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Valentine & Marcus

Valentine and Marcus has the first multi-guest session and settled down quickly into the ribbing that was to be a feature of the weekend. Valentine said that he’d barely recognised Marcus, wondering who this suave man beside him was, as Marcus had entered the bar the previous evening looking for all the world the successful businessman. However, they had ben in touch, as Marcus had a habit of ringing Valentine from the noisiest bar in Germany, so that Val could hear him, but Marcus could never hear his replies. Marcus had passed his exams and the Paramedic of the Apocalypse has been serving in ambulances since January. he said that he would soon be training to work in the helicopter ambulance as well. Over the last 12 months, Marcus has worked for Ken Gord again on an episode of a programme called “Dark World” and has a new musical project involving an orchestra, although he didn’t get too specific about that. Val said that the most memorable thing in the year was the birth of his son, Jude. He spoke of being asked to go back to Highlander and thought it meant the return of Kronos and was surprised when it was another character. He joked that, after his problems getting a visa for Canada for Comes A Horseman, he got a visa much quicker this time and felt that the Embassy staff must have seen the episodes and recognised him! He has started working on a British soap on Channel 5 called Family Affairs. He was tight-lipped about his character and the storylines, but his episodes start broadcasting in March and he’s committed to filming until April. He felt that he had avoided typecasting - although his two years prior to Highlander had a definite period theme, with work on First Knight, Cadfael and Ivanhoe, he has since done more modern stuff with Mortimer’s Law and What Rats Won’t Do. He joked that the French Highlander crew had trouble saying “Bronze Age” and slurred it together as “bronzage”, which means “suntan” in French!

Asked if they would work together again, Marcus smiled evilly and said “never again”. Asked who they would like to work with, Marcus said “Steven”, leaving us to work out who he meant. Val repeated his admiration for Kevin Kline, although he had recently seen Boogie Nights and thought it was the best film he had seen in a long time. Donna Lettow asked a question sent by Mark Ryan via Gillian Horvath about a camel in Robin of Sherwood. Val seemed nonplussed, but knew what was meant. He spoke of the way in which the television camera fools the eye - why go to Arabia when you can hire a camel, two vultures, pitch a tent on Weston-Super-Mare sands and overexpose the film? Val had two on-screen fights with Mark Ryan during his episode of Robin of Sherwood and later worked with him again when Mark was an assistant sword master on First Knight.

Marcus told a story about how he worked in ambulances during his year of civil service in Austria, finding himself trapped one night with an old woman who propositioned the young Testory. Val said that his drama teacher had once told him that if you stand on the corner of the Earls Court Road in London, you would see all the world pass you by. Val quipped that he had never seen Marcus when he was stood there. Asked how he felt about conventions as an actor, Val said that he found them different, but scary. He spoke to his friend Peter (“Dr Who”) Davison before agreeing to appear at Chronicles last year and Peter had told him it was great fun. He might have appeared confident at Manchester, but he said we hadn’t seen how nervous he was as he was waiting to go on, to which Marcus chuckled and said “I did!”. He said the convention at Anaheim had still been a shock.

Val said that the bonding between the Horsemen was unusual for actors, in his experience. Richard Ridings had found an Irish bar in Bordeaux on his day off and the four of them had gathered after filming in the “Conomara Institute for Drinking Beer.” On auditioning, Val said that Marcus’ audition had been atypical, but that he had auditioned in the usual way. Highlander was a little different from the norm, in that you usually met the director at the audition and they would invite you back to read if they liked you. For Highlander, he had been given three sides of script as he arrived and decided to do what he wanted, as there was only the casting director and the camera operator there. Asked if he was more comfortable with eccentric roles, he said if the writing’s good, it doesn't matter if they’re eccentric or not. He said that, when filming Cadfael, the actor playing his servant was Hungarian and struggled to pronounce Val’s character’s name, Everard Botterill. In one scene, he sounded so much like Eccles, (from the British radio series The Goons), that Val cracked up and fell out of bed. On other characters, he found playing DeBracy from Ivanhoe interesting, as he was a baddie with a conscience, and he did a lot of research for playing Shelley, whereas he needed to do none for Kronos, as it was all in the script and he didn’t have any time between casting and filming.

On working with the Horsemen, Val could think of nothing bad, although, (after some thought), Marcus was able to comment that they always left him alone in the bar at 5.00am in the morning, to which Valentine replied that Marcus normally wasn’t in his own hotel at that stage! On future work, Marcus said there’s a possibility he’ll be doing a musical in the future, whereas Valentine said that his priority lies with working closer to home for at least the next year, hence his involvement in the soap.

Next... Stan Kirsch