borgias.
What do you like best about Mrs Parker? I love that Mrs Parker pulls no punches, speaks her mind and will do whatever she thinks is best to protect her own.
What do you think annoys Rupert the most about his mother? Probably the fact that she treats him more like a child than an adult and never seems to listen to his opinions or believes he could, in fact, have any opinions of his own.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? That’s a difficult question, there were so many great characters! I loved the hapless policeman Honeychurch and also Ivy and Moses.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? My favourite scene was in Episode 1 when Mrs Parker and Rupert are visiting Scarlet and the artificial eyeball rolls into view!
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞If I’m lucky enough to return in Season 2, I’d be delighted with whatever Rachael decides Mrs Parker should get up to!
What do you like best about PC Honeychurch? I think my favourite thing about him is how green he is. Honeychurch is wonderfully out of his depth starting out as a policeman, learning through his mistakes, and it’s fun to play that comedy as he struggles to keep up with Eliza and Duke.
What do you think annoys William and Eliza the most about PC Honeychurch? Probably his inexperience and his cheek. He always seems to say the wrong thing and finds it hard to see Eliza as an authority – but she shows him what’s what.
Who was your favourite character in S1? I have a real fondness for Mrs. Parker (Helen Norton). She’s straight out of Oscar Wilde and is scary and hilarious in equal measure.
What was your favourite scene in S1? There’s a scene at the end of episode 3 when Eliza starts to teach Ivy (Cathy Belton) how to read and write. There’s something really powerful about that passing on of knowledge to someone who’s cared for her for so many years, and it ties up that episode’s story really well.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2?🤞 I’d love to see Honeychurch do something right (for once!) and impress the Duke. I can imagine how surprised and chuffed he’d be at helping to solve a case.
What do you like best about DS Frank Jenkins? Frank is a thinker and everyone around him underestimates him.
What do you think annoys the Duke the most about Frank? I think the Duke dislikes Frank’s dress sense and his slopey ways.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? That’s a hard one. I loved everyone. If I was pushed I would say my favourite character has to be Rupert Parker. He is so diametrically opposite to Frank – and Andrew just made him fascinating and funny.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? I have two scenes actually. One is when young Eliza has a conversation with her father over the kitchen table and then the mirror scene to that; when adult Eliza is sat at the same table having a conversation with her father.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 For season two I would love to dress like the Duke, Stuart Martin looked fantastic.
What do you like best about The Duke? He’s a proper old school bloke, isn’t he, from a bygone era. And Rachael doesn’t shy away from that in how she’s written him. Warts and all. He doesn’t always get it right, he doesn’t always say it in the right way or apologise quick enough when he’s got it wrong. But he does apologise, in his own way. Says what he thinks, let’s his temper and emotions flare unmoderated and unapologetically. He goes from zero to ten in a heartbeat and back to three again just as fast. That is the best and most rewarding thing to be given and to be able to play as an actor. To be able to follow those thoughts and emotions and not second guess them or dampen them before they’ve even reached the surface. To be able to have an argument and not be apologising while you’re having the argument. I’ve got a real soft spot for Duke. Hardened because of his experiences in a tough world, but caring and loving and open to change and what’s right.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about The Duke? All of the above. He’s very much a man of his time and Eliza is ahead of her time. So their ways of thinking don’t always aline, which gives a lot of the lovely drama and comedy. They both infuriate each other because they both have such different ways of seeing the world and cases. He’s getting there. He may not be the most forward thinking by today’s standards, but I think he’s learning and trying to do what’s right and Eliza knows this and respects him for this. She just knows it may be a slightly longer journey getting him to see her way of thinking and what’s right often. But it goes both ways. It’s a brilliantly complex relationship that Rachael has crafted with a whole load of affection and love and history thrown in, that makes the characters such a joy to play and delve into.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? They are all so brilliantly crafted, on and off the page. They all have their own distinct lives and journeys, flaws and struggles. A testament to Rachael’s writing and how she’s created these characters. They all have such great moments and lives and struggles we all care about. And they will continue to grow and shine in season two.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? So many, but I loved filming episode 5 in the prison. We all did. We filmed it all near the end of the shoot in an ancient prison in Wicklow, Wicklow Gaol. It has such an amazing history of its time used in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War and before. There are so many scenes in that ep that I loved as Eliza and Duke’s relationship and working relationship has matured. The stakes are so high and tensions and emotions are so high that we really see who they are. Unfiltered. The scene between them when Duke finally finds Eliza locked in the cell, for me, sums up their whole relationship and what the shows about. Their battles and tiffs, how they wind each other up and the comedy that comes with it and is such a beautiful part of the show, their losses and fears. They both allow themselves to be very honest and open in that scene through the locked cell door. I think it was maybe 6 pages and Dec would just run it as 8 minute long takes. It was great fun for me and Kate to play out under the watchful brilliant guidance of Dec.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 It’s funny, normally you do have a feeling of the things you want to see your characters doing more of in the next season. Something you felt was missing that would show a different side of them or could be expanded. But not with this, the way Rachael mapped out the characters in season one, you don’t feel that, we got to show so many sides to them. And although there are many sides to these characters that we are yet to see, I’m as excited as you are to see where she takes them. What I do know is that the next journey that they go on will be up a level. We’re going to go deeper and further. With the introduction of new characters and dangers and challenges that will make their worlds all that harder and ultimately dramatic and funny and heartbreaking for these brilliant characters. It’s going to be BIG.
