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24 September 2014
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He Knew He Was Right
Stephen Campbell Moore as Hugh Stanbury

He Knew He Was Right

Stephen Campbell Moore - Hugh Stanbury

A friend in need is a friend indeed, and Louis Trevelyan couldn't have a truer one than Hugh Stanbury, who puts his own troubles aside to help out when Louis and Emily's marriage hits the rocks.

He behaves selflessly, but Stephen Campbell Moore, who plays Hugh, admits that his own advice to Louis wouldn't be quite so encouraging.

"I'd say get rid of her and move on. Don't beat yourself up about it - and please don't go mad in the process!" he laughs.

It's a good job then that it's Hugh, not Campbell Moore, who's giving the advice to Louis.

"I probably wouldn't be the best person to give advice in that situation," he grins. "That's what's nice about playing someone who is capable of doing it."

In fact Hugh seems like a pretty capable chap all round, managing to earn a living for himself as a penny journalist after being disowned by the rich aunt who brought him up.

"His Aunt Stanbury paid for his education; but instead of becoming something respectable, he became a journalist for one of the new, liberal kind of newspapers," says Campbell Moore.

"She finds that completely disrespectful to her and a bit like an anarchist plot, so she disowns him.

"So that's his situation. Louis is his long-standing friend from school and university and he gives him lots of good advice - which Louis ignores on a daily basis!"

There's an added twist to the plot when Hugh falls in love with Louis's sister-in-law, Nora, though it's hard for him to court her with no prospects of his own.

But when Emily and Nora are sent away by Louis, Hugh comes to their rescue by offering to put them up with his mother in the countryside.

"That's obviously very kind and charitable and advantageous to everybody - except for the fact that it affects the purity of the relationship which was developing between him and Nora, and now she feels that she's in his charity instead of on some equal footing," says Campbell Moore.

"That corrupts their relationship slightly and makes it interesting."

He points out that in Trollope's writing, nothing is quite what it first seems to be.

"Whoever is being righteous tends in some degree to be hypocritical," he says. "In Hugh's case his generous offer has an underlying motive.

"Hugh adores Nora. By being a part of the family and dealing with their problems he's also serving himself, however unconsciously. That's what I found most interesting - even though he's meant to be a slightly heroic figure, he's actually just as human, fallible and self-deceiving as everybody else."

Campbell Moore had no option but to suffer for his art, as filming took place during last year's long hot summer.

"I went to the costume fitting and they brought out all these woollen garments and I said, 'It's going to be hot. It's already hot now.' But they said, 'Oh, don't worry, this is right for the period.'

"I kept saying, 'I'm sure that people in those days had cooler clothes than this for the summer!' But it was no go. I had to grin and bear it."

Campbell Moore's break came with Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things, in which he played Adam, one of the lead characters, to considerable acclaim.

Prior to that he worked solely in the theatre, mainly with the RSC.

Luckily he'd had plenty of experience of Shakespeare at school.

"I went to a public school and they did a lot of Shakespeare because everything else with a rude word in it was considered too dirty, although frankly I'd challenge anyone to find anything more bawdy than the Bard!" he grins.

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