Because one half of it wasn’t enough for one weekend. Let the fuckery continue down below:
Publius Cascana – Paul McGann
Given my intense childhood interests, to be honest, I’m surprised that there aren’t more stars from the Whoniverse on this list. Not-Withnail was in fact someone who ran through my head for a host of other characters (Ignatian, Urbanus, Thracian) but I think I’ve definitely made the right call for him as Publius here – his Byronic charisma and self-belief would be the perfect foil to Con’s dour streetwise pragmatism. And for a man with tones as exquisitely velveteen as Paul’s, a character who loves the sound of their own voice as much as Publius does is the perfect match. Plus, in terms of looks, you could easily picture him fathering Luke Norris, so there’s that.
Bydreth ap Uîth – Ken Leung
A choice that will probably surprise people as much as it did me, but I’m standing by it nonetheless. I struggled for a while to put a face to Bydreth’s easy, effortless magnetism as a character – someone who the plot pivots around as much as it does for Orbus – but when I think back to Ken’s performance as Eric Tao in Industry, I’m honestly struggling to picture anyone else. His performance was just so light, dancing the line between charisma and mania so well, and I could honestly him playing the Ulthaini’s charming leader and Orbus’ red right hand with aplomb.
Brauda ap Uîth – Tom Burke
In stark contrast to his cousin, Tom was someone who I found came very naturally to Brauda (albeit after flip-flopping a little on having him for Vinculex instead). Another fella who’s played a lot of range over a lot of interesting roles, though admittedly the major factor behind his inclusion here is his turn as Athos in The Musketeers; jaded, world-weary, stoic, self-destructive but still undeniably noble, Tom would be the perfect other side to Ken Leung’s more open and flamboyant coin.
Molchis – Sean Pertwee
Again, not someone I had to try hard to imagine in the role at all. And another actor who seems to just crop up everywhere, doing something equally varied each time; but to me, personally, Sean just has that perfect mix of intensity and seediness while still remaining likeable enough throughout. People these days majorly know him from Gotham, but (showing my nerdy colours a bit here), his two defining roles for me are Ultramarines and the video game Fire Warrior.
Vinculex – Jerome Flynn
There’s no real mystery here, or long story. Ripper Street is one of my favourite shows of all time and it’s safe to say nobody does pain, torment and anguish quite like Jerome Flynn. If anything, it’s only really hit me during this blogpost how similar the two characters are, let alone actor and character; Bennett Drake might as well be Vinculex. (Also, if like me you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, please look up an interview to hear Jerome’s IRL voice and accent. It’s so different from Drake’s I nearly spat out my tea).
Gnaeus Ignatian – Stirling K Brown
Mr Brown here narrowly beat the likes of Alex Jennings, Richard E Grant and Anthony Head for the role – rather more conventional choices for a messianic villain character, you’ll probably agree. However, I just couldn’t picture any of them balancing Ignatian’s charismatic demagoguery with the relentless grit and hatred to pummel Orbus half to death in the final Chapter. I suspect most people will recognise Stirling from This Is Us – where he gets to show a lot of heart – but my favourite performances of his are Brooklyn 99 and Black Panther, both of which show off the mix of charisma, charm and moral ambiguity that I think Gnaeus Ignatian really needs.
Rufus Alvanus – Craig Parkinson
We’re straying into more minor characters here and this is mainly a tongue-in-cheek afterthought, but Craig is someone I pictured playing Rufus Alvanus from the bumbling Centurion’s very first scene in the Prologue. The character’s mix of coarseness and disarming chumminess – in short, a man who would happily stab you in the front with no hard feelings on either side – would mesh so well with Craig’s defining roles, firstly as the ineffable Dot in Line of Duty (in my opinion, the leading example that all other TV villain characters have to live up to) and his more domestic, but equally callous turn in Life And Death In The Warehouse. I can just imagine him casually sentencing me to the Tarpeian Rock, while still somehow convincing me that it’s nothing personal, mate, just business. And then rocking back up to the Forum for a pint, conscience clear.
And There We Have It…
So, congratulations on following this deep-dive into my creative process that literally no-one asked for, and will most likely never be relevant. As I said in the first half, if anything, it’s been a slightly novel way for me to think about the characters in a new light, giving me food for thought for how I play with them in Book II. The ones that live that far, anyway. Ken, Daniel, if you ever read this… sorry.
But still. What a wonderfully creative waste of time. This is actually the most I’ve blogged in a month since… last summer, I think.
Now off you pop.