Former Feelgood loved shooting for fantasy TV series… except for getting up early and not being able to sit down

Wilko Johnson as Ilyn Payne in Game of Thrones

Stare wars: Johnson as Payne in Game of Thrones

Wilko Johnson lived through a culture-shock while playing an assassin in award-winning medieval fantasy TV show Game of Thrones.

He recently spent time on set near Belfast, Northern Ireland, in scenes which will appear in the show’s second series, to be broadcast next year.

The former Dr Feelgood guitarist couldn’t believe he had to get up early in the morning – then when he did he couldn’t sit down.

But he’s relieved producers found a way to prevent him having to study the script for hours on end.

Johnson tells Rock News Desk: “My character, Ilyn Payne, had his tongue cut – out so I don’t have to learn any lines. They basically told me to walk around and glare at people – I can do that. The director told me, ‘You don’t have to act scary. You are scary.’”

He isn’t sure how he got the part, although he’s convinced it’s connected with the acclaimed Feelgoods documentary Oil City Confidential. “Maybe Julian Temple, the producer, put in a good word,” he reflects.

Playing a TV role is a new experience for Johnson and he admits it required some getting used to. He says: “I’m in the music business, man – these guys do things completely differently. They get up early in the morning for a start.

“They’ll do a scene once from one angle then do it again from another angle, and then again – and you have to sit around and wait till they’re ready for you.

“Well, I say ‘sit,’ but I can’t. I’m wearing chain mail, which is incredibly heavy and uncomfortable. That’s bad enough, but if I try to sit down, this big sword on my back gets in my way.

“But I’d love to do more of it. It’s been very interesting.”

Johnson tours the UK in April next year, just as the new series of Game of Thrones appears on TV.

05/04 Buxton Pavilion Arts Centre
06/04 Sale Waterside Arts Centre
07/04 Clitheroe Grand
12/04 Newbury Arlington Arts Centre
13/04 Tavistock Wharf
14/04 Penzance Acorn Arts Centre
15/04 Bristol Tunnels
19/04 Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre
20/04 Stockton ARC
21/04 Lincoln Drill Hall
22/04 Bury St Edmunds Apex
26/04 Leeds Wardrobe
27/04 Dunfermline Carnegie Theatre
28/04 Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
29/04 Bridport Electric Palace

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