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Roles worlds apart.

Byline: By Gordon Barr

He's just been seen in Midsomer Murders. Now David Bradley, once a regular in the RSC Newcastle seasons, is returning to the city after a 10-year break. Showbusiness Reporter Gordon Barr catches up with him

Millions of TV viewers saw RSC actor David Bradley become one with nature at the weekend.

He played the title character in the Midsomer Murders episode The Green Man, playing a tramp who lived in the woods.

The episode looks set to give the occasional series one of its best viewing figures to date, as it marked the demise of one of its stars, Daniel Casey.

But, for Bradley, who plays Titus Andronicus in the RSC season about to arrive in Newcastle, viewing figures were the furthest thing from his mind when shooting his scenes.

His closest co-star in the episode was a fox. "And no matter how well-trained they are, you are never going to tame a fox completely," says the veteran actor.

"I suppose he was as near to tamed as you could get. I had to bond with him as closely as I could, but no matter how much time they have spent in captivity, they're still wild animals.

"You can't get them to move to a specific place unless tempted by food. It was all very cleverly shot to make it look like the animal had befriended him."

Asked if he was worried about being bitten by a fox, Bradley quickly replies: "I think he probably thought I was going to bite him! But I admit I was a bit nervous until I got used to him being around.

"It was all perfectly safe, though."

Titus Andronicus will close the Royal Shakespeare Company season, which arrives in Toon on November 17.

It's Bradley's first time with the RSC in 10 years, having once been a regular performer with the company and he was in Newcastle for its first-ever season there.

More recently he's been back to the region in his role as Filch in the blockbusting Harry Potter movies.

"We filmed up in Alnwick Castle, it was great fun," he recalls. "I was based in Newcastle, so that made it even better.

"I think we all knew we were on to a winner with Potter, but none of us could have imagined just how huge the films would become.

"I get stopped in the street by kids, which is incredible.

"And not just in Britain - from America to Borneo, people just stop you in the street. The films have kept that certain British feel about them, and I think that's helped in their success."

Bradley will be filming more Potter next year, but at present he's more concerned with Titus.

He's been based in Stratford Upon Avon since the mid-1980s, and has enjoyed being able to cycle to work over the past few months.

"The role of Titus was offered to me and it just seemed the right thing to do," he says.

"I'd done some theatre with the National at the Donmar and I was excited at the prospect of returning to the RSC.

"I'm glad to say the camaraderie is still there among the company. I'm loving it.

"Titus is often thought of as a very bloody play, but there is love, compassion and dark humour there too, which I think this production brings to the fore.

"It's also one of the most straightforward of Shakespeare's plays in terms of understanding. There are no complicated sub-plots.

"I like to compare it with a spaghetti western!"

Although Bradley is not in next year's RSC season, he would like to return again, and in the ultimate of roles, King Lear.

"But there's probably a long, long list for that, so I may be in for a long, long wait," he sighs. "But Lear, as for so many actors, would be the one to do it for me."

NThe RSC arrives in Newcastle from November 17. Titus Andronicus is at the Theatre Royal from December 2 to 6.

NKeepers Of The Flame, a Live Theatre/RSC collaboration, is currently being staged at the Live and runs until November 30.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2003
Words:691
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