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24 September 2014
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Paul Telfer in Hotel Babylon

Hotel Babylon – second series coming soon to BBC One

Paul Telfer plays Luke Marwood, Trainee Concierge

"Luke is the new trainee concierge at Hotel Babylon. After the events at the end of the first series Rebecca felt that Tony needed some back up on reception so I play his protégée – the next generation of high-level concierge," smiles Paul.


"They don't know each other and Tony is taking a chance on Luke," he adds. "There is also a suggestion that Luke doesn't have the cleanest of pasts which might have helped him land the job since he slots straight in."


Luke comes up against some opposition in Charlie who does not take to him and, in fact, mistakes him for an undercover journalist trying to stake out a guest in episode one.


This is embarrassing for Charlie. And Luke, though shaken, is more determined than ever to make his mark on the hotel... no-one gets one on him.


The job throws up all sorts of moral questions for Luke, such as, do you get a guest whatever he/she requires even if that might be illegal? His answer is yes, of course, as long as there is something in it for him.


"Luke is eager to ensure that all his guests know he can provide them with whatever they need – a service that could effectively put Tony out of business and Luke out of Tony's favour. Luke's philosophy for life seems to be anything, anytime!" he laughs.


He is ambitious and will try to make the best of a situation. He is driven by self-motivation and wanting to increase his own wealth.


Along the way he intends to have a good time but climbing in the sack with one of Rebecca's best friends is not his finest hour!


"There is a confidence about Luke that is similar to my own in a sense that after university I had this attitude of I can do anything, throw me in anywhere and I'll find a way – that young and possibly misguided sense of self-worth.


"Ultimately Luke is the sort of person that could blag his way through, which I can certainly sympathise with.


"I did all kind of jobs before I became an actor. I always wanted to be an actor but I was too scared to try because it is very competitive and not very secure. But I wanted to be an actor more than I wanted to be secure so I eventually ended up studying drama in New York.


"At uni I did a drama course but quickly realised that I was learning about the academic side of acting but not how to become an actor and, at the same time, realised that my love for acting came from my interest in film...


"So I changed courses and studied film, which changed my life, and set myself a goal of getting the best degree I could at the highest level."


Paul got a first-class honours degree, was published and gained the much needed confidence to move on to the next stage.


Actors often take on other jobs when they are working towards their goals and Paul is no exception - he has added being a bouncer, a painter, a labourer and a production PA to his list of skills.


But it was his production stint that really cemented his ambition to become an actor.


"I was working with proper professional actors and it was at that point that I knew that I truly had to pursue my dream of becoming an actor," Paul says,


"I had a private scholarship to NYU to study acting and I was told that, because of the way I looked, I would more likely get work in the states than in the UK.


"I was a big guy - about 18 stone and 21 years old with long hair - so you can imagine the roles I would be chasing," he smiles.


"I was also into the American cultural scene and music much more than the UK popular culture and didn't really have much of a sense of identity having moved around a lot when I was younger."


One of the highlights of Paul's career is the US mini-series Spartacus.


"I learnt more from watching my co-stars than any amount of time in the classroom," he says.


"We had an amazing cross-section of professional acting styles that went right from legends of British stage and film, such as Ian McNiece, Alan Bates and James Frain, to European actors including ER's Goran Visnjic who taught me so much about the job of a leading man and what the responsibilities are.


"The first thing I learnt was that a big part of starting out in this profession is to pay attention to the skills of the brilliant actors you work with.


"So the best thing is being surrounded by really good actors who actually make your job easy because all you need to do is watch and learn because everything that they are doing should inform what you will do."


Hercules was Paul's first lead role - a responsibility that his previous experience on Spartacus helped him prepare for.


"I was able to bring all the things I learnt from Goran while filming Spartacus to the set of Hercules," he says.


"Despite the cartoon element of Hercules it was nevertheless a demanding role and with actors like Timothy Dalton and Elizabeth Perkins starring you do have to raise your game.


"However the best thing about Hercules was spending so much time out in New Zealand where I got to do the most terrifying extreme bungee jump known to NZ.


"I just went for it and plunged 100 feet down a sheer rock face upside down. It was quite the coolest thing I have ever done until you see a picture of my face, which was terrified, and I think if the director had known I would have been locked in my trailer for the rest of the shoot.


"Mini-series are tough because they aren't quite TV and they aren't quite film but sit in some bizarre no-man's land in between and I remember Timothy Dalton taking me aside to say that it would never be this hard again."


Paul is a huge fan of martial arts and has recently returned to the discipline, training with a teacher in London and a grand master in Los Angeles.


"I try to train three or four times a week and I used to compete when I was younger but now I just love the discipline of it. I used to be able to break bricks but I wouldn't like to try it now.


"But my next skills to conquer include horse-riding and archery – anything that has a dangerous potentially violent side to it whereas my girlfriend [West End musical theatre star Carmen Cusack] is trying to get me to go to salsa classes which I can't get excited about.


"I did go once but the problem with me is that I want to be able to do it right away and not have to go through fours weeks of being rubbish at it.


"But aside from that in the class I went to there was me, my girlfriend and four other women so it was a case of musical Telfer as I was passed from pillar to post and I just wanted to dance with my girlfriend. I'll just have to rope a couple of pals in if there is a next time.


"I only have myself to blame because part of her birthday present was salsa lessons for us both."







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