Un Bore Mercher and its English version Keeping Faith has been Welsh TV’s most recent runaway success. With a new series kicking off, Carl Marsh chats to the show’s Bradley Freegard, who plays Evan.
In the opening episode of season two’s Un Bore Mercher, your character receives a headbutt from your character’s wife Faith [played by Bradley Freegard’s real-life wife Eve Myles]. Did you send Eve lots of chocolates and flowers in the days building up to that scene so that she would go easy on you?
Haha! Of course not, I trust her implicitly. You know what, Eve is and always has been really very good at anything to do with stunts and physicality that the job requires. If you go back to her Torchwood days, she did all of her own stunts.
How many times did it take to shoot that scene, was it just one take or many?
What happens is you rehearse it with a fight coordinator to make sure everyone knows exactly what they are doing, and you rehearse it at a snail’s pace. You slow it down roughly 100%, so it’s really slow so that everyone can judge precisely how close everything is going to be. It’s kind of a technical exercise really, choreographed like a dance: “this shouldn’t go there” and “that has to be there”; “you should do this” and “this leg goes there”.
Everything is choreographed carefully, and then slowly and gradually, you start building up the speed without any emotion at all, until it is up to pace. Then you can put some emotion into it, but obviously, with the amount of emotion we put into that scene, the first assistant director had said that we have three attempts at this because actors start to get fatigued, and that’s when accidents can happen.
So we had three goes at it as that’s all we had, and luckily I think we managed to get something that we were really after and it was quite shocking really. We were lucky to have a live audience watch the opening episode at the premiere. There was an audible gasp in the cinema that evening, which was lovely to hear.
What attracted you to the role of Evan in the first place?
Any role in that production, I was attracted to – I was lucky enough to have read the scripts in the form that they were in a very long time ago. Now when Eve was first approached to play the role, I thought, “wow, what a fantastic opportunity to be a part of this production”.
Didn’t you audition initially as the part of Steve, the ex-criminal who befriends Faith?
I did, much the same as the other actors that were up for the roles in it – I just auditioned and then I was offered the role of Evan. I was absolutely over the moon, and even more now that he has returned in season two.
How does it compare to acting opposite your real wife, compared to other actors that you are not married to. Is it hard mentally separating real-life with the fiction of acting work?
It’s a strange one. You have to compartmentalise, as the onscreen and offscreen relationship has absolutely no bearing on each other. It’s fiction, it’s drama, and we are there to do a job. The advantages are obvious with the fact that Eve and I have known each other such a long time: we first met when we were 16, and we’ve been together 20 years, married for six.
So yes, we know each other very well and have a shorthand when it comes to being able to read each other, as you do with anybody that you have a long-term relationship with – whether that be your wife or your best mate, you know that person, so you’re very comfortable in their presence. Something that happened in the series that we wanted to explore was the silences between married couples, and having the confidence to play those silences and pauses.
Un Bore Mercher is currently screening weekly on S4C and is available on iPlayer. Keeping Faith will be on BBC later this year.