Close-up: Andrew Buchan

Could the blank gaze of this enigmatic actor be the saviour of ITV drama?
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The Independent Online

If you're sick of twee period pieces and dramas about deranged mistresses, new thriller The Fixer might just restore your faith in ITV. And the casting of Andrew Buchan, 27, looks to be a masterstroke.

Combining boyish good looks with genuine enigmatic appeal, Buchan made his name with roles in Party Animals, Cranford and Jane Eyre, and is currently on stage at London's Donmar Warehouse in Arthur Miller's Depression-era drama, The Man Who Had All the Luck<.

In The Fixer, Buchan plays a state-sponsored assassin sprung from prison to right wrongs. The plotlines are brutal, but the writing is smart and funny. "They didn't want blood splatters on the camera," explains Buchan. "It's not about the 'whacking', anyway; that's not interesting." So while he learnt to operate high-velocity weaponry, his real accomplishment was perfecting a blank stare.

Brought up in Bolton, Buchan studied foreign languages at university, then went to Rada before breaking through as Romeo at the Manchester Royal Exchange. The Miller play is his greatest challenge yet. His character, David, is described as "funny, naïve and always searching", and Buchan loves the questions the play poses. As he puts it: "Do we earn our luck or is man just a jellyfish pushed along by the tide?"

Sharing an agent with Daniel Craig, it seems Buchan has had all the luck. But there is a vulnerability: his mother died of cancer in 2000 (all his acting is dedicated to her) and he was unemployed post-Rada. "I temped for four months in a broadband company's complaints department," he admits. "It was hell – but quite refreshing not to be around actors the whole time." n

'The Fixer' begins on ITV on 10 March. 'The Man Who Had All the Luck' is at the Donmar Warehouse, London WC2, 0870 060 6624, until 5 April, and then on tour to Salford, Liverpool and Truro

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