Howards End: What's on TV interview

What's on Tv interviewed both Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen

Here are some of Matthew's questions and answers.

TV Times: How would you describe your characters?

Matthew Macfadyen: “Henry’s one of those manly men of that time who isn’t prone to bouts of introspection or navel-gazing or talking about feelings. He’s very confident and pig-headed.”


What’s their relationship like?

MM: “Henry doesn’t have the tools that Margaret has to deal with the complex situations that arise; he gets frightened. They’re probably not a natural match, but she’s attracted by his self-possession and it’s a slow burn.”

How important is class to the drama?

MM: “Hugely and it’s just wonderful. It’s about sex, money, power, and how people operate in society and that doesn’t go out of fashion does it? It’s fantastic because you see everyone’s point of view.”


The novel was previously adapted for an acclaimed 1992 film starring Anthony Hopkins as Henry and Emma Thompson as Margaret. Did you have any qualms about stepping into their footsteps?

MM: “Yes, I think you only ever feel thrilled to be doing the part and if wonderful people have played it before, then the more the merrier, and in a weird way it’s comforting to step into their footsteps.”


And Matthew, we have to ask about your rather lustrous beard – is it all your own?!

MM: “Ha ha! Well in the early days it wasn’t as lustrous as now so I spent a lot of time in the make up chair because they had to help it along with individual hairs attached with glue. But after filming, the beard is coming off. My children are getting increasingly worried about it!”