Will Tudor whose talent is matched by skills as a true gentleman, brought the chill factor in Humans and captured the hearts of many a Game of Thrones fan as the barely dressed, Olyvar.
Now, no stranger to a challenge, Will is about to live his best sequin life playing national treasure, Christopher Dean in ITV’s Torvill and Dean which traces the rise of the iconic Olympic skating duo to sanctified Bolero babes. However so daunted by the pressure of the show being given a Christmas day TV slot, Will won’t be watching it with the rest of his family, “it’s very daunting,” he says, “I might see if they don’t mind watching it on catch up without me!”
But this might not be the last time we see Will Tudor on ice. Joking about partnering with the equally iconic Gemma Collins for the next series of Dancing on Ice, laughing Will replied with, “let’s call them up, now!” If Christmas miracles are real, please let this become reality.
As we prepare for an ample serving of lycra on our Christmas day screens, we caught up with the 31-year-old to discuss the weight of playing a national treasure and the equally pressurizing role: being a young man in the entertainment industry today…
How intense was the preparation for Torvill and Dean?
“We had three weeks training. It was a mixture of ice skating and actual rehearsals for the piece, as well. We were trained by Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland who are British Olympians, so we were really trained by the very best. It was a very busy start as I only found out I got the job three days before we started training so it was manic.”
Were there any ice-skating injuries?
“There were no injuries of such but there was a lot of falling over. My favourite one is where the toe pick gets caught in the ice and you end up scrabbling around, thinking you look really cool but instead you are flapping around like an idiot!”
But, Will, were you a natural on ice?
“It’s difficult to know as I had never ice skated before. I’ve always really liked characters which really delve into their movement so being able to use those skills was great. But I certainly wasn’t an immediate natural on the ice. It was very much back to basics and doing the technique of it, so we very much felt like penguins on the ice.”
What did you learn about dedication and determination from playing a professional athlete?
“What struck me during filming are the parallels between athletes and acting. The levels of dedication and sacrifice needed to hone a craft felt very familiar to me. You have a passion for the thing, such that it takes on such a central part of your life – that really struck a chord with me. I have the upmost respect for the people who do it as it can be very uncomfortable at times especially some of the injuries ice skaters go through.”
Torvill and Dean are national treasures but very little is known about their actual lives– what did you learnt about the division between public and private personas?
“What was really interesting was in the research we did, a majority of it would be watching the routines and then watching their interviews after the performances. In the interviews they were so shy, and, in the routines, they were so expressive – squaring that was difficult because of working out who they were behind all that. I felt you got the best sense of who they were from their routines. What is great about this story is we delve into how they came to work together and their personal relationship which people don’t really know about. They almost have this mythological status, really, because of how extraordinary talented they are.”
How much did you have with Torvill and Dean to prepare for the show?
“They were very involved with the script, basically from it’s very inception. But we have only just met them today, face to face, at a press launch for the show. We did have a FaceTime with them, a week into shooting. By this point we had already done so much research, so it felt really weird as you felt like you really knew them, already. They were so gracious, kind and they really wanted us to put our own spin on it. Which gave us so much creative freedom”
Are you leading a sassier, sequin-based life now, after playing an ice dancer?
“I am not sure! But I would say that the costumes are extraordinary in this piece. Getting to wear things that were from back to the seventies was amazing and there were some things you just can’t wear every day!”
Throughout the year I have been asking actresses what it is like to be a young woman in the entertainment industry but it’s equally important to raise that question with men. How do you feel as a young man in the industry at the end of 2018?
“I think these changes absolutely, of course, needed to happen. I think that I am just pleased that everyone is getting their due. Ultimately this job is difficult and it’s very easy for boundaries to be crossed. It’s so important, for that reason, that everyone feels comfortable in the work place. Even the last five years I have seen great strides in that direction for everyone. I am just so glad the conversation is being had.”
The treatment of masculinity on screen is changing - from the start of your career to now, what have you seen as the biggest change to the treatment of on-screen masculinity?
“That’s a really good question! The biggest difference I have seen is there is a greater and more diverse representation of what constitutes masculinity because actually there is such a huge spectrum that it should cover, and before it only covered a small percentage of that. What that does is it allows a lot more complexity. It’s a very interesting time for masculinity.”
As a fan favourite from Game of Thrones what is the weirdest example of fandom you have experienced?
“What I would say is how amazed I have been by the talent of the fandom – especially the art work they produce. It’s lovely to feel you were part of something that means a lot to people and has been taken to people’s hearts.”
Torvill and Dean is on ITV at 9.15pm, Christmas Day