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Arthur of the Britons: memories from Michael Gothard

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Jan. 1st, 1973 | 12:01 am

In an interview that appeared in ‘X’-Films Vol.3 No 1 in 1973, Michael spoke about the series he had recently completed.

On ‘Arthur of the Britons’ we did all the stunts ourselves – riding horses and fighting. It was quite a rough show. We used to take turns being in hospital. Really, we tried to schedule it so we weren’t both in at the same time. 1 Oliver ended up with a fractured skull and was in twice for x-rays.

Strange, that I get given all these wild, extrovert parts. The part in ‘Arthur’ is of a crazy, wild guy – a Saxon – who’s sometimes melancholy, sometimes explosive and violent. I play quite a few parts like that. I suppose it coincides with my natural temperament. I try not to be temperamental as an actor, but it does happen. I’ve played such a wide variety of parts.

For the last two months of ‘Arthur’ we were knee-deep in snow2 and rain, so physically it was a much harder part … [than his role in ‘The Devils’.]

I suppose I’ve got an image for the kids. And, judging by some of the letters we get, we’ve made some impression on the emotional life of some of the young ladies of this country! I get funny letters like ‘You have the most ugly beautiful face I have ever seen’ or ‘My friends think Arthur is prettier than you, but I prefer the way you walk.’

That show was the one I got the most public notice from. I also did another TV series five ears ago, called ‘The Three Musketeers’ [‘The Further Adventures of the Musketeers’]. I was playing the villain in that, but I used to get more fan mail than the bloody hero! So, I had an image then, but I don’t know what it was. It just depends how much you’re in the public notice.”

1 It is true that Oliver Tobias sustained a head injury, but – according to A.S., who knew Michael well – Michael never injured himself while filming “Arthur of the Britons”, though he moaned a fair bit about being saddle-sore.

2 At no point in ‘Arthur of the Britons’ does a snow scene appear. Michael probably said “mud”, because there was plenty of that.

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