Inevitable bonus question: How was working with Andrew Gower?
Kate Phillips: Well, you know better than anyone what an amazing actor he is. Working with Andrew is heaven. He’s unbelievably talented and his comic timing is genius. There is one scene in episode 6 that I wasn’t sure we would ever be able to complete because we were both laughing so much.
Kevin Doyle: I didn’t get to work with Andrew but I did get to watch his work and I thought it was a wonderful, sensitive, intelligent and funny performance. I also thought he was a lovely human being.
Lola Sattar: Really good, he made me feel so welcome on set!
Cathy Belton: Working with Andrew Gower was a joy! He is a gifted actor. Hardworking but such fun. We laughed a lot. It was hard to keep a straight face in scenes with Andrew. His comic timing is extraordinary.
Simon Ludders: Unfortunately I didn’t get to work with Andrew as we were never in any scenes together. However, I’ve battled against him in a few Zoom quizzes over lockdown and it hurts me to say that he’s rather clever. Ish. Kind of.
Helen Norton: Andrew was Gorgeous to work with, it’s difficult to launch into a Mother/Son relationship when you don’t know the other actor well but we had some interesting character chats and playing our scenes was great fun!
Matthew Malone: I never crossed over with Andrew on set, but I really enjoyed his performance as Rupert. His comic timing brings so much to his scenes.
Danny Midwinter: Andrew Gower is the next John Hurt.
Stuart Martin: Just brilliant. He’s one of my favourite people. Lovely and funny and brilliant and generous on and off screen. Nothing better than finding a wee old pub in a wee town in Ireland to have a few pints of Guinness after a long day shooting, and no better person to have there with you, both talking rubbish, than Andrew.
Alfie is a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in February 2018. Sadly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his 6th birthday party on 25 April 2020 had to be cancelled. To make his day extra special, his dad has asked people to send video messages to his page.
With most of us in some form of quarantine during the Covid-19 epidemic, we hope the follwing interview will provide some welcome distraction. Andrew Gower graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us earlier this week – little did he know how many there would be! He answered all of them nonetheless and we cannot thank him enough for his time and patience!
We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did coming up with questions and covering “a bit of everything”.
First things first: How are you?
Right now, I feel like I should be asking all of you … how you are? … but I shall answer your question : despite the craziness of the world right now – I’m well thank you and healthy. Self isolating in London. In a VERY clean flat.
This question needs to be asked: On a scale from 1-10, how weird or how awesome is it for you to have your own small fanbase?
10 for awesomeness. The weirdness has worn away.
Do you remember the first time someone asked you for your autograph?
The first autograph I ever signed was at a cinema in Angel – the person sat next to me thought I was Andy Murray.
You’re not very active on Social Media. What changed your mind about joining Instagram? Do you have a preference?
I love Twitter for football. All Everton news. That’s a daily go to. I do like to post random photos or music on both – sporadically. I think it’s a nice way to share work you’re passionate about. But I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to spend less time on them. Nothing wrong with a bit of mystery.
