JAMIE DORNAN is forever grateful when work comes up in Northern Ireland – as it’s just about the only time gets to see his native country.
Jamie came to prominence playing a serial killer in gritty, gory, Belfast-set BBC 2 thriller The Fall.
But since then he has become a global star through his role as Christian Grey in the steamy Fifty Shades Of Grey franchise.
He and wife Amelia Warner have two daughters, with a third child reportedly on the way, and home life now is a long way from where he grew up.
“I’m quite rubbish about coming home unless I have to work,” said Jamie, one of the stars of BBC’s Death And Nightingales.
“I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been back since finishing The Fall series three, so it’s been brilliant and seeing parts of the country that I didn’t know existed.
“The weather was glorious the entire time and I love the light here, it stays light until 11pm. It helps you to finish your days and it’s good for your soul.
“I love working in Northern Ireland, or anywhere in Ireland. The magic thing for me is the crew, as a lot of them worked on various series of The Fall.
“It’s a huge benefit when you are comfortable with people around you on set, you have a laugh with them and have something personal with each of them and socialise together.”
Death And Nightingales – the second episode is this week – is a three-part adaptation of Eugene McCabe’s book about love and betrayal in the countryside of Fermanagh in 1885.
Matthew Rhys and newcomer Ann Skelly join Jamie in the cast, with the book adapted and the drama directed by Allan Cubitt, the man behind The Fall.
And Jamie admits that, as soon as he heard Cubitt was involved, he was committed to signing up.
“If he wants me to do anything for the rest of my career then I will do it because in many ways he gave me my career,” says Jamie.
“He cast me in The Fall and he had to very much fight for me. That changed my professional life in a huge way – I’m eternally indebted to him.
“When Allan came knocking for Death And Nightingales and I knew quite far in advance he was writing it with me in mind, I felt very lucky.
“It’s invaluable when you work with someone you’ve worked with for six years and it makes things a lot easier on set when he doesn’t have to say much to know what he wants from me.”
Jamie’s career has continued to go from strength to strength and he’s on the big as well as the small screen at the moment, playing Will Scarlett in Robin Hood, currently in cinemas.
In Death And Nightingales he’s the mysterious Liam Ward, who comes into the life of young Beth just as she approaches her 23rd birthday.
Skelly, who plays Beth, is even younger and though Jamie is only 36, her youthfulness had him thinking.
“She’s only 21 and she’s incredible, I feel very old around her!
“Oddly enough she’d been recommended to me for another project.
“When I knew they were casting this, I texted Allan to say that he should check out this girl, Ann Skelly, I didn’t know a huge amount about her but from what I’d seen she was brilliant.
“Cut to two weeks later, Allan texts me to say that she was doing it.
“She’s lived up to the hype and she’s so fun, which is important.”
And having played twisted killer Paul Spector, doing parts which challenge him more than in the Fifty Shades films is important.
“You want every character you play to be multifaceted and complex.
“Allan and I have history, with me playing one of the most complex characters that I may ever have the chance to play.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to play a character where there’s more to them than meets the eye you have to jump at it, they don’t come along that often.”
Death And Nightingales, BBC2, Wednesday, 9pm.