Rev stars Tom Hollander and James Wood the writer of the hit show talks about what it was like filming, blessing local alcoholics in his vicar costume, the idea and meaning behind Rev and why they think the viewers enjoy it.
“I thought I’d make an album and a few people would like it,” says singer-songwriter James Blunt. “And then maybe,” he adds, “I’d get a chance to make a second album.” It’s charming modesty when you realise that his debut album, Back To Bedlam (2004), actually sold more than three million copies. The stand-out hit from that record was the infectious number one single You’re Beautiful – an emotional hymn to a lost love. Lost love hasn’t plagued James, though. He’s been seen on the arm of many stylish women since he became an international star.
His ride to the top hasn’t been a conventional one. Born in 1974 into a military family in England – his father was in the army – he credits his mum with turning him on to music, encouraging him to play the recorder, violin and piano. But it was the guitar that caught his attention, because, as he puts it, he could take it away and experiment with sounds in the privacy of his own room. A spell at university studying sociology was funded with a British Army scholarship, which meant that he had to join the army and serve for a few years as part of the bargain. His army career saw him go to Kosovo in 1999 as part of a Nato force. “It was an aggressive moment,” he says, “and a huge responsibility… [with] decisions involving life and death”. It was while there that he came across the work of Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders), an organisation that he now actively supports.
He carried his guitar with him through the Balkans, strapped to a tank, and when he left the army pursued his dream to become a singer.
“I run my tours similarly to how I ran an army troop,” he jokes about his rock’n’roll tour of duty. “It’s amazing. I’m having the best time of my life.”