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TV Quickfire: Jamie Dornan on why he was drawn to Death And Nightingales

Based on Eugene McCabe's classic novel, new drama Death And Nightingales is a story of love, betrayal and revenge, set in Co Fermanagh. We quiz star the show's star Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan, Anne Skelly and Matthew Rhys in Death And Nightingales, which starts on BBC Two on Wednesday

TELL US ABOUT DEATH AND NIGHTINGALES

It's a dark drama centred on a relatively dysfunctional family called the Winters. Beth is the protagonist and on the eve of her 23rd birthday, things have culminated to get her to a point where she wants to make a huge decision.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER?

I play Liam Ward, who comes into her life a year before and turns it upside down. We don't know a huge amount about him; he's quite mysterious and you get a sense that there's something lurking underneath that isn't very nice, maybe a little bit sinister. He changes the dynamic of the whole story.

YOU SEEM TO ENJOY PLAYING COMPLEX CHARACTERS

You want every character you play to be multi-faceted and complex. Allan [Cubitt, the writer-director] and I have history with me playing one of the most complex characters that I may ever have the chance to play. Any time you have the opportunity to play someone that there's more to them than meets the eye, you have to jump at that – they don't come along that often.

YOU WORKED WITH ALLAN CUBITT ON THE FALL. HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH HIM AGAIN?

I didn't really have to think about working with him again. If he wants me to do anything for the rest of my career then I will do it because in many ways he gave me my career. He cast me in The Fall and he had to very much fight for it. That changed my professional life in a huge way; I'm eternally indebted to him. When Allan came knocking for Death And Nightingales and I knew quite far in advance he was writing it with me in mind, I felt very lucky. I just love him and we have a shorthand and understanding of each other on how we both like to approach the work.

YOU STAR ALONGSIDE DUBLIN ACTRESS ANN SKELLY. TELL US ABOUT HER

She's only 21 and she's incredible, I feel very old around her! Oddly enough she'd been recommended to me for another project that I might do next year. When I knew they were casting this, I texted Allan to say that he should check out this girl Ann Skelly. I didn't know a huge amount about her but from what I've seen she was brilliant. Cut to two weeks later, Allan texted me to say that she was doing it. She's lived up to the hype and she's so fun. She looks unbelievable in every image and I think she's going to be quite something.

WHAT DREW YOU TO THE SCRIPT OF DEATH AND NIGHTINGALES?

It has beautiful use of beautiful-sounding language in it. I was worried about my American agent reading it as there's so much slang from the north of the country that even I don't know all of it, so I thought they are going to think it's a whole other language. But it's been lovely using that speech and you only should do something if the script resonates with you, as does the character.

WAS IT GOOD TO RETURN TO WORK IN NORTHERN IRELAND?

I love working in Northern Ireland – anywhere in Ireland. The magic thing for me is the crew, as a lot of them worked on various series of The Fall. That's a huge benefit when you are comfortable with people around you on set. Every job you do feels like a very odd family but when you have history together it's great – they are a great bunch. I love people from this part of the world; they are the best people in the world. The weather has been glorious the entire time and I love the light here.

:: Death And Nightingales starts on BBC Two, Wednesday November 28.

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