Further to our previous news, informing you that Peter Firth’s new five-part drama Mayday would air week commencing 2nd March, it is now confirmed to be airing on Sunday 3rd March and each consecutive night until Thursday 7th March. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure. I was looking forward to seeing Peter every week for a month or so, but instead we get five nights in a row. No doubt Facebook and Twitter will be full of comments on varying opinion.
While we wait those few short weeks until Mayday starts, we are pleased to be able to bring you the following interview with Peter Firth, where he talks about his new role in Mayday.
Can you tell us about Malcolm’s work in the community?
With Malcolm you’ve got a slightly patronising attitude towards the other people in the town because he thinks that he knows better than them. He certainly knows better about urban planning and how their lives should be ordered in terms of their structure of the buildings around them. Hence the new housing development he wants to build, and that must be very hurtful to him, to have permission refused. So there’ll be a revenge element there, getting your own back on a society that doesn’t want your best work.
Can you tell us a bit more about your character?
Malcolm is quite typical of many men who are trapped by circumstance. By that I mean the circumstances of his life and what has become of his life in middle age, which is very often for people a disappointment. Unfortunately at that point it’s often too late to do anything about it because people have either lost the will or the ability, physically and in their imagination, to change their life. So they get stuck in a less than idyllic domestic situation which clearly he is, and consequently they look for outlets and often those outlets are secret.
Would you say Malcolm resents his wife Gail for the way his life has turned out?
Resents is one word, but that’s a mild word I think, for she is his jailer, and often in those situations you’re in love with your jailer. I think that’s called the Stockholm syndrome. That exists not only in hostage situations, but also in domestic situations as well, and people are so in love / in hate, or in a loving/loathing relationship with their jailer. Gail is very much the keeper of Malcolm’s keys. Again, that’s when people will do things secretly and are able to have some outlets without them knowing about it.
You only had the first few scripts when filming started. Is it difficult to play a part when you don’t necessarily know the outcome?
It’s not difficult because that’s life. You don’t know the outcome of your life. You don’t know what the outcome of events will be, or what’s going to happen this afternoon or next week, and so there’s a truth to that. I just played it for the director who had several versions in mind on how it might turn out. I gave him several versions of every scene. That’s very much the case in film and TV – actors are not the prime movers, we’re very much just the paint to the director and the editor’s brush and canvas. We provide the colours but they make the strokes.
What made you want to play this role?
It was a bit of a departure for me, from what I’m mostly known for which is Spooks, so I felt this was a change. It’s always nice to put on different shoes. On the other hand nobody knows how you take your tea! So you have to go through all of the familiarity of the work situation. It’s always nice to have a change of course.
Thanks to the BBC for that great interview with Peter.
Let’s hope the next few weeks fly by quickly, and that Mayday, and more particularly Peter Firth’s character and role in the drama, is something spectacular to launch his post-Spooks career.