Bradley James

Bradley James

Bradley James has shot to fame in the last couple of years after taking on the role of Prince Arthur in the hit BBC show Merlin, season three can currently be seen on a Saturday evening.

I caught up with the actor to talk about his role and where the character is going over the new series and in the future.

- Season 3 of Merlin has just hit our TV screens so what can we expect from the new show?

Knights! I’m very happy about this Arthur have finally got some friends who don’t die within an episode, they are coming up so look out for those.

- It is the third season of the show so what was about the character of Arthur and the script that originally drew you to the project.

I think the legend of King Arthur is huge and engrained in the national psych from a young age but when I read the script for the first time I was aware that our Arthur is so completely very different from the one of legend so that made it an interesting journey.

For an actor it was quite good because you are challenged to start off from somewhere that is completely in the opposite direction to the character that everyone is seemingly very familiar with. 

- That leads me into my next question really the story of Arthur has been told many times over the years so what is it about this particular interpretation that makes him unique?

Well we have significantly butchered the legend, we are by no means a definitive telling of it, and I think once audiences accept that. It’s all myths and legends and I think that that does give you permission to mess around with it, or at least I think it does.

Also getting leeway when I was developing the character and what I wanted to do with it there just wasn’t a set way of doing it, other than knowing where he was going to end up going.

So there are so many elements that we have twisted and tweaked for out own convenience for the show but I think it works well for Saturday night escapism.

- And what do you think about his relationship with hits father Uther, it’s something that we have never seen before?

Uther has never been alive in any other telling of the story and I think that it completely changes the dynamic of a person if you suddenly… in every legend he has grown up without parents as such and he was also brought up in humble beginnings as well.

So to change that and have him become a prince and give him a tyrant of a role model to bring him up it naturally has quite a huge effect on the person and who they become.

And so Arthur suddenly started off the show as a little bit stunted in his ways.

- And how are we going to see Arthur's character develop through this third season?

I think Arthur’s development as a character has to be the most gradual through the course of the show, largely because the show is following Merlin trying to get Arthur to fulfil his destiny so you have to see that progression to become king.

We are in season three now and I think if you look at a five series thing, and we are mid way through season three now, you are starting to see some signs of kingly behaviour in this series.

- I believe that you have just finished filming the end of the season so can you talk about the filming process?

Well we have just finished actually, it finished on Friday; and I think everyone is pleased because it’s been about eight months it’s a very long shoot and everyone works very hard. So everyone is quite pleased to just have a break.

But there’s a great atmosphere on set and everyone does seem to have a good time and works very hard as well so it’s always nice to come back to that at the beginning of each year.

- We see you horse-riding and sword fighting through out all three series of Merlin so what kind of preparation do you do before you begin filming and how much of that stunt work do you do?

I have been very lucky they have let me do most of the stunt work, there is a little bit of this and that which I don’t do; that tends to be because I’m filming somewhere else, but they have given me the chance to learn all of these different things such as sword fighting and horse riding, it’s a great part of the job.

- Is that an aspect of the shoot that you enjoy?

Oh it’s a lot of fun and I always look forward to when the sword fights come around, it’s effectively why they hired me for; to swing a sword around, but I always look forward to seeing a sword fight come up in the script.

And now it seemingly getting more detailed when we do a fight as we learn how to do certain things as well as learnt what works and what has not. So that has progressed as well which makes it more enjoyable.

- The relationship between Arthur and Merlin is the central relationship so how are we going to see that grow in season three, and how do you find working with Colin Morgan?

I really enjoy working with Colin because he is a very creative and very funny guy, once you get in tune with his bizarre sense of humour. We spend a hell of a lot of time together so it’s good job that we do get on so well because I think it really helps when we get on set.

I think we were both kind of aware of the importance of the relationship when we started the show so I’m lucky to be working with a guy like Colin because when you do get to those scenes you find yourself enjoying them as you are working with your mat rather than a work colleague.

- The story of Arthur always includes Guinevere can you hint at where their relationship is heading?

Well I think that the difficulty with that is we all know where it’s going to go and it’s that balancing act of not boring an audience really by drawn it out too much.

Hopefully the story will keep the wolves at bay so to speak for long enough to draw it out, but I think that they are going to milk that one for a while.

- I want to see them get together.

There you go that’s, I think, it what the producers are trying to do get that reaction from people.

- And what about working alongside Richard Wilson and Anthony Head?

It’s been a terrific learning curve as they are both very experienced actors as well as very warm and friendly people and if you ever need help with anything they are more than happy to provide you with that help.

Although I thin kit’s time to kill off Anthony now, let’s face it Arthur can’t be a prince forever.

- Yeah it’s about time Arthur was king.

Exactly I think that they have been milking this whole Uther thing, he is lucky has got this far really he shouldn’t have been around in the first place (laughs).  I think it’s time to give him the elbow.

- I was reading that when you were younger you either wanted to be a footballer or an actor so what made you take the acting path?

This has been written down somewhere and everyone has got hold of it and run with it but it was always about being an actor for me and football, I love playing football, is a form of escapism for me.

