independent

Sunday 19 August 2018

'Gladiator' knight Pádraic to light up screens in series

Pádraic Delaney in Knightfall
Pádraic Delaney in Knightfall

David Looby

Adamstown's Pádraic Delaney has a new all action, blockbuster TV show which debuts tonight (Tuesday) on the History Channel.

Knightfall chronicles the mysterious but true accounts of the Knights Templar, the elite warriors of the Crusades.

The series, which was developed by an American Network A + E, has received positive reviews in the USA. It tells the story of the Knights Templar movement and their eventual fall from grace and Delaney, 40, plays the role of Gawain, their expert swordsman.

Regarded as the greatest swordsman of the Templar Order, Gawain was crippled by a leg injury sustained in the Siege of Acre while protecting his leader Landry. Gawain is told by the new Master Landry he can no longer fight. Unable to serve in the field, Landry assigns him as the training master to the Order's initiates, teaching future knights, including the commoner Parsifal. Feeling his heroism is no longer celebrated, Delaney's character struggles to maintain his loyalty to the Order, just as he struggles to come to terms with his physical limitations. Gawain feels that, of all the Templars, he has the most to gain from the recovery of the Holy Grail, due to its reported ability to heal.

Knightfall also recounts the fall, persecution, and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar, as orchestrated by King Philip IV of France on October 13, 1307. The series focusses on the fictional Templar leader Landry du Lauzon, a brave warrior discouraged by the Templars' failures in the Holy Land who is reinvigorated by news that the Holy Grail has resurfaced.

The show was filmed at various locations around Europe, including Prague and Croatia.

Delaney landed the role having impressed at an audition in April 2016 and put pen to paper on a lucrative five year contract. He said he usually puts thoughts of getting a part out of his mind as soon as he does an interview, but he wanted the role.

'This one stuck with me as it's about the Knights Templar and I don't think their story has been done before, only touched on in the Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones. The producers are looking to create the next big thing in television and Knightfall has already been picked up by Netflix.

'They were very much looking at Game of Thrones which was ending, as is the Vikings which is huge in America. The Americans love that vibe with ancient European history and swords and battles.'

Delaney said the story opens with a spectacular scene, the Siege of Acre. The story jumps forward to the late 13th century when we meet his character Gawain, who is called after Sir Gawain of the knights of Arthurian legend.

'The main story begins about 200 years into the templars. It's after the fall of Jerusalem and Acre and our story is set in Paris and concerns the relationship the Templars had with King Philip The Fair.'

Delaney is expecting the series to be a success on this side of the Atlantic.

'Like with any new show it's down to the mercy of the audience. The producers have obviously put a lot of money into this.

'They do a lot of big shoots here in the at Barrandov Studios in Prague. Some of the crew members have worked on Bourne films and a Bond film and they said they've never worked on something of this scale. It's like Gladiator. I feel very lucky to be here working on this. The scripts and the crew are great.'

In a previous interview with this newspaper the former Coláiste Abbain student said Knightfall has been one of the highlights of his career.

Delaney has been home during the summer visiting his parents Sheelagh and Michael Delaney and grandmother.

His career has taken off having attended the Beckett Centre in Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated with a BA in Drama & Theatre Studies in 2001. Having worked on Shakespearian roles in theatre and in the Irish television series Pure Mule and The Clinic, Delaney first appeared before international audiences as Irish revolutionary Teddy O'Donovan in Ken Loach's award winning film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, opposite Cillian Murphy.

Delaney is currently in training in New Ross mode ahead of the start of shooting of series two in Germany next month.

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