Unsung Heroes: Mark Addy

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Last spring, a bold show with a dark heart brightened up our screens and reminded us once again that television can be a wonderful medium for in-depth storytelling, despite the likes of Jersey Shore poisoning impressionable minds. It may have helped that it has its roots in literature, but Game of Thrones had so many richly drawn characters that it was rarely dull. The terrific Peter Dinklage snagged most of the attention, and an Emmy, for his work, but there was another actor who particularly stood out: Mark Addy.

As gluttonous philanderer Robert Baratheon, Addy brought a commanding, dominating character to life in a most outstanding manner. The King ruled with impunity, doing whatever he felt like and to hell with the consequences. It’s an excellent performance by a top notch actor, but it’s not the first time that he’s excelled without grabbing the limelight.

After years of strong work in British shows like ’60s cop drama Heartbeat and enjoyable sitcom The Thin Blue Line, Addy first made a big splash on the international scene with his role in the megahit comedy The Full Monty. Dave is a regular Joe who is roped into taking part in a male strip show by his friend Gaz, but has major qualms about featuring in the performance due to physical insecurities. Addy plays Dave’s internal struggles beautifully as the ex-steel worker learns to come to terms with his large build and summon the confidence to bare all on stage.

A few years later, Addy starred as Fred Flintstone in The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas. The film is terrible, and Addy was one of the few involved to emerge with reputation largely intact. His easy charisma and undeniable talent helped him brush off the ashes of this flaming mess. He appeared in another medieval setting when his Roland squired for Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale. Ledger and Paul Bettany might have had the showier roles, but Addy lent solid support to the leads with an easy humour and displayed his able talents once again.

Despite his 4 year stint as a network sitcom lead in Still Standing, Addy might not be as recognisable as some of his co-stars in his higher profile projects. Still, he’s an actor with a wealth of talent and shone among an exceptional cast in Game of Thrones. Here’s hoping his stint as the Usurper will lead to bigger projects for the amiable Englishman.

– Kris Holt

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