Matthew Goode: I’m in the Downton Abbey film – but I’m just popping in at the end

The star of Sky1's new supernatural drama A Discovery of Witches discusses his TV viewing habits – and his return to Highclere Castle...

Matthew Goode

What’s the view from your north London sofa?

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I sit in the snug and watch the TV above the fireplace. I can see the cooker from the sofa, which is good, as I may have something on the go on the stove while I watch. We’ve only been living there for a year and a half but my wife [Sophie Dymoke] is an interior designer so she knocked the walls down and put in new furniture. We have a big L-shaped thing that we can get eight people on. My wife’s mother likes the L part where she can put her feet up, which she deserves at her age.

Do you have a big TV to match that big sofa?

I would have preferred the TV to be slightly bigger but my wife didn’t want it to take over the house. I think we’ve both come to the conclusion that I was correct and we needed a bigger telly.

What do you watch?

A lot of sport – particularly golf, unfortunately for my other half. She’ll watch a bit of the Masters with me but I lose her for the rest of the year. I tell her it’s a really important week for golf and she’ll say, “Argh, in what way is this more important than last week?” I listen to test match cricket on the radio and love The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show. They’re two very nice men – I met Mr Vaughan at a golf event and Mr Tufnell at Wimbledon this year. I do work occasionally, I really do…

What! Only sport?

We recently watched Goliath with Billy Bob Thornton, it was odd and brilliant. There’s just so much to watch, isn’t there? Children today don’t know they’re alive! They don’t know how lucky they are! They’ve got phones, TVs, computers, tablets. Back in the day we had four channels and it would be up to the parents what you watched. “We’re watching The Money Programme,” they’d say, and you’d go, “Ooooh great!”

Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode in in A Discovery of Witches (Sky, HF)
Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode in in A Discovery of Witches (Sky)

Are you and your wife strict with your children about how long they spend online?

We’re relaxed about the kids spending time on iPads, although I want to say, “Just watch some normal television, for the love of God!” I don’t think they should have access to TV whenever they want, carte blanche, but I watched a hefty hourage of TV when I was a kid, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d sneak down late at night and watch Barry Norman, who contributed to me wanting to be an actor. I loved the Film… show, especially when the Oscars came around and I’d video it. It was very exciting. Now the Oscars is just a giant pain in the bottom – it’s a five-hour show, it’s not particularly funny and you know who’s going to win.

You’re playing a vampire in A Discovery of Witches. What else have you got coming up?

Official Secrets, a film with Keira Knightley, Matt Smith and the bombastic and brilliant Ralph Fiennes. It’s about why and how we got into the Iraq war. I’m also doing Four Kids and It – a postmodern retelling of Five Children and It – with Michael Caine. And then there’s the Downton movie. I’m just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it.


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A Discovery of Witches airs on Fridays at 9pm on Sky 1. Watch the first episode from 2.00am on Friday for free at RadioTimes.com/witches