Cast & Crew: Richard Coyle


This talented young actor has captivated people with his role of John Ridd against Amelia Warner's Lorna Doone. Playing a complex character who is driven for revenge, but then transformed over time, his role is passionate and yet holds back, a difficult part to play...

Richard’s acting career started in college where he was studying politics and getting interested in amateur dramatics. Later, when he was struggling to raise money for a place at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, he got an extra’s job on Franco Zefferelli’s film of Jane Eyre. He mentioned to the great director that he was about to start at drama school, and Zefferelli gave him a line to say. Richard’s professional debut came with the words: “Mr. Rochester … your house is on fire!

There’s a bit of the hero in Richard, who was also seen last year as the nerdish Mr Coxe in Wives and Daughters. “Heroes are different today; they are not the same as the ‘40s and ‘50s with the Erroll Flynn stuff,” he ponders. “You don’t just ride in, kick ass and ride home. Heroes today, like John Ridd in this adaptation, can be insecure. They can worry too. That’s where I can see parts of John Ridd in me. I worry a lot. And once John’s met Lorna he’s wracked by self doubt.”

There is also something of the gallant in Richard. He was discussing with his co-star Amelia Warner  what might happen to the couple if someone wrote a sequel. It turned out that Amelia thought Lorna would have a couple of kids, quickly weary of rural life and leave John Ridd for London society life. Richard was mortified. “That’s terrible. I’d like to think that we’d be married forever. Perhaps after a year or so, we might move to London. But I think they would still be together.”

The production team think they have a winning pairing in Richard and Aidan as the rivals for Lorna. There was no animosity between them as Richard and Aidan, but work on set was marked by a chilly professional working relationship for “John” and “Carver.”

It’s funny,” Richard says, “there was something going on between me and Aidan. We like each other, but we somehow kept our distance because of the way things pan out in the story. That affected me and Aidan. It’s helped that we haven’t spent a great deal of time together. There are frozen moments when we’re gazing into each other’s eyes, taking the measure of each other as Carver and John.”