The Iris Interview: Jamie Bamber talks British & American television ahead of his Australian Supanova visit!

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Full disclosure: I was never a Battlestar Galactica aficionado. I understood its popularity, but Doctor Who and its universe was as sci-fi as I got when I first became interested in this realm of TV shows. It wasn’t until I followed Doctor Who alum Freema Agyeman over to Law & Order: UK, where I became fully hooked on Jamie Bamber, who of course, enjoyed much success on Battlestar as Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama. Based in Los Angeles with his family, Bamber has been able to pursue a healthy career between the US and his native UK on television and in film. Along with many other US and UK actors, Bamber will be travelling to Australia this week for the Supernova Pop Culture Expo taking place in both Adelaide and Brisbane.

“I’m really excited!” he says. “I haven’t been to Brisbane since I was 19 and backpacking and I’ve never been to Adelaide, so I’m very excited.”

Currently part of the NCIS cast, guest starring on the original Mark Harmon led drama, Bamber opens up about how 2014 has treated him, in terms of the projects he’s been able to immerse himself in – the positive and the not so positive sides them included.

“At the moment, I am doing a few guest spots with Rizzoli and Isles, which is a big show over here. I’m doing an arc on NCIS at the moment, which is going really well and I’m really enjoying it! I’m playing the husband of Emily Wickersham‘s character, so it’s a great character and it’s great fun! I’m doing another show for The CW as well, called The Messengers, I did a little arc on that one as well. So I’m keeping busy, but looking for the next exciting thing.”

“This year has been a difficult one. I did a series last year in London that I’m immensely proud of, called The Smoke, and I was fully immersed in that all year last year and expected to be doing it again this year but sadly, it didn’t get recommissioned. It’s always a knock back when you get into so many great relationships and the show seemed to be a success. That put a dampener on the year, because that was meant to be what I was doing this year as well.”

Bamber notes the shift within the television industry and having had the unique perspective of moving within both as a working actor, he reveals how the industry is in an interesting time currently, which poses a good share of challenges for everyone involved. Where the US has generally been quite comfortable in extending and fleshing out their television series’, Bamber comments on the difference between this element of US productions and the British equivalents.

“My career over the last 15 years has spanned a big change in television.” he admits. “Battlestar Galactica was very much at the vanguard of this big move…The UK has always had the calling card of the eight episode series. Now it’s really started to create content for the world and not just for the UK and they’re doing it really effectively. You’ve got 24 going over there and making a series, our Law & Order went over there – the UK is going through a really good time and I’m very happy that’s happening, because for a while there in the years I spent over here initially, I really didn’t see much to be excited about with the UK. It’s really picked up now.”

“There are some real challenges,” Bamber notes of the rise in the way television series’ are being accessed. “It’s not the traditional route. The US is so entrenched in its ways with its network television and it’s having to reinvent itself very, very quickly, because there is a shift to the internet. There are a few challenges and some people are being left behind, because it’s very hard for them and the business model is changing. For us, working within it, it is a confusing time as well as an exciting time. Some of the most creative people who get it, they’re the ones who make it out well and then there are those who were maybe satisfied with the ways things were going and don’t change and adapt, they’re the ones who are left behind.”

On the way the Australian industry fits into the wider scheme of things, it’s no new discovery that of late, Australian actors have been doing well in the American market. Not only have our actors been doing well, but Australian TV shows have been making the transition over to American crowds and networks successfully as well. Chris Lilley is just one example. It’s this upswing Bamber associated with the UK industry that seems to be happening within our own scene, making for a very interesting time in the entertainment industry as whole.

“Oh yes!” Bamber agrees. “With Underbelly and all of those shows too, they’re coming over here. The Australian film industry has always been fantastically creative, but the television side seems to be geared towards more soaps and stuff, at least from my perspective, growing up in the UK! But now you are creating some really strong TV and it is a global market these days. People want to consume stuff from Scandinavia, from France, from wherever and television audiences are much more sophisticated. It’s a great time.”

Jamie Bamber will be getting about at the Supanova expos in Adelaide this weekend (November 21-23) and Brisbane at the end of the month (November 28-30). Head to www.supanova.com.au for more information!

 

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