Actor takes on gritty crime role
1:40pm Sunday 6th January 2013 in News
A crime series with a difference features a local actor in a gritty new role.
Instead of modern-day forensic investigations, jaded police detectives and deskbound officers complaining about paperwork, Ripper Street offers a trio committed to uncovering the perpetrators of heinous Victorian crimes – using whatever means available to them.
It’s set in London in the wake of Jack The Ripper’s final crime, which hangs over the city like an unwelcome shadow, and is incredibly dark, violent and disturbing.
Yet, despite all that, it still manages to have some lighter moments, thanks in part to the charisma of the three leads – Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg.
Jerome Flynn, who has a base near St Davids, is the brawn of the outfit.
The former Soldier Soldier actor is unlike he has ever been seen before as he takes on a gritty role as bruiser Bennett Drake, a police sergeant who often lets his fists do the talking.
“People have called him a bit of a pit bull but I think that’s unfair, myself. He’s more of a refined muscle head,” says Flynn.
The actor was delighted to be cast in the role, which he says he “felt a connection to” as soon as he started reading the script. Though he was not exactly fighting fit during the auditions.
“I’d been on an intense fasting retreat and was probably the scrawniest I’ve been since I was 14.
When they gave me the part they said, ‘Please get bigger!’”
His character is fairly unrelenting in his violence, and Flynn says that he wasn’t based on anyone in particular.
“I just went inside of some of my darker parts,” he jokes.
He even had to train for a few bouts in the ring.
“It was fun to be Raging Bull for a day, even if I say so myself.
"But no, I’m not comparing myself to Jake La Motta, but it was just great. I guess it’s probably a bit of a fantasy for a few actors. Early on I got my head stuck under a very heavy stuntman, and cricked my neck which made it difficult.
"But I battled through so the boxing was fun.” he says.
Flynn found the whole experience fascinating, and understands why people are still interested in the Jack The Ripper myth even now.
“It’s a constant cliffhanger and one which has never gone away,” he said.
● Ripper Street began on Sunday on BBC One and continues tonight (Sunday).