Andrew Buchan on new drama The Great Fire: 'Induction days at temp jobs prepared me for fighting fire'

Video: The actor of ITV's epic new drama talks fighting fires with London Live

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The Independent Culture

Ahead of the debut of new dramaThe Great Fire on ITV tonight, Andrew Buchan has said that fire safety videos at temp jobs when he was younger helped him respect the danger of fire.

The actor plays Thomas Farriner, the baker blamed for starting the Great Fire of London, but he is reinvented as a hero in the big-budget ITV drama.

Written by Tom Bradby, ITN’s Political Editor, the drama delves into the events of 2 September 1666 as the starting point for a sweeping, four-part epic.

Talking to London Live, Buchan joked that various low-level job placements while working as a temp helped him prepare for the role.

"Induction days at broadband companies really gave me an insight into the level of the disaster", he said.

"I think even from doing temp jobs, before university, after university...you watch the fire videos, and with some you get the fire guys in, and I don’t know, I always felt the threat of it, I’ve never treated it lightly."

Video: Watch the interview with Andrew Buchan

In Bradby’s version, the blaze sparks when Farriner, played by Buchan, leaves to visit his sister-in-law, telling his daughter not to rake the ovens until he returns.

But she - rather than the maidservant of historical record - leaves the oven door ajar causing sparks to ignite the wooden home.

Farriner rescues his children by climbing on to a neighbour’s window ledge and is first to dig up the water pipes to try to stop the blaze spreading.

Buchan said he got a personal trainer to prepare himself for the role and that the training for some of the scenes made him feel like he was readying himself for a stint with the marines.

Many of the scenes dealt with the great mass of people in the City of London attempting to flee the fire and Buchan had to be physically fit for such gruelling takes.

"(There were) people desperately trying to get onto a boat because a lot of people fled by boat on the Thames or running through to Moorfields or being involved in stampedes because such was the human mass moving with their can of  bundles and carts that a lot of the lanes in medieval London  got choked up and so there were so many stampedes at the time," Buchan said.

The Great Fire starts tonight on ITV at 9pm.

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