Tell us something about Andrew, the actor: when you’re filming, what’s the first thing you do when you come on set? Do you have a special routine?
This changes from set to set … or whatever scenes I’m filming that day. But I’d say a common go to is a cup of black coffee or at a push a red bush tea.
Is it as hard for you as it is for us fans to wait for a new film or TV series to come out after you’ve wrapped filming?
Part of the fun of wrapping a project is knowing that when it comes out you’ll be in a completely different headspace/another role 🤞. There’s something magical about that. Much nicer to be able to watch a project from a distance – not that I’m an avid viewer of my work anyway.
Out of all the characters you played, do you have a favourite?
I really don’t. The joy is being able to think what you can play next or how you could improve the role you just played/make better for next time.
Probably one of the most beloved characters you’ve played so far is Sherlock Holmes (lovingly nicknamed “Baby Sherlock” by your fans btw) on Murdoch Mysteries. It’s been 7 years and people are still asking if/when you’ll make a comeback. Are you aware there’s even an online petition that asks for your return?
Probably be incredibly envious of her talents … and hat collection.
Sherlock Holmes, Rupert Parker and Ezra Spurnrose are all Victorian men (even though Ezra isn’t really from the 19th century). Were you able to use some of your research for the other characters?
I’ve definitely had my overdose of Victorian England. Etiquette coming out of my ears. Although with every character I try and approach them with a different mind set or from a different angle – but it definitely helps to have researched a time period.
One of your fans once commented that it takes “guts and talent” to take on characters like Caligula or Bonnie Prince Charlie. What do you think were some brave choices you made in portraying either character?
That’s lovely to hear. I think one of the main things I took from drama school and from actors I admire … is that we should always be taking risks. Creative risks. Bold choices. Just like Brian Epstein took a risk on 4 lads from Liverpool. Best creative decisions are always risks.
Speaking of Caligula: there were moments when he definitely reminded us on Peter Ustinov’s Nero in the old classic Quo Vadis. Have you ever seen it?
I’ve never seen it. Thanks for the recommendation.
Three of the characters you played recently (Tommy Quickly, James Hadfield and Ben Taylor) are all battling (different) mental health issues. Coincidence or is this a topic you particularly liked exploring at that moment?
Honestly, it’s just they’re all really interesting characters on the page. It’s an amazing opportunity to play somebody who faces different day to day obstacles than yourself.
Iceland, Sweden, the Czech Republic – you filmed in some pretty cold places lately. Which one was your favourite (and do we need to knit some mittens for the future)?
I really couldn’t choose. V lucky to have filmed in all those countries. My mitten game is strong … don’t you worry.
Congratulations on a second season for Carnival Row! How does it feel to be back for another season?
It’s great to be back!
Our corner of the internet imploded a little, when you announced your part in the final season of Poldark. To see Mitchell and Cutler unite is probably the biggest dream, Being Human fans never knew they had, come true. How was filming with Aidan Turner?
Great to finally meet Aidan. Was lovely to chat about our time on Being Human and many of the Poldark crew had been on the show too. Joy to see them all!
You recently completed your first film as a producer. Can you tell us something about the experience to be in charge of a project from beginning to end? Would you like to produce again, maybe also direct?
It’s definitely something I’d like to do again. Though like with everything … It’s all about finding the right project and then you’ll NEED to do it.
It seems you often manage to include some of your music when you’re acting, for example one of Emerson’s songs is featured in an episode of Monroe. How did that happen?
Our wonderful producer Jennie Scanlon found out I had been in a band and asked if they could use the music for the episode.
Another example is Rob (Black Mirror), who is singing in his car just before the fatal accident. Was that scene improvised?
Andrew Gower plays Miss Scarlet’s best friend Rupert Parker, a mild mannered and slightly nervous young man who invests in Eliza’s agency and is one of her few supporters.
Rachael New and Declan O’Dwyer
Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin
ETA (31 March 2020):
In this episode of A Stab In The Dark, Mark Billingham talks to Kate Phillips and Rachael New. Kate and Rachael discuss with Mark the enduring appeal of the Victorian era when it comes to crime fiction and drama and explain why Eliza Scarlet is the female Sherlock Holmes.
We had the great pleasure of speaking to the wonderfully talented Rachael New, creator of the upcoming drama Miss Scarlet and The Duke. We talked about her work on the 6 part series, the challenges of writing in a period setting and her plans for the future.
