John on Frost Over the World:
John on GMTV:
An excerpt from an interview with Digital Spy:
What attracted you to Spartacus?
"As an actor it was completely different from everything else I'd done, in terms of the content and in terms of the character. It was nearer theatre than any kind of contemporary TV that I'd done, and I think the American cable channels have been doing some fantastic work recently with things like Rome, The Sopranos and Deadwood and stuff like that. It's very much in that kind of range. So it was a no-brainer really. Once I'd read the script I was desperate to do it."
Can you explain a little bit about your character Batiatus?
"Historically the lanistas [gladiator managers] were looked down upon by society while being deeply revered, in the way that football managers are. A little bit like brothel keepers, they were sort of needed but you would not necessarily want to be seen with them in daylight. Like second-hand car salesmen, once they do well enough these guys want to become a little bit more establishment. As the show develops, Batiatus does start seeking higher positions. And he'll do anything to get there. He's incredibly manipulative, incredibly evil. At the same time, he's also a nice guy - he's trying to have a kid with his missus and he wants to have a family and all of that, but he'll think nothing of killing competitors and getting rid of them in any way that's required for him to get on."
You're well-known for your roles in romantic comedies. Do you think people will be surprised by your role in this show?
"I hope so. I'm sure people are savvy enough these days to realise that actors as individuals would like to do different things in the same way that they don't want to see the same people doing the same things all the time. And also just as a TV viewer myself I'm kind of bored with the same kind of things being on TV. This is something incredibly different-looking, incredibly different in content. And I think that's why it's been such a hit. I think the TV-watching public in this country are sick of everything being a bit soapy, a bit detectivey. Lawyers and doctors and hospitals and pubs..." [Catriona Wightman]