An Interview With Blood Star Ian-Lloyd Anderson
It was a show to get the country talking, bag writer Sophie Petzal a coveted Writers’ Guild Award, and transform Monday nights into the most nail-biting times of the week. Well, brace yourselves – because Blood is back!
The exhilarating series returns to Virgin Media One, Virgin TV 103, on Monday February 24th, and promises another dose of gripping and gritty drama to leave you in puddles of sweat. And while the likes of Adrian Dunbar and Grainne Keenan are present and correct, there’s a new name – but a familiar face – involved in the shape of Ian-Lloyd Anderson. We caught up with him for the new issue of PLAY Magazine to find out what’s in store…
Tell us all about your character...
I play Paul in the new season; he’s married to Fiona, one of Jim Hogan’s daughters. As you’ll know from the first season, she’s been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, and Paul is trying to keep the family together – planning for an eventual future without her. At the same time, he’s dealing with his own issues, with mental health and alcoholism. He feels the whole idea of having to raise two young kids on his own is a real uphill battle, so a huge amount of what we see is him struggling to keep some normality about his own life.
The first season was a huge success – how excited were you to be joining the show?
Oh, I was delighted! Myself and Adrian Dunbar worked together a few years ago; we did a play together called The Night Alive, toured with it, and have been friendly since that. I texted him when I had an idea I was going to get the part, and we were both so pleased. I’d worked with Gráinne Keenan, who plays Fiona, as well, so it was great to get stuck in and join the show. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s the sort of part that any actor would want.
Is that all down to the writing?
The scripts are so strong, and the story is so strong, that you just go in and serve it as best you can. It’s got all the ingredients; the writing is wonderful, Gráinne and Diarmuid and the rest are great actors, Adrian is a superstar… I don’t want to tempt fate, but it felt really special to make; I hope it looks just as good for the viewers!”
How does it feel, as an Irish actor, to have a show like this on our own shores?
I think any actor wants to do the best work they possibly can, and there’s no promise that it comes along quickly, or easily, or often. I did five years of Love/Hate and people now will still say “Oh, you were in that?!” But this was a great part, and a great opportunity, and when I first heard about it and started going after it I really didn’t want to let go. That’s special; you could end up looking back on a 50-year career and count on one hand the amount of jobs you really, really wanted. So when you get one, it makes it all the sweeter!”
It’s a show with a lot of darkness and tension – was there a bit of craic off-camera?
Loads – almost too much! I find it hard enough to look at Adrian Dunbar in a pub without smiling, so trying to do a serious scene with him is almost impossible. When the camera’s on him, he’ll keep a straight face – but when the camera’s on me it’s a different story! He’s a fun dude and a brilliant guy; a great actor, of course, but also a fella who keeps spirits up. On a show like this, that’s exactly what you need. There are moments that you have to dig in, too – but that’s just part of making it as good as it can be.
Love terrific telly? Find loads more of the season’s best in the new issue of PLAY Magazine right here!