And right there in the middle of this extraordinary panorama is a young man from Nottingham called Joe Dempsie. Who as Gendry, is the only character to have appeared in series one, and who is there for the show’s finale. Which is pretty impressive stuff for someone who tells me that he had never really considered acting as a hobby, let alone a career, and was just “as sporty kid, not a big personality, really.”
Joe was actually born in 1987 in the North West city of Liverpool, but is very much a son of the East Midlands city once famed for its lace trade. Along with the likes of the fabled Robin Hood, designer Paul Smith, football manager Brian Clough, who managed Joe’s favourite team Nottingham Forest from the lower divisions of the English League all the way to European Cup glory. And celebrated television and film maker Shane Meadows, who was to become a real catalyst of Joe’s ambitions and development as an actor. Something which began, as he points out, rather more by accident than design.
“I have a younger sister who suffers from cerebral palsy”, he tells me. “And when you have a family member who is severely disabled, life changes. Just be necessity everything has to kind of revolve around them. Just making sure she’s got the best chance possible. So as a result, my parents were quite keen to ensure I wasn’t getting left out – that I was getting enough of their time.
“And (my mum) kind of heard me tell a friend of hers I was in to drama at school. And I think that really surprised her. But she had heard about this workshop and suggested I should go along and audition for it. And to my surprise, not the first time, but the second time I went back, and I got in.”