ONE moment York actor Mark Addy is filming the television series Game Of Thrones for HBO in Northern Ireland with Sean Bean and Lena Headey, the next he has flown home to rehearse for tomorrow’s Kidstory fund-raising event in the Theatre Royal Studio.
“I’ve just shot my last day in Belfast,” said Mark on Wednesday. “We’ve been filming on and off since July, and they’ll be filming until Christmastime, making ten episodes.
“They’re talking about showing it from April in the States, starting with the pilot that we shot last year.”
Based on a series of novels by George RR Martin, Game Of Thrones is full of fantasy horses, flying dragons and men with big beards. “And yes, I do have one,” says The Full Monty star. “I’m playing King Robert Baratheon, who has assumed power through a rebellion against the former regime – and in this game of thrones you either win or die.
“They’re pretty good stories actually. It’s a bit like Tolkien, but with sex and violence…there’s something for everyone!
“Not so much the sex for me, but there’s a little bit of violence. He’s not your standard idea of what a king would be. He’s stuck in a loveless marriage and having to make decisions he doesn’t want to. He once wanted to sit on the throne but now it’s not the bed of roses he might have wished, as he’s surrounded by enemies everywhere – and he’s a bit of a grump, which is different from what I usually play.”
Now back in York, Mark is teaming up with fellow York-based actors Martin Barrass and Gordon Kane for tomorrow’s Kidstory event for younger members of the family at 11am, when the trio will read favourite children’s stories.
The event will raise money for Walk The Walk, a charity that supports breast cancer research, and inspiration has come from Mark and Gordon’s wives, Kelly and Susie, who have just completed the New York marathon for the charity, walking under the name of The Angels Of The North.
“About four years ago, a friend of Susie’s died of cancer and in that helpless void that happens, Susie and Kelly thought, ‘let’s put a positive spin on this by getting involved in The Moon Walk’ for breast cancer,” recalls Mark.
“They were marshals in the first one and then made sure to sign up for the next one, so they did 26 miles of power-walking in London the next year. They’ve done the Edinburgh Moon Walk with all the pink lights since then, and this year they power-walked the New York Marathon, taking part in the biggest charity event in the world.”
Mark and Gordon ruled out doing a marathon themselves. “But we thought we could put on something for the charity, as family men, aimed at kids as well as their parents.
“So, tomorrow morning, Damian Cruden [the Theatre Royal artistic director] is very kindly allowing us to use the Studio to perform a selection of children’s stories and donate all ticket money to the cause,” says Mark. “The morning should be fun, anarchic and a good time for everyone. They certainly won’t be dry and boring stories, and as Martin has picked some of them, we know there might be some scatological stuff!”
For all his acting experience on stage, television and the silver screen, Kidstory will be a new challenge for Mark. “I haven’t done anything like this before – well, only in the comfort of my kids’ bedrooms have I read stories aloud before.”
You will have to wait to see Mark in Game Of Thrones but there is always another of his jolly Tesco adverts on its way. “Yes, I think there should be a new one on TV soonish,” he says. “This one is a Christmas party at Amanda Holden’s that goes wrong but then we come to the rescue!”
Come the New Year, Mark has an open dairy. “I’m literally just fresh off the plane from Belfast, so now it’s a question of finding the next job,” he says. “It’s a quiet time but that’s fine as I can spend some time at home with the family and start looking for my next role – and you never know what might come up.”
Charles Hutchinson Only a handful of Kidstory tickets remain on sale at £5 and can be booked on 01904 623568 or online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. To find out more about the charity visit walkthewalk.org.
You can see how Susie Kane and Kelly Addy fared in their New York Marathon walk at .justgiving.com/theangelsofthenorth