Lloyd Owen plays Paul Bowman MacDonald
When it comes to the women in his life, unlucky-in-love laird Paul
has a knack of falling for the wrong ones.
But the final series of Monarch sees him encountering an oddball local
shepherdess who unexpectedly turns his head.
They're an unlikely pair, but it's clear there's a real spark between
Iona (Kirsty Mitchell) and the handsome laird.
Could this be the happy ending that Paul has always dreamt about?
"Because of his family background - or lack of it - Paul has always
been desperate to have a proper wife and children," says Lloyd.
"Paul is a complicated man whose life revolves around running a very
time-consuming estate - that's a big thing for someone else to be prepared
to take on.
"I suppose I did the opposite thing to him as I married young,
but for mates of mine who are thinking about getting married at this
age, it's a much harder thing to do, as there are many more boxes to
Lloyd explains: "He meets Iona for the first time when she becomes
a spokesperson for the crofters on the estate and they go out for dinner
to discuss various issues.
"At first he just sees her as another problem he has to deal with,
but Iona's very beautiful, so quite naturally their dinner becomes a
double-edged sword - a mixture of business and pleasure.
"Their attraction bubbles under the surface for the first couple of
episodes, but I tend to find if there is a single girl of a similar
age in the vicinity of Paul MacDonald, then there's an inevitability
he will end up going out with her," laughs Lloyd.
But the course of true love never runs smoothly in Glenbogle and Paul's
attempts to impress Iona only result in him burning down her house.
"He tries to fix her electrics, you know, using his DIY skills to impress
her, but it all goes horribly wrong," explains Lloyd, with a grin.
"When she tries to boil the kettle for a cup of tea the whole house
goes up in flames. So Paul, mortified, offers her a room at Glenbogle.
Some people may say that's a very clever ploy. You know, burn a girl's
house down so she has to come and stay at your place."
Business-wise, this series Paul feels well and truly in pole position
as the laird. He's finally achieved the respect of the community and
feels at home at Glenbogle.
However, changes in land ownership cause him real problems and threaten
the estate's very existence.
Above all, Paul is fiercely protective of Glenbogle's future and feels
the full responsibility of his position. He is, after all, a MacDonald.
"The money problems they have always had on the estate start to reappear,
which is a major worry for Paul. Typically, he keeps it to himself for
a while, not telling anyone quite how bad the finances actually are.
"He thinks it's down to him to save Glenbogle and of course he
feels the huge weight of the historical responsibility. There are pictures
on the walls of previous lairds going back hundreds of years, so he's
putting himself under an enormous pressure not to let the family history
Family is also very important to Lloyd and he enjoyed a very close
relationship with his father - actor Glyn Owen of Howard's Way fame
- who sadly passed away last year.
"He died when we were filming the previous series of Monarch so that
was a tough time - it's still tough not having him around," reflects
"I learnt so much about this business from my dad over the years -
and that keeps me very grounded in this mad world of celebrity we now
He adds: "The thing about my dad and the thing about me is that we
didn't become actors to become famous. That's a side effect of the job.
It's something you live with, it's not the reason for doing it.
"Dad was always very happy for me to be an actor. Whenever I said
I was finding it tough he'd always say: 'Oh I had a fantastic time,
it's been brilliant'.
"He was living his dream and if my son wants to act I'll be fine
about it as well. Although I may try and push him towards entertainment
law instead and explain to him that's where the real money is," adds
the RADA-trained actor, who in-between series starred alongside Tara
Fitzgerald in a West End production of Michael Frayn's Clouds.
"We took the play on tour before we went to London and I was amazed
at the amount of Monarch fans that came round to the stage door afterwards
to say hello."
The theatre once again beckons Lloyd later this year when he takes
to the stage in Howard Brenton's new play, Paul, at the National Theatre.
However, now that filming for the final series of Monarch has come
to an end, London-born Lloyd - who has appeared in the show for the
last three years - admits he will miss everything about the feelgood
But he's chuffed that the BBC are giving the show the big send-off
"I love the fact that the BBC are allowing us to quit while we are
ahead and go out with a bang rather than a whimper.
"Most importantly, it allows the writers the chance to end the
show properly and it gives the people who have dedicated seven years
of their Sunday nights to watching Monarch some kind of resolution and
hopefully some happy endings," he says.
"Personally speaking, Monarch has helped me find a bit of Scotland
I can call my own, and I'm really grateful for that.
"I've relished every moment I've spent up here - the Highland
scenery is the best anti-depressant anyone could ever have and should
be available on the NHS.
"Once you get up to the top of those breathtaking ridges you can't
help but be inspired. Sometimes it's so windy you can lean back into
it and your whole life comes into perspective. I'm going to miss it
terribly, but I've made some lifelong friends up here and I'll definitely