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24 September 2014
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Bleak House
Patrick Kennedy

Bleak House - press pack phase three Starts Thursday 27 October on BBC ONE

Patrick Kennedy plays Richard


Richard Carstone is a man obsessed. An orphan and ward of court, he is taken to Bleak House by the amiable John Jarndyce (Denis Lawson) and gradually becomes embroiled in Jarndyce and Jarndyce - the complex case that has seen the ruin of many a man over the years, bringing nothing but despair to all it touches.


"Here's this guy who has no parents and he's brought out of school," says 27-year-old Patrick, from London.


"He's young and is suddenly told he has all this money. And, instead of taking lessons from history and seeing all the people this has affected in the past, he comes to think of it as his birthright. It's something that is due to him. It's not an immediate thing, it's a slow process."


Richard meets fellow orphan Ada Clare in London. Ada is also a ward of court in the inheritance case and the pair are taken before the courts.


"It's all pretty daunting at first," explains Patrick. "I'm being told I'm worth loads of money, and that's where it all starts. But it's all very exciting."


Richard and Ada also meet fellow orphan Esther Summerson, and the three are then taken to Bleak House under the wing of their guardian, Jarndyce.


There's an immediate attraction between Richard and Ada, and they soon fall in love.


"Richard's got the hots for Ada and instantly hits it off with her!" laughs Patrick. "They're both thrown into this really strange world and it's all quite intimidating, so they hold onto each other. He thinks she's wonderfully fresh and innocent."


Richard gradually becomes consumed by his prospects of great fortune in Chancery, and eventually ends up compromising his relationship with Jarndyce. H


e is good-natured and well meaning but, as a result of his obsession with the lawsuit, he is unable to stick at any job, despite his best intentions.


"It's not the money; it's not the greed with Richard," says Patrick. "Obviously, he is seduced by this dream of all this money, as anyone would be, but in the end it's about the birthright - it's something he thinks he should get.


"It's justice for him, and this is what he convinces himself of. Ada is a claimant as well, but her claim might be different to Richard's. He is genuinely in love with Ada, but I do think it all gets in the way of their relationship.


"When Ada tries to talk Richard out of pursuing the claim, it enrages him. In the end it [is] a very pure and dedicated love. Ada ends up being the only thing he has to hold on to."


Patrick describes his character, Richard, as "having the gift of the gab". "People come to him and say he is doing wrong, and he can see their point of view but will then reason himself out of it", explains Patrick.


"Jarndyce is a claimant in this case and Richard gets this idea in his head that they are fighting opposing claims."


Not initially a fan of Dickens, Patrick certainly became one after filming Bleak House.


"The opening of Bleak House is just the most beautiful opening to any novel I've ever read," says Patrick. "It's most incredible. A lot of my friends have now read it because I'm in it. People who thought they didn't like Dickens absolutely love it and think it's the best novel they've ever read."


There were many highlights for Patrick throughout filming, most of which feature Johnny Vegas, who plays Krook.


"The best day was in Miss Flite's (Pauline Collins) apartment, and Johnny was there," says Patrick. "Miss Flite keeps all these beautiful birds in cages but Johnny had to name every single one of them and they were all named after abstract things.


"He'd be struggling through this list, which was basically impossible to learn. But every time he'd get to the end he would pause, and this bird would drop off its perch and fall onto the bottom of the bird cage! We laughed our heads off!"


But there is one particular highlight which sticks in Patrick's memory.


"You get to see Johnny Vegas spontaneously combust!" laughs Patrick. "That in itself would make me want to watch it!"



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