Roy Marsden excited about Hobbit show

Derek JamesHe is a great ambassador for Norfolk and one of our most respected actors – but this time around Roy Marsden will be behind the scenes when The Hobbit arrives in his favourite city – Norwich.Derek James

Chatting to actor and director Roy Marsden, about East Anglia, his life and times and his latest project directing the magical The Hobbit which arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal next week is an absolute joy. For a start, he loves East Anglia.

'Where else would you want to live?' he asks. There is nowhere else like it. I love it and I love the people.'

'I had to hire a van to move some bits and pieces the other day and I asked the chap how much I owed him he said: 'Pay me when you bring the van back.' Where else would you find that? People still trust each other in East Anglia,'

He may have been born Roy Mould in London during the second world war but he is a Norfolk boy through and through.

His parents, Phyllis and Cyril Mould, brought him to North Norfolk when he was a lad.

His mother, Phyllis Mould (n�e Earl) came from Swanton Novers. The family home is at Gunthorpe, near Fakenham, where he grew up and still regards as home.

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'It's that part of North Norfolk where it starts to get a bit hilly. It is just the most perfect place on God's earth,' he said.

'There is nowhere like this in the world,' said Roy, who has done a fair amount of travelling in his time who also loves to return to Norfolk where he also loves sailing.

'It is just heaven and I love it. I will never leave it. It is my spiritual home and the place where I shall die, and will finish up in the cemetery along with the rest of the family,' he added. 'I am especially fond of Fakenham. A wonderful town full of great people.'

And so Roy finds himself back in the county, this time as a director.

'Putting on The Hobbit is a real challenge. It has been rather like taking part in a steeplechase in Fakenham. So many hurdles to get over,' said Roy.

But he is proud of this new production now touring the country.

'It is a big family show which I am extremely excited about, so I do hope people will come along and join us on this magical journey,' he added.

Adapted from JRR Tolkien's magical tale of battles, dwarves, wizards and derring-do this offering introduces some sparking new magical effects.

It is a show which Roy has thrown his heart and soul into and people are loving it.

For those who don't know, it tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, a quiet and contented Hobbit, who has his life turned upside down when he is chosen by Gandalf the Wizard to join Thorin Oakenshield, exiled king of the dwarves, on his quest to reclaim their kingdom and treasure.

It's quite a journey though the Misty Mountains dodging trolls, goblins, wolves, giant spiders and a deadly dragon.

'I can promise men, women and older children a terrific time,' said Roy.

He picked the name Marsden for his acting career after spotting it on a tombstone in a local churchyard and set off to learn his craft at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and becoming classically trained.

Although most people remember him on television playing the likes of steely-eyed detective Adam Dalgliesh, he has been a busy and prolific actor and director during his time on stage and screen.

'My whole life has been the theatre really. Television has only been a period away from it - one which has been very enjoyable,' said Roy.

During his television career he has created some memorable characters - his most famous being his portrayal of the poetry-loving and thoughtful policeman Adam Dalgliesh in Anglia's P D James series which spanned 15 years.

He loved filming across East Anglia and says he had a love-hate relationship with Dalgliesh who he called Doris.

He was Norfolk's top telly-cop. He's a big chap, well over 6ft, and he sported a range of wonderful wigs to top off his character over the years.

Roy played the character for 15 years between 1983 and 1998 and said. 'PD James was such a wonderful writer - it was always a privilege to make the programmes.'

'They were such happy days working with a great bunch of characters at Anglia TV,' said Roy who also made several other shows for the Norwich-based station. And of course he was in Tales of the Unexpected.

During the late 1970s he was in the Cold War spy series The Sandbaggers - playing the tough spy Neil Burnside.

Then in 1982 he played second world war pilot Jack Ruskin, a rough diamond, trying to start his own airline in Airline.

'It was one of the most enjoyable programmes I ever made and learning to fly those old DC-3s was terrific,' he said.

Roy has appeared in a whole of other host of other popular TV shows, including Only Fools and Horses and Foyle's War, but now he is delighted to be back in theatre land and once again directing The Hobbit.

It's going to be a good week for Roy when he comes home with the production, which is receiving rave reviews, and you can help make his week complete… by going along to see it.

t The Hobbit opens at Norwich Theatre Royal on Tuesday, June 1, and runs until Saturday June 5. Prices are from �5 to �16.50. Box office: or 01603 630000.