Moving On : Playing John Mulligan
In ‘Drowning Not Waving’ Richard Armitage plays John Mulligan, a man from Ellie Morgan’s past. When she gets into financial difficulties and has to sell her house, he offers to help her.
"John Mulligan is an enigma," he said. "Not particularly bright at school and from a fairly deprived background. A childhood lived with 'holes in his kecks' and on an estate where the kids rubbed shoulders with the druggies, gave John a place to flee from and make something of himself."
But when he comes back into Ellie’s life, he’s a successful property developer, with designer clothes and a flash car. "When he arrives on Ellie's door-step, disarmingly charming, suited and booted, and armed with a swift, irresistible solution to Ellie's financial troubles, he is almost too good to be true."
John and Ellie had a childhood love affair, of which he has "a vivid, accurate memory. He woos Ellie once more, that school fling rekindled into a potentially rosy future."
"But there is something too perfect about this new John. He is apparently flawless and his social elevation appears to have cost him little effort, but John has perfected his skills and leaves nothing to chance. He is brilliant, effortless and confident."
What attracted Richard to this role? "I enjoyed the simplicity of the storytelling, in that this was mainly a four-hander which relied on the characterisation and the unfolding events to create a gripping story. This could be happening on street near you, at this very moment in time."
"It felt real, colloquial, domestic yet dangerous as it tumbled towards its climax. It wasn't overly dramatic in its events, the clash of the characters is where the drama was located. I found that challenging and new."
He said that Sarah Deane’s script changed very little from the early draft that he first saw. "Her structure was great and her characters were well rounded yet contained 'room for movement' within which to carve for oneself."
"Sarah was keen to collaborate and shift in order to allow these characters to live believably." He contrasted her script with dramas that rely on action, special-effects and plot-driven story-telling, often discarding characters to make the plot work. "Sarah's writing was the antithesis of this. It was all about her characters." 
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