My Life in Telly with… Aidan Gillen: 'Playing a politician in The Wire was a stretch for me. Some scenes felt like climbing a mountain' - Exclusive

From Game of Thrones to Peaky Blinders, Aidan Gillen reflects on his life in telly exclusively with BT TV ahead of brand new Project Blue Book on SyFy UK.

Hit Play above to watch Aidan Gillen reflect on his life in telly exclusively with BT TV

Aidan Gillen is one of Ireland’s finest actors.

Known for his roles in hit global dramas including Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones, BAFTA-nominated Gillen is next set to appear in the SyFy drama, Project Blue Book.

Speaking exclusively to BT TV, Gillen reveals the highlights of his television career to date, including his favourite scenes to shoot with Sophie Turner and Helen McCrory, and why his role in The Wire felt like climbing a mini-mountain...

SyFy is one of the extra entertainment channels available for BT TV customers, part of the BT Entertainment Starter Pack. You can watch on BT channel number 319/375 HD.

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The Wire - 2004-2008

The Wire

Describe your time on The Wire...


What’s your highlight from filming The Wire?

Probably one of the first scenes where I had to speak at length to a crowd in City Hall as Carcetti, towards the end of season 3, but it was one of the first scenes I shot, and we shot it in City Hall itself.

I had to play a politician, which was a bit of a stretch for me at that point. We had this scene which was four or five pages long, just speaking to the chamber, which was kind of daunting, as many of the real people [in the crowd] were just walking around. The camera’s on, so you’re just going from start to finish.

Once we did that, it felt a little bit like climbing a mountain, or a mini-mountain, and once that was done, I felt like I was in. If I could get away with that, I’d be OK.

Game of Thrones - 2011-2017

Game of Thrones

Describe your time on Game of Thrones in 3 words…

Snowy, sunny and rainy.

What’s your highlight from filming Game of Thrones?

I liked filming in fake snow, or real snow. I got to be in a lot of great scenes there.

A lot of the story I shot with Sansa Stark [Sophie Turner], which became Littlefinger’s story for three seasons or more. There’s a scene in a snowy courtyard that I have very fond memories of.

There’s a ladder thing, which I suppose is kind of a key Littlefinger moment. It’s an obvious one, but that.

Some of the earlier stuff in Croatia and Malta, and just getting out of the snowy landscapes. There seemed to be a lot of that in the first couple of years, and then it went away.

Peaky Blinders - 2017-2019

peaky blinders

Describe your time on Peaky Blinders...

Glad to be there.

What’s your highlight from filming Peaky Blinders?

Just the quiet, pastoral moments with Polly [Gray], [played by Helen McCrory]. I always saw my character [Aberama Gold] as romantic, the first time you see me is pulling knives out and doing all kinds of wicked things, but I always saw him as a romantic gentleman gypsy.

We kind of get a bit more into that in this new season as well. But interacting with any character on there is great, because they’re so well drawn and acted.

Project Blue Book - 2019

Project Blue Book

Describe your time on Project Blue Book in 3 words…

Intensive, enjoyable, and intriguing.

Do you have a highlight from filming?

Yeah, standing in a field, being hit in the head by about 50,000 starlings.

Would you be up for doing a second series?

Yes, and we are doing a second series. That’s already commissioned, and we start shooting in June.

What’s the best thing you learnt from Project Blue Book?

The research for something about this is great fun, as you can imagine. There’s just tons of stuff, from the actual reports, and the actual files, hoaxes, abduction cases. The stuff that seems really unlikely is interesting to me.

One thing I find really interesting actually is why you would make it up, and stick to this story, which makes you look crazy for the rest of your life. So the abduction cases were pretty interesting to read about.

Even if you were to just pick one thing about UFOs, whether it’s abductions or government cover-ups, you could read about it for years, and lose all your friends. You could make some new friends!

Project Blue Book starts Wednesday, March 27 at 9pm on SyFy (BT channel number 319/375 HD).

SyFy is one of the extra entertainment channels available for BT TV customers.

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Images: SyFy UK / Rex Features / BBC

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