Martin Freeman

In this post, there are notes so that you can understand the BBC radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview with Martin Freeman. He is a famous British actor.   Aggie and I are currently creating a podcast (in which we will explain some of the vocab) and it will be launched on 11th October!

You can listen to the interview here:

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00:50 He is as prolific as he is popular

00:57   his range is remarkable

01:03 he’s often praised for the seemingly contradictory qualities     Immerse versatility and remarkable relatability

01:10 His talent for naturalism mean audiences believe him (and root for him)

The difference between reading a script that within in 6 pages has you (what makes you excited when you read it)

Personality and early influences

02:14 I’m a big fan …. of people not begging to be liked

02:15  Scripts come across with all singing, all dancing whistles...

02:20 I like things that are a bit more at their own pace….I like people who are a bit more at their own pace

02.45   it can sound a bit self-pitying (how hard he works to create very naturalistic performance)

03.29  there was something very relatable about him (Michael Cain  - talking about him being natural)

03.45  Men who had a bit of nuance about them (actors he admired when he was

04:14 When I was growing up, it was reruns of Nigel Bruce being Watson.

04:23  I wasn’t 65 and a walrus (Nigel Bruce)

04.29  Casting is 75% of it (making himself different from other actors that have

04:34   If someone’s trusted me with that job I’ve just got to run with it

04.48   You bring different stuff out of each other (playing with another actor e.g Benedict Cumberbatch)

04.48 much you swear (all the interviews that LL has read mention this)

05.07  I imagine that the whittling process has been agony

Childhood + parents

05:52 this would have been one of the records I inherited from my brothers

06:03  it’s a corker  (1st record)

06:51  she was rude (mum)

06:57 We were all brought up well….. to have manners..

07:01 to take other people into account (the way he was brought up)

07:05 a focus puller

07:10 what were her signature moves?

07:15 she would just know the irreverent, rude or sarcastic thing to say

07:19  ..that would make people laugh or make them outraged

07.27 she was able to tap into a thing that made people look at her.

07:35  what I got from my mum was …

07:43 …..from better or worse

07:49   Fantastically liberal (mum)

08:04 she was chaotic and a bit barmy

08:15 demonstrably so (told that they were loved)

08:45 they split up when I was very young

08:52  he was still had charm, he was always very charming

09:00  He wasn’t a stranger to a drink

10.14 I was lairy, not properly lary but I had a sort of confidence… (as a child)

10.32 you circumnavigate (around being small)

10.51  the killer instinct (squash - he didn’t have it)

11.14 you must maim everything in your wake (as a sportsperson)

12:20  You said that Catholisosm and Two Tone were my twin religions as a kid

13.07 she was never dogmatic about it (Mum about Catholicism)

13.13  she was always a bit of a lefty

13.28  I was always a smart-ass

13.38 about anything and it’s boring when it’s black and white, when it’s just  didactic ….every single thing is grey

13.52 ..there are things that happen in the church that of course I’m not signed up to

14:00 ...that I’m not prepared to jettison (things about religion - Catholisism)

15.35 If I’d had the talent and the wherewithal (would have liked to have been a musician like one of his siblings)

15.45 Interesting to join a big family when it’s already in full flow

16.10 none of us in my family are wall flowers

18.28 the first acting I did was fittingly for a Catholic school

19:12 it was much more my speed than schlepping around the country to get knocked out in some squash tournament.

Early interest in drama

19.21: rehearse plays, do drama games and clearly you were going to fancy people

20.35 it was very gratifying from an ego point of view

20:50 what about the other pillars of teenage life: music and fashion?

20:50 I was a little mod

21:13 if you are cursed with the thing of being obsessed with pop music

21.22 ... arrested development

22:22 it opened my horizons to music (film)

22.34 this just pipped it (over Oliver)

Early career

24:18   if someone asks you if you want to go and work in the National Theatre, you don’t say wait let me get back to you

25.05 As every actor does, you just go for auditions for things (how he got into TV work).

25.38   When you’re first on telly

25.53 There was a fair chance that a lot of people would have seen the show that you were on

26.00 you allow yourself the delusion of walking down the Hackney road and thinking yes I think  everybody’s probably looking at me

26.10   I’ve sort of made it

25.12   It’s all incremental

26.27  When people understandably talk about your breakthrough….there are all lots of little ones

The Office

26.42  Tell me about auditioning for that part (The Office)

27.05   thought he was hilarious (Ricky Gervais)

28.10 out of all the scores of songs I could have chosen this still sounds as fresh as a daisy

29.13 the success was amazing because it was off the back of a show that I loved (the office)

29.16 it was a double whammy of really having enjoyed doing the show (really enjoyed it and then had it validated by so many people)


30.14 they thought I was a moody prick (audition for Sherlock)

31.09 that chemistry is an interesting phenomenon (between him and Sherlock)

31.12  How rare is it that you have that experience where it just works straightaway? LL

31.25 Probably nothing I’ve done has resonated with the world’s population in the same way Sherlock has

31.57 you throw in all your cards with this band

32.06 it’s a lot to live up to.. You cannot live up to it just can’t (the reputation)

32.15 there were some fans that were so adamant that John and Serlock were gay

32.28  When that didn’t happen there was a chunk of people saying ‘This is betrayal’.

32.42 up to a certain point that’s delightful, beyond a certain point, it’s more challenging

32.53 keeping your head down and doing the things that you can trust in (how he coped with all the pressure)

Amanda (his ex wife)

33.13 we clicked immediately.

..we just hit it off

33.47 In the last Sherlock,, we were in the midst of splitting up


It’s a big logistical thing to get us all together (will there be more Sherlocks)

34.17  the last of that series definitely felt like a pause

34.28  It sounds like a sort of hedgy thing to say but it’s true

34.54  We popped our head in the door

Amanda (his ex wife)

36.53 a very amiacable separation after 16 years together

37.02 how have you adjusted to co-parenting

37.17  People that split up and can be civil and do it for the kids, it’s all right

37.31 When you’ve loved someone for that long and they’ve been an integral part of your life

37.35 we do get on well

New series - Breeders

38 with Simon Blackwell and Chris Adderson  - no sloaches themselves

38.23 the genesis of it was that no only is that alright..

38.41 one of my children’s mantras to me Daddy be patient

38.53  The difference between being a parent and not being a parent is about 47 light years.

38.57 you are not prepared for how viscually challenging it is

39.00 I’d never felt such rage in my life

39.24 we’re trying to catch up with that, with no blueprint at all

39.28 it’s going to be messed up, a lot of the time

39.39 what I wasn’t prepared for was my own shortcomings

What are you like as a parent

40.53 we’re a very tactile, kissy, huggy family

Last track

41.26 they were smuggling a lot of lyrics in to the top 10

On the island

Never hearing anyone’s voice would be horrendous, awful

Attitude to fame

42.53   You seem to have quite a healthy disregard for it

43.00 I guess it would come from upbringing

43.03  Being the youngest of 5 and thinking ‘don’t get too past your station

A low level hum all my life

43.42 I’m quite sparten...I’m a bit monkish

44.18 it’s intrusive and I don’t like it

44.21 I can just about bear it for me...I can’t bear it for my kids

44.53 you tally yourself against the musicians you admire

47.05 just for the sheer effect it had on me (animal farm

47.20 It struck me like a lightning bolt

47.26 I’m aware how cliched and English that sounds (tea)