‘Game of Thrones’ Craster Holds Court
Welsh actor, Robert Pugh joined a business lunch to discuss his substantial career as an actor. Not necessarily a household name but a performer who has worked with the best and continued to work. He is known to all ‘Game of Thrones’ fans as ‘Craster’ the evil one. Bob mentioned recently ‘Kids come up to me and point at me and say… “Craster! Game of Thrones!”… apparently it’s quite big’. Indeed, the series has been a huge success, worldwide and reached cult status. At the Emmy’s in Los Angeles ‘Game of Thrones’ broke the record for the highest number of Emmy Awards won by any fictional series. This HBO fantasy drama triumphed in three categories including outstanding drama series. The show’s total number of awards now stands at 38, which means it has beaten the sit-com Frasier’s previous record of 37. Bob never thought it would be such a success, and soon after his part was aired, was surprised to be recognised by a man in Glasgow – ‘You’re Craster!’ – who then wanted to fight him.
What might be surprising is Bob has not seen any of ‘The Game of Thrones’ series, considering he is a part of the main cast. Bob said honestly ‘It was a job… you do it… finish it and go back home’. However, with a tough work schedule and other jobs in the pipe line, not all actors have time to view their work immediately. The same thing happened to Robert Redford after completing the shooting for the film ‘The Sting’ (1973) by the time the film premiered he was in England shooting ‘The Great Gatsby’ and never managed to see it. One must remember there was no video, Sky and Netflix’s in those days. But it was Redford’s nephew when choosing a video to watch with Uncle Redford that finally brought him to seeing the film many years later.
As an actor Bob Pugh has worked consistently since leaving Rose Buford drama school in 1976 appearing in such films and TV series as Mr Selfridge, Shameless, Doctor Who, Lark Rise to Candleford, Waking the Dead, Inspector Morse, Brookside, Casualty among many others. However, Bob seemed most proud to mention of his recent writing partnership with award winning writer Jimmy McGovern on ‘Reg’ – a one off TV film drama about Reg Keys who lost his son in the Iraq War and then went on to contest Tony Blair’s seat at Sedgefield in the 2005 General Election.
Bob recalled working with Roman Polanski who he described as a small ‘energetic monkey’ with large amounts of get up and go. So many takes in films are shot out of sequence, so Bob asked Roman what had occurred in the story up to the point of his character entering the plot. Polanski sat down and proceeded to read the whole script to him. He was also ‘kissed and smacked three times’ by Audrey Hepburn in a read through of a script at her home. She referred to him teasingly as ‘rabbit’ but Bob could not help noticing how nervous she appeared. Hepburn’s hand kept shaking, when holding the script. Later he realised this was the Parkinson’s disease sadly taking over and in time bringing her glittering career and substantial charity work to an end.
Sitting down with him and discussing comedy, he asked after Max Boyce a Welsh legend who still lives in the country that brought him success. Bob comes from Tynte, the same welsh village as singer Tom Jones, following in the footsteps of great welsh actors such as Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. Asked why Wales produced such marvellous performers he replied ’There must be something in the pollution’.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.