The broadcast date for the new series will be officially announced sometime today, but 9pm 1st October has been given on the Metro website, in an interview with James Nesbitt.
There is a gorgeous photo of Tom in the ITV press pack for series 2 of Monroe, along with a lovely interview with him, where he mentions his training schedule for Da Vinci's Demons. The press pack has detailed a synopsis for each episode, but read with caution, they are quite spoilery.
Making a return to the second series as Monroe’s anaesthetist and best friend, Laurence Shepherd, actor Tom Riley and series creator and writer Peter Bowker agreed to explore the consequences of when the ‘good guy’ does something bad. “Following the first series I met up with Peter to discuss Shepherd. Peter had great ideas about where he wanted to take the character and how his relationship with Bremner would play out across the second series.
Although Shepherd’s a good guy he does have a lot of bottled up anger inside of him, so it was interesting to think ‘what else could we do with him?’ Typically bad guys in shows are painted as darker characters but what if someone nice like Shepherd made a mistake, what would the fall out be? I thought this was a really interesting premise for my character and I felt excited about the challenge of bringing these ideas to life.”
As the second series moves on 18 months Shepherd is now living with Bremner and life has certainly changed for them. “Shepherd has moved in with Bremner and they now have a son, Louis. It’s all happened very quickly and it is difficult for them, but for the sake of their son, they’re trying to make their relationship work.
“The reason I care about Bremner and Shepherd’s relationship is because they’re both quite damaged individuals who have become experts at coping with that damage. Shepherd gives the outward appearance that he is able to charm and chat to people and be laid-back and good-natured when actually he finds it quite difficult to express himself properly. Bremner is completely closed off and can’t give him what he needs. They’re two people who are actually missing each other’s marks constantly.
“For me Shepherd is like a lot of guys who get to a certain stage in their lives when they realise they’re not really where they want to be. Perhaps their life hasn’t panned out how they wanted but they’re making the most of that. Consequently, Shepherd has a lot resentment and anger building inside, which he tends to repress.”
Explaining further, Tom adds: “Family life just happened too quickly for Shepherd. I think he is probably good at hitting all the correct beats, being a good dad and everything, but I don’t know if it’s the most natural of things for him.”
Cautious not to reveal too many spoilers Tom hints at how the ‘good guy’ turns bad. “In the first couple of episodes the relationship between Shepherd and Bremner is really tense. He isn’t getting anything he wants and feels completely unappreciated in every aspect of his life - at home with Bremner, and as ever playing second fiddle to Monroe at work. These emotions and feelings lead him to do something that will have serious implications in both areas.
“I want viewers to be torn about whether he is a baddy for what he’s done. What follows is extraordinary. That’s what’s really interesting about playing the weary ‘good guy’ in the series. What he does potentially could completely destroy him. ￼
“Trying to maintain Shepherd’s dry sense of humour and jokiness with Monroe, balanced with the culpability, you just want to do it justice and all of that has been quite hard. I’ve had to make sure I’ve done every facet of his personality justice without it looking fake and contrived.”
Whilst filming the second series of Monroe on location in Leeds, Tom was in training for his next television role in the Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions, Da Vinci’s Demons written by David S. Goyer - the co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises. “I’m playing the young Leonardo Da Vinci in a historical fantasy which follows the ‘untold’ story of the world's greatest genius during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Whilst filming Monroe in Leeds I was travelling to and from London to have meetings about the show. The role of Da Vinci requires me to be physically fit and the training schedule balanced with Monroe took it out of me slightly. A personal trainer would come up to Leeds and make me do an hour and a half of training every other day and forty-five minutes on the days in between. It was hard to go home after a twelve hour day filming and then physically work out for an hour and a half, but I did it.”