Six Facts About Van der Valk Star Marc Warren

MASTERPIECE fans can see star Marc Warren in not one, but two 2020 MASTERPIECE series — Beecham House and Van der Valk. But there’s more to know about Van der Valk‘s leading man. Learn about his most memorable roles, one of his favorite spots in the world, and more.

See Warren in Van der Valk, premiering Sunday, September 13, 2020, 9/8c and on PBS Passport.


  1. 1.

    He has a face for villains

    After leaving drama school weeks after enrolling, Warren eventually found his break with a lead role in 1999’s British cop-show The Vice. That same year, he starred as Edward “Monks” Leeford (a villain) in Oliver Twist. In the years following, he has racked up quite a few villainous roles in projects including Men Only, Boston Kickout, and State of Play, to name a few.

    “I’ve definitely played my fair share of villains since,” he told The Guardian. “It’s just the face.”

    His most recent villainous role was his turn as John Beecham’s backstabbing friend, Samuel Parker, in Beecham House.

  2. 2.

    He can't pick just one favorite role...but knows the most difficult

    For an actor with scores of credits to his name spanning back to the 1980s, when asked what role was most special to him, Warren understandably couldn’t choose just one.

    “People often ask that,” he said in one interview with HeyUGuys. “Things that stand out…doing Mad Dogs was an incredible working experience, because it was working with 3 of my best pals…I did Oliver Twist where I played Monks, that kind of was a game-changer for me. State of Play, I had a fantastic part in that, I had a great coat.”

    But one thing he can name is the most difficult role he’s ever played—the role of real-life American World War II soldier Master Sergeant Albert Blithe in the award winning series Band of Brothers. “Band of Brothers was, I think, the hardest job I did, in that it was like being a soldier for real. It was – oh God, that was hard. Really hard. But the final product was great.”

  3. 3.

    He loves dogs

    Dutch detective Piet Van der Valk is streetwise and tough, but has a soft spot for a particular canine character that appears in the show — and so does Warren.

    “Trojan is a retired police dog belonging to Dahlman [Van der Valk’s boss in the show]. “Van der Valk loves that dog – I love all dogs so it was great to interact with him on set,” Warren said. “The thing with acting with a dog is… forget about anyone looking at you, everything you aspire to do as an actor, the dog just does naturally. I think it is nice for the character that he obviously does have a warm side. He also feeds him too many treats which his boss doesn’t like.”

  4. 4.

    He once starred in a stage adaptation of Paul Newman’s classic Cool Hand Luke

    One of Paul Newman’s standout films, which was originally a book, came to life on stage nearly a decade ago, with Marc Warren bringing to life the role of the eponymous prisoner Luke. Warren ate many, many hard boiled eggs for the role (he guessed perhaps 40 over 5 days), emulating when Luke ate 50 eggs on a bet in the film.

    Warren knew there was no comparing to the legendary Newman. “You’re on a hiding to nothing [no chance of success] if you try to compete with Newman, one of the great stars,” Warren told The Guardian.

  5. 5.

    He enjoys filming period dramas

    While Van der Valk may be a contemporary mystery series, Warren also loves filming period pieces. Warren has been seen in Oliver Twist, The Musketeers, Beecham House and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    “I’ve been in a few period dramas and I really like doing them,” he said. “Often the most challenging thing in a period drama is just the costume. One of the greatest filming experiences for me was doing Alan Bleasdale’s Oliver Twist. I really loved that because it was a really memorable experience. You just go into another world and if it’s done well it looks wonderful, you look great because you’re wearing these incredible costumes, and it does all the work for you.”

  6. 6.

    India is one of his favorite places to visit

    On my visit there, there was a general feeling of friendliness, and a culture that I felt totally in tune with,” Warren told National Geographic in one interview. “India’s a great place and without meaning to sound glib, it’s the people who make it. I’d love to go back there.”

    Filming Beecham House in India, however, also had it’s challenges, according to Warren. “Unless you’ve been to India, it’s almost impossible to describe because it’s such a culture shock,” he said. “The poverty, the pollution, the beauty. You get to see such startling things, particularly when you’re in the city, like Jaipur. Things you’ve never seen before.”

    But still, Warren admitted, there was so much beauty and so much to enjoy during the filming experience there. ”It’s extraordinary when you’re filming with elephants and camels and hundreds of extras. They were some of the most bizarre and visual set-ups I’ve ever experienced.”

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