The British screenwriter’s impressive CV consists of a wide variety of drama and comedy series, both in contemporary and historical settings. In 2009 she wrote and co-created comedy drama series Monday Monday (starring Tom Ellis and Miranda Hart) for British channel ITV. She’s well-known for her work on The Mallorca Files (BBC), which also features a male and female detective clashing on how to investigate, and period drama Grantchester (ITV). Miss Scarlet and The Duke is the first time she serves as creator, writer and show runner.
What are you most excited about for fans to discover about Miss Scarlet and The Duke?
There is so much I’m looking forward. The characters have been so much fun to write. My protagonist Eliza Scarlet is a force of nature – an ambitious, independent woman living at a time where women had little or no rights. This creates lots of lovely conflict which you need to create a cracking story. I also think the tone of the series is quite a fresh take on the period genre. It’s a drama but punctuated with lots of comedy. I think this is something that will feel quite new and exciting to watch.
There’s no release date yet but can you maybe roughly hint at when we can expect to see it?
Great news, especially for everyone this side of the pond. Thank you!
How much research went into your work on Miss Scarlet and The Duke?
A lot. I wanted the world to feel as authentic as possible so that Eliza’s struggle could cut through. It wasn’t a chore. I love history, and curling up on my sofa with a pile of books, cup of tea (or g&t) usually with a blanket or a cat on my lap, is my idea of heaven.
That sounds really heavenly indeed! Is Miss Scarlet based on historic events? Was there a real “Miss Scarlet“?
The character of Eliza Scarlet is fiction – there were no female detectives in 19th century London – however the world she inhabits is very much an authentic one. I felt it was important to research as much as possible. The 19th century was very much a male dominated society and at its core the premise of Miss Scarlet and The Duke is a woman in a man’s world trying to stay in the game.
What was your inspiration for Miss Scarlet, as a character and as a series?
We have a female Doctor Who so I wanted to write a female Sherlock Holmes, but unlike Holmes Eliza Scarlet is more human and less super hero. And where Holmes would be celebrated for his brilliance, Eliza has to work a hell of a lot harder for any kind of respect or recognition.
Haha! There is a lot of me in Eliza – her determination, her impatience, her lack of culinary skills – I’d rather be digging in the garden covered in mud than in the kitchen baking. But Kate Phillips (who plays Eliza) has brought so much to the role that now I’m writing season 2 I just think of her. She is sensational.
Can you share anything about the casting process? What were you looking for in the actors portraying Eliza, the Duke, and Rupert?
I was looking for that spark, a connection that the actor has with the script. As soon as I met with Kate (Eliza), Stuart (Duke), Andrew (Rupert), Ansu (Moses) and Cathy (Ivy) I knew immediately that’s who I wanted. Each are very special actors. They’ve brought magic to the screen and I feel extremely lucky to have them on the show.
Standard and inevitable question: how was working with Andrew Gower?
Andrew’s funny, smart, intuitive and just a lovely person to hang out with. Rupert Parker is a complex character and Andrew did a beautiful job of playing those nuances with such subtlety. He manages to make you laugh as well as move you all at the same time. He’s a class act.
We couldn’t agree more!
How old were you when you started writing? Has writing always been a passion for you?
I always loved writing as a kid and a teen but never really thought about making a living out of it. It was later when I had my first baby (who is now almost 18!) that a stranger actually paid me for a piece of writing. I haven’t stopped since.
Do you enjoy writing historical stories or contemporary ones? And why? What are some pros and cons of each genre?
I’m a period drama junkie so that is my preference both to watch as a viewer and to write. There are many cons of writing period – it’s costly and it’s tricky when out on location to cover up the signs of our modern age – satellite dishes, telephone lines, street lights… but it’s worth the hassle. I love diving into a world that isn’t recognisable as my own. To me that’s true escapism and what storytelling is all about.
Miss Scarlet and The Duke was the first time producing your own show. How did that feel?
It was exhausting, stressful, relentless… and I loved every minute of it. Working with director Declan O’Dywer was a real career high for me. I’ve found a friend for life as well as a trusted colleague who I’ll definitely be working with on other projects. I don’t want to big him up too much or he’ll get a big head and it’s already pretty big – that and the fact that someone else might snap him up if they realise just how good he is.
