We had the privilege of sitting down with the talented Welsh actor, Scott Arthur, to discuss his captivating role in the BBC’s true crime drama, “Steeltown Murders.” With the series gaining widespread acclaim, Scott’s portrayal has been hailed as a standout performance.
In this exclusive interview, Scott gives us insights into his character, the challenges he faced, and his experience working on the groundbreaking show.
1 – Steeltown Murders combines a gripping true crime story with a compelling historical context. How did you approach portraying a real-life character alongside Philip, and what were the unique challenges of sharing a character?
Phil and I only met a week before filming began, so it was a relief that we were both on the same page with our thoughts and ideas for playing Paul. We hadn’t met Paul yet either, and were keen to do so, mainly as we wanted to get an essence of who he was as a person and the littlecharacteristics we could perhaps steal. You also put a lot of trust in the director, and we couldn’t have been in safer hands with Marc Evans at the helm. Luckily, we got to meet Paul the night before the first day of filming, so it felt like the missing piece of the jigsaw, certainly for me anyway.
2 – What drew you to the role in Steeltown Murders? What aspects of the drama really resonated with you?
I loved Paul’s determination and drive from the off. He desperately wants to be at the forefront of the case and genuinely believes he can get to the bottom of it, so that was really exciting to approach from the acting side of things. Also, to play a Welsh character in anything is always a privilege and something I always jump at when I get the chance. The whole drama resonated with me really. From the tragic portrait of a community dealing with the grief of it all, to the incredible story of how DNA evidence was used to solve the case almost 30 years later – it’s a really important Welsh story.
3 – Portraying a real-life crime and the investigation that follows can be a sensitive and challenging task. How did you and the cast approach portraying the victims and their families with respect and empathy?
I can only speak for myself on this as every actor has a different way of approaching these sorts of stories. I thought a lot about the women in my life nearly every day on set. My younger sisters, my girlfriend, my mother, my grandmother. How I’d feel if it was them, how my grandmother must’ve felt as the mother of two young girls in 1973, and how so many women still fear for their lives today on a daily basis.
4 – The series is set in the Port Talbot area and other locations in Wales. How did the location and its history contribute to the overall atmosphere of the show, and did it have any personal significance for you?
It’s always special to film in Wales. We shot a lot of the scenes in their actual locations, which is something quite rare within TV and film, so it had a huge amount of personal significance for me as we were amongst the communities that are still feeling the effects of these murders.
5 – What can viewers expect from the series in terms of its tone and storytelling?
I think they can expect a drama that isn’t sensationalist in anyway. A huge amount of care and detail has gone into it, so hopefully that comes across.
6 – The Welsh TV and film industry is booming at the moment. What are you hoping to see more of in the next few years coming out of Wales?
Oh it’s so good to see the amount of brilliant work coming out of Wales – I’m hardly surprised though due to the wealth of talent there is. I want to see the Welsh creative scene embrace it’s history. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn reuniting Wales, The Welsh revolt led by Owain Glyndwr, The Rebecca Riots – the world needs to know about these stories. I’d also love to see us delve into the mythical side of things too.
7 – You’ve also worked with the likes of Shia LaBeouf in Borg Vs McEnroe, a film set in 1980. What are your fondest memories of this film?
It was the first real pinch me moment as an actor. From start to finish it was such a highlight to be working with so many brilliant actors who I had admired for a while. The tense locker room scene with Shia, who’s plays McEnroe, will stick with me for a long time.
8 – You have quite a few period projects on your CV are your attracted to historical scripts?
A few people have said I have a face for period dramas…whatever that means. Perhaps that might it be it?
9 – Lastly, what would be your perfect next project? Any burning desires to work with a particular actor or director?
A British version of Succession would be nice or the next series of The White Lotus. I’d also love to work with Jack Lowden or Kerry Condon – they’re two of the best actors around at the moment.
Steeltown Murders, featuring actor Scott Arthur, can now be streamed on BBC iPlayer