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éanna hardwicke in the sixth commandment interview

Éanna Hardwicke reveals it was ‘eerie’ portraying Ben Field in ‘devastating’ Sixth Commandment

‘I read everything I could. It was pretty horrendous’


Éanna Hardwicke has received rave reviews for his portrayal of Ben Field in BBC One’s The Sixth Commandment. The series details how Ben Field gaslit, manipulated and killed Peter Farquhar in a quiet town of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire.

Éanna, prior best known for his roles in Normal People and Lakeland, admitted that while the series was of top “quality” he felt a bit of “alchemy” about how it was would be received by audiences.

“It’s gratifying because it’s just great when people are moved by something and connect with it on an emotional level,” Éanna Hardwicke told The Irish Times in an interview.”Which I think people have with this show. It’s a devastating story. I’m just glad that it reached people. I knew the quality was there – because it’s in the writing.

“And you’ve got a great director and a brilliant cast. But there is still that bit of alchemy when it reaches an audience. That can be unpredictable. And it takes seeing it yourself for the first time to know what that is.”

via BBC

The Sixth Commandment was written by A Very British Scandal’s Sarah Phelps, who consulted the victim’s families have going ahead with the series. The Normal People actor said he didn’t think the series could have been made without the families being “on board”.

“That takes enormous courage I would imagine – to support this and be involved in that process. It meant a huge deal,” he explained.

“I haven’t got their full response. So I won’t say if they felt it was accurate or true. But I know they were involved in the initial development of the script. You couldn’t really tell that story without them.”

Éanna Hardwicke garnered attention following his portrayal of Rob in BBC Three’s Normal People and has received a positive reception for his current role. “Hardwicke rises to the challenge,” a review noted in the Financial Times. “He simultaneously portrays what Peter and Ann saw in Benjamin Field as well as the sociopath underneath.”

éanna hardwicke interview

via BBC

While he is able to “shake off” the role of Ben Field, Éanna is constantly reminded of the story itself.

“We are very close to the story every day. We are thinking about what actually happened every day. And that doesn’t go away. Because it’s a true story – because there’s a greater responsibility than there is with fictional stories. I spent every hour that I could thinking about the next day’s scenes. We always had proximity to the story. Peter and Ann are quite present,” Éanna Hardwicke told The Irish Times in an interview.

Despite not knowing the full story prior to landing the roles, the script “struck” him “by how devastating it was, but also how eerie it was”.

“In this tiny, tiny, very quiet village – to have people targeted for a particular vulnerability. It was pretty horrendous,” he said.

All episodes of The Sixth Commandment are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Martyn Smith was on trial alongside Ben Field, but what happened to him?

There are several ‘distressing’ details that were excluded from The Sixth Commandment

Where is Ben Field now? The Sixth Commandment tells the harrowing true story of his crimes