Show Running Miss Scarlet has been incredible but I had an awesome team behind me. Ben Edwards who over the years has often been my writing partner on other shows (and who rather conveniently also happens to be my husband) wrote a couple of the episodes and helped me break the stories. Then there’s my formidable exec producer team headed up by Patty Ishimoto at Element 8. It was a massive team effort.
What’s your next project? Anything you can share?
I’ve got a Tudor thriller that’s an itch I’m going to scratch at some point, but at the moment it’s all Miss Scarlet. I’m in the middle of writing the first two episodes of season 2.
Thank you so very much, Ms New, for taking the time to answer our questions. We are even more excited to see Miss Scarlet and The Duke now and are loving the idea of a second season!
A) I’ve just wrapped on a project called “Miss Scarlet and the Duke.” A new TV series by A and E that will air on PBS in the new year. It’s a detective show set in Victorian London that follows a young woman, Eliza Scarlet, trying to establish herself as a respected female detective. It’s wonderfully punchy and witty. I can’t wait for people to see it.
What can fans expect from Miss Scarlet and the Duke? How would you describe the overall tone of the series?
Miss Scarlet and the Duke is the story of the first female detective in Victorian London. Conjured from the mind of Rachael New. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously – but it does expose the prejudices society put on women in the Victorian era and draws many parallels to society today. But, all that said – it is a fun show – with the relationship between Miss Scarlet, and the Duke at its core.
In a comment I read someone saying Miss Scarlet sounds like “Remington Steele in Victorian times”. Would you say this is an appropriate comparison?
Ha! I’d not heard that one. If comparisons have to be drawn (they always will) I would say it’s more like a Victorian Moonlighting. But hey, I loved Remington Steele – and it’s another good reference.
Can you tell us a little about Rupert Parker, the character Andrew Gower is playing? Who is he? And I must add that the moustache is fabulous!
At the moment, I can tell you very little about Rupert Parker I’m afraid. I will say only this, he is a man ‘out of time’ with Victorian London.
Inevitable question: how was working with Andrew Gower?
What’s it like to work with Mr Gower? Well, first and foremost he’s a beautiful human being – so it was always a joy having him on set. He’s a proper laugh to have around – always brought amazing energy. He’s a grafter as well, the consummate, consummate professional. I’d jump through fire to work with him again, any day of the week, twice on Sunday.
Do you have a story about filming that you can share? Something that was especially challenging, something funny that happened, or a favourite set?
Too many to mention. And probably many I can’t, or shouldn’t – in a good way. The schedule was extremely challenging. We shot all six episodes in 51 days. We often had to shoot up to 7 pages a day. That’s very tough on a crew (especially shooting a period piece) but it is especially tough on the actors (imagine memorising 7 pages of dialogue – day in day out). Kate Phillips lead from the front. She was amazing. Always on it. Never complained. (and she’s brilliant in it).
I have to say, despite the schedule pressures (we shot the show in Dublin, doubling for Victorian London) the crew were magnificent and the set was an absolute giggle.
On Miss Scarlet you basically worked with two leading ladies: show creator Rachael New and Kate Phillips, who plays Miss Scarlet.
Haha. Yes! They are one in the same. Miss Scarlet is the very thinly veiled alter ego of Rachael New. It wouldn’t surprise me if Rachael is wearing Miss Scarlet’s costume right now as she writes series two.
Rachael is the creator/Showrunner (she’s in charge basically) and has built this fantastic world for us to play in. Kate brings Eliza Scarlet to life (as Stuart does with The Duke). And they are a really great fun to watch. Their chemistry and relationship is magic. They got on like a house on fire also, so that helps.
But yes – two leading ladies. I consider that an honour.
How do you feel about women taking over and being more and more in control in film business?
I’ve never known it any different to be honest, Isabel. Throughout my career I’ve always worked alongside and for amazing female writers, producers and executives. The change I can see, and it’s a very positive one, is more stories come from the female gaze. And that can only be a good thing.
You’re a director, a writer and a producer. Do you have a preference?
Directing. Hands down. I hate writing. I only ever started writing – because I wasn’t getting offered the kind of scripts I wanted to make. Rather than moan about it – I wrote stuff. I was very fortunate, people liked it. It opened doors in Hollyweird. (Not a typo).
