Richard Madden: Shooting mini-series Klondike made Game of Thrones feel like a “tropical holiday”

The Rob Stark actor talks about getting set on fire, nosebleeds, hypothermia and his face freezing while filming his new show in Canada

The unforgiving landscapes and brutal battle scenes of Game of Thrones made for notoriously tough filming, but former star Richard Madden says shooting his new series Klondike made the HBO fantasy drama feel like “a tropical holiday”.


“It was so hard filming Game of Thrones,” explained Madden. Northern Ireland and Iceland makes up the fantasy world of Westeros and beyond in the series. “Filmed in Ireland and Iceland – where the whole country’s covered in ice – it’s cold. [Filming was] miserable, really hard and wet,” said Madden.

However, one week into filming Discovery Channel’s new series Klondike in Canada put Madden’s Game of Thrones experience into perspective. “I got frostbite on my face on the second day of filming, actual frostbite on my face. My face froze,” said the star.

“On the second day of filming, I’m lying on a frozen lake [surrounded by] four massive fans the size of cars, with two men assigned to shovel snow at me, all while I’m lying in the middle of a lake. It was intense.”

The cold climates of the Rocky Mountains also gave Madden nosebleeds and hypothermia. “[Filming Klondike] made Game of Thrones seem quite easy,” he said. “[In Canada] there were a lot of nosebleeds… I also went a little hypothermic as well.”

However, the actor did enjoy doing his own stunts in the series. “I threw myself into river rapids, that wasn’t stunt men, I did that.

“I was set on fire at one point, which was really fun. I got to jump out of a window. There’s quite a lot of action stuff in there when you look at it as well as some really beautiful scenery.” 

Produced by Ridley Scott, five-part Discovery series Klondike is based on the American Gold Rush and the epic journeys people took to seek out their fortunes. It will also star Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) and Sam Shepherd (Mud, Black Hawk Down).

The Klondike five-part series starts at 9pm, Thursday 27 March on Discovery Channel. Game of Thrones 4 begins on April 7 on Sky Atlantic.

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