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Kim Durham on Matt Crawford

Writer, The Archers

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Kim Durham (Matt Crawford)

Is Matt actually jealous? The actor who plays him has some interesting insights.

I really love playing Matt. He’s obviously very intelligent but he has very limited emotional intelligence.  It’s such a factor in all the storylines we’ve had for him.

How has he developed over the years?

American writers on acting talk about ‘the actor as the co-author’. The British don’t tend to do that. But in this sort of show it’s the one opportunity you have to actually be the co-author. Because what happens is that you deliver a certain performance and the writers pick up on things that you’re doing. So you find things creeping in and you think ‘oh yeah, I recognise that’. It’s quite alarming. Maybe there’s more of me in Matt than I realised!

It’s been a very interesting journey. When he first came in, he was an out-and-out baddie. Then he got together with Lilian and the two of them became a sort of comedy duo. And then it developed into something much fuller and more rounded, which has been a joy. And – talking of his emotional intelligence – as we’ve explored him and Lilian, the relationship has gradually  induced a greater awareness of how all that kind of stuff works.

He’s never going to entirely buy into it. But he genuinely loves Lilian. He loves her strength. I’m not entirely sure that when it comes down to it he doesn’t actually admire the way she’s conducted this affair. He recognises a fellow player. When he eventually found out, it was like a game of poker. Nobody’s revealing their hand. And I think it’s very clever the way the writers have done that.

Obviously he loves her, but there is an element of control in there. I think he would be devastated if she left. That would be an appalling consequence in all sorts of ways. Certainly in terms of business, because he can’t trade without her. But also with the emotional relationship and the support.

I’m not sure he has sexual jealousy in a way. If she were to have flings, I don’t think he’s that concerned, as long as he’s going to get her back. As long as he’s going to win in the end.

Is this why he hasn’t confronted her, do you think?

Oh yeah, it’s part of it, absolutely. I don’t think he thinks for a moment that it’s all over between them. He’s just working hard to eradicate Paul as a rival and have Lilian back.

When Matt came out of prison and he thought Paul was sniffing around for money, he confronted Paul directly. He’s gone for an indirect warning this time. Why do you think that is?

It’s part of that control, power thing. He doesn’t want Lilian to know at this stage that he knows. He’s given her so many opportunities to confess. He really wants her to.  Really craves that scene where she confesses and he says it’s all right.

Because that would put him in a more powerful position in the relationship?

Just a bit!

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer

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