Getting a job on ‘Arthur of the Britons’
By a series of total coincidences, (mainly running low on money in Bristol, England) I heard Harlech TV was having open casting sessions for the extras for the townspeople [for “Arthur of the Britons.”]
I got it, and worked 6 days a week until the end of the series. For me it was a paid graduate school, with plenty of time to watch the different methods of the rotating directors, and some very good character actors to bolster roster.
Gerry is the extra standing in the middle of the picture, immediately below Oliver Tobias (Arthur). ( Read more... )Atmosphere on set
It seemed like there was much pressure to hit the short deadlines for a quick turn-around. The filming was extremely well organized and all the crew and actors created a friendly but always moving forward atmosphere.
… I remember hearing that was sometimes a B crew shooting cutaways and other footage at different locations to help keep things moving. It seemed to me that they were trying to keep to filming one a week and having a B Unit get any extra coverage needed to keep the pace up ...( Read more... )The cast
It was openly acknowledged that Michael Gothard added quality to the series and he was hired to bring up professional acting level. The word was that the producers were worried a bit that the young star, Oliver Tobias, was too new, and not that experienced, although … Tobias did a really good job as it turned out.
On set Oliver was always the most quiet of the three main characters. As the lead, he had the biggest responsibility and he was the youngest. While waiting, he seemed to keep it very serious. He was always very courteous to everyone. It was my impression that the three lead actors liked each other very much. ( Read more... )Stunts
From the parts that I observed it was always Oliver and Michael doing everything without stuntmen. When there was a group of riders I believe some of those others were stuntmen. Oliver and Michael were always doing their own riding from the parts I could observe. They both were very good at it.
I don't recall any stunt people standing in for either of them. For that matter, extras would get an extra £2 for the day if they were involved in something like that. I remember once Blessed had to rampage through the village knocking people out of his way, the director picked me to be thrown by him over his shoulder, and that take was done at least five or six times. Getting to know Michael
Having already worked in TV in NY before I left, I already knew to never bother the actors; they need their space to think about their lines, get into the character, etc. Always wait until spoken to and stay on business unless someone else brings up another topic.
But somehow, Michael Gothard began talking with me, and found out I had just been travelling about Europe, much as he did some years earlier. During that period, we hit the pubs a few times.” ( Read more... )On Michael and his girlfriend
In “Some Saxon Women” I am in quite a few shots, but more interestingly there are good shots of the young woman that Michael was seeing ... at the scene starting at 7:00 where the two men look over the Saxon women that are chained up. ( Read more... )On Michael
It was a time of discovery for people willing to travel to really delve into a culture and take risks. I think "La Vallee" expresses that for Michael, and he liked that film very much.
As an example of this, Michael was different than, let’s say, Oliver Tobias or Brian Blessed. One small example would be that the latter two would never talk with extras …( Read more... )In conclusion
When I put the first DVD episode on I was very happy to see that it really was a great show. It was also sad to think that Michael Gothard left this life far too soon …
It is amazing how popular and long lasting ‘Arthur of the Britons’ has been. Many of the Brits and Aussies that I have known here in the US remember the show very fondly and vividly. It is an incredible testament to the actors, writers, producers, etc.* with regard to Brian Blessed:
I (Joya) met Brian Blessed on 23/10/2011, talked to him about 'Arthur of the Britons', and showed him some pictures of us dedicating a tree to Michael.
Brian hadn't been aware that Michael had died: hardly surprising he missed the news, given how little coverage it got at the time. I told Brian that Michael had killed himself in 1992. He became serious, and said that he was sorry, and that Michael had been depressed when he knew him, and that Michael had confided in him over some of his problems.
It seems possible that, as someone who already knew Michael, and seems to have considered him a friend, Brian's disapproval of the extras getting a ride in the stars’ car was due to the suspicion that these extras were just taking advantage of Michael.
When I suggested this to Gerry, he agreed that it was possible.