Have you always wanted to be a director?
No, I aways wanted to be a movie star. Not an actor – a movie star. But I can’t act for toffee. Best for everyone that I stay behind the camera – and aim it at people like Andrew Gower.
Is it true that you always wear a tuxedo on the first day of filming?
Yes – the tuxedo thing on the first day is true. Be it in jungle or desert, rain or snow. It harks back to my very first directing gig. It was an in-joke with the crew, about being out at an awards ceremony the night before – and going straight to work.
They had a few nice things to say about the cast, …
BEACHAM: I love our cast. I adore them. First of all, they’re such kind and generous people, and they’re just a genuine pleasure to be around. […] But also, they’re incredibly talented. We have actors who you could give garbage, and they could make it look art.
… shed some light on where those unusual character names come from, …
BEACHAM: […] I got Imogen Spurnrose ‘cause I was reading a poem, and the end of one line was “spurn” and the beginning of the next line was “rose,” or something like that. It’s fun, finding those names that feel right. […] I want to find the sound that says who the character is.
… and how far ahead they’re making plans for the series, …
GUGGENHEIM: We talked a lot about where Season 2 would go, on set, and in talking about Season 2, we’ve already outlined and talked about Seasons 3 and 4.
Fans and critics unanimously agree that the Beauty and the Beast like love story between Imogen Spurnrose (Tamzin Merchant) and Mr Agreus (David Gyasi) is one of the most compelling and intriguing storylines in Carnival Row‘s first season.
Mangala Dilip (meaww.com) talked to both actors and Andrew Gower (who plays Imogen’s brother Ezra) about their characters.
[Ezra] is probably one of the most ignorant characters I’ve ever played, maybe will play, but the beauty of ignorance is there’s always the revelation with those characters when something happens and when the truths hit home.
On the question what attracted them to their respective characters, Andrew answered:
I hadn’t read a script that has female characters so shaped and so formed and living and challenging the men in a Victorian period film is something that is really refreshing. […] That sort of works for me right now as an actor who is attracted to those projects consistently, and that is the work I’ve done in the past and this specifically is the one that I went, “Ah, we’re dealing with female characters that we haven’t dealt with before, and I get to be in scenes with them.
We can’t wait to see Andrew in yet another series set in Victorian times (the “real” one this time) with a strong female lead in Miss Scarlet and the Duke!
He further explained about his Carnival Row character Ezra and how he approached him:
I think a lot of people like to keep things out of how they are because they’re terrified of change. Why do you put a woman in a corset to stop her challenging you? Why do women and men sit in different rooms so they can’t gossip? I read this etiquette book to play Ezra and it was really helpful, because every time I was in a scene with my sister [Imogen], she was breaking every etiquette rule in that book, so basically, that’s obviously going to make me angry because she’s not abiding…
Andrew was very philosophical about [expectations being a tricky thing], saying “People are gonna like the show, and people are not gonna like the show. But that in itself is the show.” […]
Andrew had the perfect example […], in the way he approached a character like Ezra, who is very much not the hero of this tale. “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t read anybody’s storyline other than my own because I was like: That’s what Ezra would do.”
In her review of the show Lissette Lanuza Sáenz also added:
[…] the storyline involving Imogen, Agreus and Ezra [is] the strongest of them all. In fact, Imogen’s journey throughout the series, though a little predictable, has enough gravitas to it that in the end, I didn’t just feel for her, I wanted her to win, and Ezra’s turn as, well, a Victorian man, through and through, is acted so convincingly that you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him.
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Please feel free to use and share our pictures but we’d kindly ask you to not remove the watermark and give proper credit to us. In case of doubt or if you prefer an un-watermarked version, please contact us first!
Please feel free to use and share our pictures but we’d kindly ask you to not remove the watermark and give proper credit to us. In case of doubt or if you prefer an un-watermarked version, please contact us first!
Andrew plays the Prince in the TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling books. (…) Find out what he thought of the exhibition and how he felt coming face to face with objects connected to a historical character he knows so well.
Finally re-united, Andrew Gower and Stephen Walters posted this video on Twitter to thank their fans with their very own version of the popular Beatles song “Don’t let me down” for the continued support of their “passion project” Humpty Dumpty on Kickstarter. The campaign reached an amazing £15,000 recently.
