Mr Jekyll Will See You Now: Jekyll & Hyde’s Tom Bateman On Smashing Tables And Working With Judi Dench

Meet Tom Bateman, the gorgeous, refreshingly hones and slightly sweary star of ITV's Jekyll & Hyde...

Since leaving drama school (he’s LAMDA alumni, FYI) the ever-so-handsome Tom Bateman’s career has been going from strength to strength. In fact, the actor, who takes the lead role in ITV’s Jekyll and Hyde, has had barely a day out of work and he’s achingly aware of how fortunate he is. ‘I’ve been exceptionally lucky and I know that. I’m not being falsely modest here.’ It’s line we’ve heard from many of those famous types, but from Bateman we’re inclined to believe it.

That’s not to say he’s not talented. Bateman’s rather sinister portrayl of the table-smashing, teeth-baring Robert Jekyll, grandson of the famous doctor, is really nothing short of terrifying. And the actor, who previously starred in the stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love, did nearly all of his own stunts, something he says helped him to embody the character: ‘I think it was very important for the role. A lot of the time, we’re talking about the consequences [of his actions] and you physically need to feel that. It just woulnd’t be the same for me to step away and have the stuntman smash up the room.’

He later jokes that the process was very therapeutic. ‘Me being able to trash hotel rooms on set means I don’t do it in real life,’ he laughs. Bateman stars alongside Richard E Grant as Sir Roger Bulstrode, and says working with the legendary actor ‘blew my mind.’ ‘My first day with him, I had to pin him up against a wall and scream in his face and I almost had to bash his face in,’ he says. ‘It is quite bizarre to text your mum and say, ‘Hi Mum, just pinning the Scarlet Pimpernel up against a wall and then I’m gonna go have lunch.’

As well as Jekyll & Hyde, Bateman is currently starring in The Winter’s Tale at London’s Garrick Theatre alongside Judi Dench. And on his first day of rehearsels, tensions were running high. ‘The first thing I said to Judi was, “Hello, I’m shitting myself with nerves,” and she said, “Me too, that never goes away.”’ The show sold out weeks before the first curtain went up. ‘It’s nice to play to a full house. If you want out and see empty seats, your heart drops.’ Somehow we don’t think he’ll be having that feeling any time soon.

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