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Miss Scarlet And The Duke | Interview with Stuart Martin (The Duke)

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Can you give us a quick recap of where the story ended in series 1?

At the end of the first series, we saw the Duke and Eliza skipping off down the street for their romantic dinner. They’re in a good place and the relationship has moved forward.

There’s a dedicated fan base called the Scarleteers, which is lovely to see. How did you find the reaction after the first series?

We love the Scarleteers! It was so lovely to have a little core group of fans who really loved it and were so invested in the characters and the show. That was definitely in our minds as we were filming series two. You just think about all the things that you know they’ll enjoy. They’re a really lovely and supportive group of women and during lockdown we did a Q&A with them. It was really nice because the questions were very different to what you might normally be asked about a show.

What sort of things did they want to know about?

One of things they were interested in chatting about was the pockets in Kate’s dresses. I couldn’t imagine not having pockets!

How did you find stepping back into the shoes of The Duke this time around?

It was great and it came back really naturally. Getting his hat on again and going for suit fittings was so nice. We also moved filming from Ireland to Serbia and it was mad because the crew had built sets which were totally identical to what we had before. They had the same colours and marks on the walls, the same blinds and kinds of windows. It was crazy! Stepping into Scotland Yard and seeing that world that they had recreated was amazing and it took away any worries about settling in somewhere else.

Why were there so many new sets?

Because everything was a location before, so production had to find a way to make them feel like they were exactly the same. Also Serbia doesn’t have that Victorian London architecture, so we had a big back lot that they had to keep extending. What the team did was phenomenal and when you watch it on screen now it looks identical to the first series. In fact, it’s better because it’s more cinematic and they’ve added all these amazing new places.

Talk us through your character and what attracted you to the role?

William is fantastic. When I first read him, he had this bull in a china shop emotional quality to him. I loved the fact that he would jump from 0 to 10 when having to deal with things at work. In the first series we were allowed to explore his character, but in this new series you get to see so much more, and you get a much deeper look at him emotionally, seeing what makes him tick and where he comes from. I was blessed to get to play him in the first series and then going back for series two, you get to take that so much further. It’s been a really nice thing to see him develop.

What’s the relationship between Eliza and William like in this series?

Well in series one, we leave them in a relatively good place. Their relationship and friendship have moved on and it’s a good jumping off point for series two. They are deeper emotionally, but at the same time they have this very fractious sparring that is a lot of fun to play. So, we tend to jump to that much quicker this time around. They don’t really apologise for it and that’s where I see a lot of the comedy and the fun in this series.

Miss Scarlet reopens one of Williams cases in the first episode, how does this affect their relationship?

I think that storyline helps us see what’s getting in the way of them being together romantically. It’s even getting in the way of their friendship really, because William sees that as her challenging him and questioning his position. His position at work is also being tested because of her. So, it’s a big question as to whether they can work together moving forward because of how involved she gets in the cases.

Can you relate to your character at all?

Yes, I can. I’ve got a load of respect for him because I like the way that he says it how it is. I probably wouldn’t have the confidence to do that. I like the fact that he will go for what he thinks is right and if he realises that he’s wrong after it, he’ll always apologise for it. I’ve got a lot of respect for that, as he wears his heart on his sleeve.

In what way does Miss Scarlet relate to women in the modern day?

I think she is a total inspiration and that’s definitely been visible in the way that the Scarleteers reacted to her when series one first aired. They started to do things that they’d never done before, in things like arts and crafts. They said they felt inspired by that because if they saw Eliza going and seeking out what she wanted, then why couldn’t they do it too.

You mentioned that the series is filmed in Serbia this time. Did covid have a big impact?

Covid has definitely changed the job, but I think it brings you even closer as a cast and crew because you’re in this bubble. It’s tricky being somewhere like Serbia because it can be hard to get home and see family, as we were in the middle of lockdowns over there and in the UK. Hopefully that has now shifted to a place where we are living with it and that will allow some of the freedom in filming to return.

What have we lost from the Victorian times that would help us today?

Bowler hats. They wouldn’t help us, but I love them. I love wearing William’s and I wish I could rock it on the street, but they’re just not in fashion, are they?

What was it like working with Kate?

It was great. We’re such good pals and we’ve got such a brilliant working relationship. We were able to pick up where we left off two and a half years ago. We have a really great shorthand from when we previously worked together. It was lovely.

What is it about Miss Scarlet and the Duke that makes it unique?

I think it’s the relationships between the characters. For me, the sparring that they do in the show really helps to drive the episodes. To have a procedural show and a period crime drama that has that focus on those relationships is really great. It’s lovely as an audience to watch, but it’s also a lovely thing for an actor to play as you get to really get to the centre of who these people are. Even in interview scenes and in the crime stuff, there’s always something going on underneath, so it’s not just about the interview but about where they’re at, what they’ve fallen out about, or the emotions and thoughts they’re harbouring.

How would you describe the series in 3 words?

Full of fun!

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