Playing a Viking warrior is every bit as dangerous as it looks. So says Alexander Dreymon, star of the historical saga The Last Kingdom.
“We all get hurt every now and again,” the 34-year-old tells TV WEEK. “But that’s good because it makes it feel more real.”
The fight sequences throughout the historical drama – based on the historical novels by Bernard Cornwell – are impressive to say the least. However, in the heat of the moment, things can get out of control.
“There was one incident where I injured somebody and that was horrible – it’s a very ugly feeling,” Alexander recalls.
“You finish the scene, because you know you don’t have time to stop,” he explains. “So you have to keep your warrior face on and then as soon as it’s cut your like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry!’”
On set, Alexander, who plays Uhtred of Bebbanburg (yep, it’s a mouthful!), gets to live out his every boyhood fantasy – sword fights, axe wielding, horse-riding.
“There wasn’t that much training to be honest,” Alexander says of the adrenalin-fuelled action scenes. “I learnt a lot just doing it. We have an excellent stunt team. Every battle scene every fight scene you learn something new.”
Alexander’s character Uhtred is in the midst of an identity crisis. He identifies as a Dane, having been captured by Vikings as a child, but as a grown man he now wishes to reclaim the Saxon land that belongs to him.
It’s a complex situation set in a complicated historical period. Luckily, Alexander did his research.
“I started reading the books as soon as I did the first audition,” he says. “It was quite a long audition process; I started in April and I got the part in September.”
When he’s not brandishing a sword on set, Alexander enjoys exploring Budapest, where seasons one and two of The Last Kingdom have been filmed.
“Budapest is a very stimulating place,” he says. “There are a lot of artists, especially in summer.”
At this stage, there’s no official word on a third season, but considering the show’s success, and the fact that there’s plenty more novels left in the series, signs are looking positive.
“Hopefully there will be a third season,” Alexander says. “We’re all gearing up for it.”
Season two of The Last Kingdom is out now on DVD.