The Kickstarter page will remain open until 8 July 2017 and please keep tweeting and re-tweeting the link! More support, financially and by sharing the link on Social Media will be a “huge help” to Andrew and Stephen and their micro-budget film!
Outlander Podcast features Andrew Gower in their episode 156 talking with him about all things Outlander, his character Bonnie Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the upcoming ScotCon.
Andrew’s part covers approx. the first 20mins of the programme.
[Update: Andrew’s appearance at ScotCon was eventually cancelled.]
In this episode, we share our interviews with Outlander composer, Bear McCreary, as well as our very own Bonnie Prince Charlie, Andrew Gower, and learn more about the upcoming ScotCon. We also wrap up our San Diego Comic Con redux and chat with Star Trek’s Jason Matthew Smith and Sharknado 4’s Caroline Williams.
Here’s another interview with Andrew Gower about playing Winston Smith in 1984 and what tempted him to take on the part. Being Human and Outlander (and their loyal fanbases) get a notable mention, too.
You’ve done some beloved dramas, like Being Human and Outlander. What’s the fan response been like?
Yes, both Being Human and Outlander are known for their loyal fanbases. The beauty of both of those jobs was that the characters were very removed from me. So I’ve been lucky to get off scot-free, without any strange encounters. The wigs, blood and strange onscreen faces/voices – they haven’t found their way into my day-to-day life. Yet.
You graduated from drama school [the Oxford School of Drama] six years ago but are only now making your West End debut.
Yeah, which is funny because when I left drama school, I always envisaged that my career would be on stage; I never saw it going down the route of TV and film, so for this to be only my third theater job and in something so incredible and illustrious is really amazing.
Only one week away from the big Outlander season 2 finale, Yahoo Entertainment “tracked [Andrew] Gower down by phone in England — where he is doing a play and was on his merry way to get a haircut — to ask about all things Bonnie, from wigs and catchphrase drinking games to how he researched the role and his favorite scenes.”
Andrew (who Sam Heughan has praised, calling him “magnificent in the role”) hit the books before slipping on the salmon-colored silk coat of his “Outlander” character, diving deeply into the details, all the way down to the accent. In a new interview, he told Access Hollywood more about his preparation for the role, and offered insight into his character’s tearful reaction after the loss of the cargo in Saturday night’s episode.
A video of the making of “The Return of Sherlock”, the episode in season 7 of Murdoch Mysteries in which Andrew Gower reprises his role as Sherlock Holmes, has been added to the CBC website.
Infamous detective Sherlock Holmes finds himself entwined in another of Murdoch’s cases this season. Writer Carol Hay talks about why they brought him back into Murdoch’s world, and returning actor Andrew Gower offers insights into how he prepared to play such a beloved icon the second time around.
Damien Molony has been interviewed by Spotlight about his nomination for the prize in 2011 and his career since then. There are a couple of questions about Andrew Gower and their work together on Being Human:
Did Andrew Gower [2010 Spotlight Prize winner] try to give you any tips?
We didn’t actually shoot anything together until episode seven so we didn’t really talk about it that much. He used to give me encouragement and I would try and do the same because I think he is absolutely amazing, a brilliant actor. He goes into so much depth with his preparation. I learnt a lot from just watching him rather than him teaching me.
Mark Gatiss has been interviewed by EW.com about the finale of Being Human season 4, “War Child”. It’s a great little interview, made all the better by the question about the trailer:
Can you explain why he’s rubbing Cutler’s face in the preview?
Because I wanted to. I said to Andrew [Gower], “I just got an idea. I should run my hand down your face and stick my finger into your mouth. Is that alright?” And he said, “Yeah, whatever you like.” So I did it. What I like about it is it’s so invasive. First of all, he has those filthy fingernails. I thought, he regards this man as less than the dirt on his shoes and he should just show it. It’s also slightly pervy. I enjoyed that.
The Liverpool Echo have published a long interview with Andrew following the screening of the first episode of Monroe and previewing next month’s Frankenstein’s Wedding. It also covers his life in Liverpool before he left to attend the Oxford School of Drama, and Andrew talks about his love for The Beatles and his music project Emerson.