22nd May 2023
Scott Arthur is the man to look out for. From starring in shows such as Good Omens, Six Wives, Da Vinci Demons and Being Human. Arthur is back in the new BBC show Steetletown Murders playing the role of young Paul Bethell.
We chat to Arthur about his role, behind the scenes gossip and actors he would love to work with.
You have done a fair few roles, what was the most challenging role you have had to do since you began acting?
Hm, that’s a tough one. There are different aspects with every role that have their unique challenges. Borg/McEnroe had many of them. I wasn’t allowed to eat bread or drink beer for 9 weeks and ran 5-10k a day to stay lean, so that was super challenging physically. Steeltown Murders was more mentally challenging, mainly due to the subject matter and some of the traumatic scenes we had to film.
You have worked in projects with the likes of Shia LaBeouf, David Tennant and Michael Sheen, how did that make you feel knowing you are working with these highly praised actors?
It’s always a pinch me moment working with any actor you look up to. There are so many incredible actors in our industry that makes it an endless stream of joy getting to work with some of them. I rarely get overwhelmed or starstruck with famous actors - I think it’s important to see everyone as equals. However, I think I’d slightly lose my cool if I was to work with Anthony Hopkins…
You are starring in ‘Steeltown Murders’, how did this role come about, and what interested you about the role?
Like with every other role, the audition came through from my agent and I put myself on tape for it. It was when I read the character brief and synopsis of the show that I knew this was something I had to be part of. Phil Glenister was already attached, so after looking at photos of Phil through the years, I felt like I had a good chance of playing his younger self. I’m lucky Marc Evans, Hannah Thomas and the team at Severn Screen thought so too.
How significant was the case at the time?
The case was the first of its kind in south Wales. Nobody had heard of a serial killer or a sexual predator before, let alone three murders in the space of three months, with two on the same night. The case went on for months and months, with thousands of men being vetted in the Neath / Port Talbot area. The only credible lead they had was that someone witnessed a man in a white Austin 1100 speeding through the streets late at night. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to pin down the killer, the police ran out of leads, and by mid 1974 the case was quietly wound down. So for the case to be reopened nearly three decades later, with pioneering DNA evidence used to catch the killer, makes it that little bit more significant.
What was the audition like, and do you have any fun stories on set you can tell us about?
For my recall audition I headed down to Cardiff to meet the team, which I much prefer as it gives them a real sense of who you are and what you could bring to the role, compared to being on Zoom. Marc Evans, the director, spoke to me in depth about the series and we went through a few scenes in detail to try and find the essence of Paul. You sometimes get a good feeling when walking out of auditions that it might go your way, and I certainly felt this about Steeltown. In terms of fun stories on set, we often had to make things light-hearted in between takes due to the nature of the story we were telling. As Wales is a small country, and our acting industry even smaller, most of us actors knew one another quite well, so it was always a pleasure to spend time with them all on set and to reminisce about times gone by - it was a real tonic.
If you could capture the essence of ‘Steeltown Murders’ and what viewers can expect, what would you say?
A sensitive and thorough examination of one of the most fascinating police cases Wales has ever seen.
What did you learn while filming?
How hard the crew work. Their energy and enthusiasm are relentless. I have the utmost respect for them all.
My family loved The Archers, and I started to enjoy it with them, how did you get the role of ‘Rhys’, and would you say this was the biggest breakthrough?
Ah The Archers. I have such fond memories of my time in Ambridge. I got offered it without auditioning, as happens quite often with radio projects. I knew of the Archers, but it wasn’t until I started to research it’s past and how many people tune in to it that I realised how huge the radio soap was. I was only 21 at the time, so it was definitely a huge breakthrough for me back then. I’d love Rhys to return one day – that’s the beauty of the programme.
What is next up for you and what kind of projects would you really like to do next? Any actors or directors that you particularly want to work with?
Honestly, I have no clue what’s next, but I’ve always wanted to do something set in a fantasy world. I’m not really at a stage in my career where I can be too choosy either, so I’ll be grateful whatever comes my way. There’s also SO many actors and directors I’d love to work with. Mark Stanley, Jack Lowden, and Olivia Colman are all are brilliant in everything they do, and I’d genuinely work for free to be directed by Martin McDonagh or Andrea Arnold.
Steetledown Murder is now on BBC iPlayer.