Nathaniel Parker (‘Merlin’) interview

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A fourth series of BBC One’s fantasy drama Merlin is currently filming and is set to air this autumn, with Nathaniel Parker joining the cast as Arthur’s uncle, Agravaine.

Best known for his leading role in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, the actor was also appeared in The Chronicles Of Narnia, Stardust, Injustice and Bleak House.

> Order the Series 4 Volume 1 DVD on Amazon.

CultBox caught up with Nathaniel recently and asked him questions sent in to us by fans on Twitter…

@xTeacherTx asks: As Arthur’s Uncle, what sort of character is Agravaine?

“Agravaine is not necessarily a good person. He’s pretty much a baddy. Yeah, he’s a baddy. That’s not really spoiling anything because you find that out within 20 minutes of the first episode he’s in.

“I think in mythology terms he was Arthur’s nephew, but we’re playing him as Arthur’s uncle and that brings a presence to the court as Arthur grows older and things happen for him. I become his problem really. I’m a rather dark and mysterious character in the background quite a lot. But yes, it’s a good part to play; it’s good fun. I’m not used to being used like this in a series; it’s a good lesson for me.”

@scaramango asks: Will Agravaine “replace” Anthony head’s character, Uther?

“Well, I can’t answer that! Everyone will go ‘oh, you mean he’s dead!’, but at some point I guess Arthur has to become King. But yes, that’s exactly what I do!”

@DrMer asks: Is Agravaine a regular character and how many episodes will you appear in?

“Yep, all 13 episodes this year and we’re carrying on shooting until October. We’ve been going for a couple of months already, jetting between Cardiff and wherever the hell I am now – in the Brecon Beacons nearly I think – and France and the Forest Of Dean. It’s very exciting, it’s fun!

“It’s always hard to know what they’re planning and what else is coming up, but I’m always open for talks to return [beyond Series 4].”

@CamelotCast asks: Did you watch Merlin before you got the part?

“I did, yeah, I think I’d watched every episode! As opposed to Injustice, it’s rather nice to be doing something I know my daughters can watch.”

@xxMerlinLoverxx asks: What have the cast been like to work with?

“I have two problems with them really. One is that they’re much younger than me and the other is that they’re much fitter than me!

“It is easy when you’ve got a cast who are as well glued together as this and a crew this confident. You find yourself working on the same page all the time. It could be quite difficult coming in, particularly as an elder statesman, as somebody who has a lot more experience than some of these boys, but they’ve all made it so easy.”

@scaramango asks: What has been the most exciting thing about filming the show?

“I haven’t done much fighting yet, but I do quite a lot of horse riding, when I’m not skulking around. I love riding. I had a lovely Spanish stallion in France who was five years old and had only been ridden for about a month before I got there, so he was very frisky. That was always quite exciting, trying to dodge the holes in the ground! They don’t let us do anything too dangerous though.”

@scaramango asks: What are Agravaine’s motives for coming to Camelot?

“Well, my sister was Arthur’s mother, so I feel that I have a slight claim to the throne. Agravaine is an interesting, slightly controlling character, who wants to have his cake and eat it – which I think is quite reasonable, I’ve never understood that phrase. Who wants to have a cake and not eat it?”

@davidgpearce asks: Who do you enjoy acting opposite?

“On my very first day, I had a lot of scenes with Richard Wilson and Tony Head and Angel Coulby – I just laughed almost the whole day. I had such a fantastic day; I think it was one of my favourite days filming ever.”

@MistOfCamelot asks: What’s it like filming at Pierrefonds in France?

“It’s beautiful, a bit chocolate box-ish! Somehow we’ve managed to get all these extraordinary locations. Sometimes when I’ve watched them on telly I’ve always thought they must be fake, but they’re very real.

“It’s a bit like with Doctor Who, which is shot a few warehouses along from us in Wales; the art department are just superb. We’re shooting on proper film, 35mm, which I feel had stopped on television in this country, but that’s great.”

@hannahXmusic asks: In the legend, Agravaine doesn’t have a very good relationship with Guinevere. Is this the same with your version?

“Hmm, not really. There’s hints. Luckily we’re allowed to stretch the legend a little. After all, it is only legend.”

@davidgpearce asks: How does your character affect Camelot as a whole?

“Well, he’s Arthur’s uncle and as such he has to be respected by the Knights and everyone. This gives him a position of power within Camelot itself which is quite an advantage for him.”

Are there any other TV shows which you’re a fan of that you’d like to guest star in?

“Loads, yeah, Doctor Who for a start! I know we’re meant to be bitter rivals, but we’re not at all. I’m a big fan of that, I absolutely adore it. I’d play anything – I’ll be the girl, I’m quite happy to be the girl.”

> Buy the Series 3 boxset on Amazon.

Watch the BBC’s new ‘Original British Drama’ trailer, featuring clips from Series 4…