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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Moving On, new drama series for BBC One Daytime, attracts top talent – Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage plays John Mulligan. Image credit: BBC/LA Productions

In Drowning Not Waving by Sarah Deane, Richard Armitage plays John Mulligan, a man who seems like the perfect solution to his old school flame Ellie's financial trouble. But can he really be trusted?

Speaking about the role, Richard says: "John Mulligan is an enigma. Not particularly bright at school and from a fairly deprived background. A childhood lived with 'holes in his kecks' and on an estate where the kids rubbed shoulders with the druggies gave John a place to flee from and make something of himself.

"When he arrives on Ellie's door-step, disarmingly charming, suited and booted, and armed with a swift, irresistible solution to Ellie's financial troubles, he is almost too good to be true.

"John has fond memories of a childhood love affair with Ellie, a vivid, accurate memory. He woos Ellie once more, that school fling rekindled into a potentially rosy future.

"But there is something too perfect about this new John. He is apparently flawless and his social elevation appears to have cost him little effort, but John has perfected his skills and leaves nothing to chance. He is a brilliant, effortless and confident."

For Richard, Moving On was a complete change from appearing in a fast-paced series such as Spooks. "I enjoyed the simplicity of the storytelling, in that, this was mainly a four-hander which relied on the characterisation and the unfolding events to create a gripping story. This could be happening on street near you, at this very moment in time.

" It felt real, colloquial, domestic yet dangerous as it tumbled towards its climax. It wasn't overly dramatic in its events, the clash of the characters is where the drama was located. I found that challenging and new.

"Sarah Deane's script for Drowning Not Waving changed very little from the early draft which I was given to read. Her structure was great and her characters were well rounded yet contained 'room for movement' within which to carve for oneself.

"Sarah was keen to collaborate and shift in order to allow these characters to live believably. This felt like a re-invention of the afternoon play – which relied heavily on script rather than on action, special effects and plot-driven story-telling, which often expend characters in the need to make that plot work.

"Sarah's writing was the antithesis of this. It was all about her characters."

Drowning Not Waving by Sarah Deane is episode three of Moving On, a new series of five unique contemporary dramas starring Shelia Hancock, Ian Hart, Richard Armitage and Lesley Sharp and executive produced by Jimmy McGovern (The Street) for BBC One Daytime.

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