I sort of got to the stage of playing football and I suppose there is a certain level that you get to and it stops being about enjoying playing and it becomes quite serious and you have to work hard at it, and I just loved the enjoyment I got out of it and I never wanted to turn it into something I had to work hard to do.

Where as acting the craft that is involved with it interested me more than running around a football field so it was always about acting really.

- You have really broken through with Merlin so it must be an exciting time for you?

It’s busy, we may have finished filming but I don’t have a minute to myself at the moment. The main priority over the next few weeks is getting away on holiday and getting a bit of a break.

But it’s fantastic to be involved in a show that seems to be doing quite well and hopefully it opens up doors to many other things.

- There were also rumours that you were appearing in Hellcats and 90210 is that true?

You are the second person to tell me this, what is Hellcats?

- I have no idea

I have no idea where that has come from and know nothing about it; I would be interested to know who started that rumour.

- Finally what's next for you?

That’s a good question! I suppose like any actor you muddle your way through and see what comes up if there is a project that comes up before the next season of Merlin, I think we are going ahead and doing, yeah by all means it would be great to try something different.

But as I say I’m looking forward to a bit of a break, perhaps a beach.

Merlin Series 3 Volume 1, is out now on DVD!

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

Bradley James has shot to fame in the last couple of years after taking on the role of Prince Arthur in the hit BBC show Merlin, season three can currently be seen on a Saturday evening.

I caught up with the actor to talk about his role and where the character is going over the new series and in the future.

- Season 3 of Merlin has just hit our TV screens so what can we expect from the new show?

Knights! I’m very happy about this Arthur have finally got some friends who don’t die within an episode, they are coming up so look out for those.

- It is the third season of the show so what was about the character of Arthur and the script that originally drew you to the project.

I think the legend of King Arthur is huge and engrained in the national psych from a young age but when I read the script for the first time I was aware that our Arthur is so completely very different from the one of legend so that made it an interesting journey.

For an actor it was quite good because you are challenged to start off from somewhere that is completely in the opposite direction to the character that everyone is seemingly very familiar with. 

- That leads me into my next question really the story of Arthur has been told many times over the years so what is it about this particular interpretation that makes him unique?

Well we have significantly butchered the legend, we are by no means a definitive telling of it, and I think once audiences accept that. It’s all myths and legends and I think that that does give you permission to mess around with it, or at least I think it does.

Also getting leeway when I was developing the character and what I wanted to do with it there just wasn’t a set way of doing it, other than knowing where he was going to end up going.

So there are so many elements that we have twisted and tweaked for out own convenience for the show but I think it works well for Saturday night escapism.

- And what do you think about his relationship with hits father Uther, it’s something that we have never seen before?

Uther has never been alive in any other telling of the story and I think that it completely changes the dynamic of a person if you suddenly… in every legend he has grown up without parents as such and he was also brought up in humble beginnings as well.

So to change that and have him become a prince and give him a tyrant of a role model to bring him up it naturally has quite a huge effect on the person and who they become.

And so Arthur suddenly started off the show as a little bit stunted in his ways.

- And how are we going to see Arthur's character develop through this third season?

I think Arthur’s development as a character has to be the most gradual through the course of the show, largely because the show is following Merlin trying to get Arthur to fulfil his destiny so you have to see that progression to become king.

We are in season three now and I think if you look at a five series thing, and we are mid way through season three now, you are starting to see some signs of kingly behaviour in this series.

- I believe that you have just finished filming the end of the season so can you talk about the filming process?

Well we have just finished actually, it finished on Friday; and I think everyone is pleased because it’s been about eight months it’s a very long shoot and everyone works very hard. So everyone is quite pleased to just have a break.

But there’s a great atmosphere on set and everyone does seem to have a good time and works very hard as well so it’s always nice to come back to that at the beginning of each year.

- We see you horse-riding and sword fighting through out all three series of Merlin so what kind of preparation do you do before you begin filming and how much of that stunt work do you do?

I have been very lucky they have let me do most of the stunt work, there is a little bit of this and that which I don’t do; that tends to be because I’m filming somewhere else, but they have given me the chance to learn all of these different things such as sword fighting and horse riding, it’s a great part of the job.

- Is that an aspect of the shoot that you enjoy?

Oh it’s a lot of fun and I always look forward to when the sword fights come around, it’s effectively why they hired me for; to swing a sword around, but I always look forward to seeing a sword fight come up in the script.


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  1. by SnazzyO 15th Nov 2010 12:28

    Any update on whether or not he's found work during hiatus?

    Looking forward to the last three episodes of Merlin this year. They look fantastic.

  2. by Anja 15th Nov 2010 17:48

    "Well I think that the difficulty with that is we all know where it’s going to go"

    Indeed, Bradley. She cheats on him with Lancelot which brings about the downfall of Arthur and hi... Read More

  3. by ChelChel 16th Nov 2010 01:20

    Interesting interview. As my mum would say, what a nice young man. I'm hoping they cover the part of the legend when Gwen runs off with Lancelot, that should provide some lovely heartbr... Read More

  4. by Suzy 17th Nov 2010 02:52

    Can't wait for the last 2 episodes of season 3, LANCELOT & GWINE are BACK (thats what I've read anyway), two FIT knights to return, Arthur and his knights, can't wait, it will be Awesom... Read More