MCM London: Watch The ‘Pennyworth’ Panel Featuring Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Paloma Faith & Bruno Heller
With Batman-related series ‘Pennyworth‘ arriving in the UK on the Starzplay Amazon Prime channel, it was the perfect time for the cast and showrunner to appear at MCM London Comic Con and chat about the drama.
The 10-episode, one-hour, drama is a DC origin story which follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon – ‘Endeavour’, The Loch’), a former British SAS soldier who forms a security company and goes to work with Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge – ‘Our Girl’, ‘Fleabag’), Bruce’s billionaire father, in 1960’s London.
On stage, we were joined by:
Creator and showrunner Bruno Heller, who is no stranger to the world and history of Batman, having previously created ‘Gotham’.
Jack Bannon who stars as Alfred Pennyworth, a boyishly handsome, cheerful, charming, clever young man from London. Honest, open-faced and witty; you’d never take him for an SAS killer. Alfred doesn’t know how to reconcile the kind-hearted boy he used to be with the cold, calculated killer he was forced to become. He’s a man on the make, who doesn’t know what to make of himself yet.
Ben Aldridge who portrays Thomas Wayne, the young, fresh-faced billionaire hailing from the East Coast of the United States. Confident and extremely disciplined, this young aristocrat meets an unlikely business partner in Alfred Pennyworth.
And Paloma Faith, who plays the wonderfully bonkers Bet Sykes. I don’t think it is unreasonable to call Sykes something of a sociopath… Whilst I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the first episode, she is somewhat instrumental in pulling Wayne and Pennyworth together.
Set in an interesting alt-history, almost steampunk-style 1960s London, the series follows the young Pennyworth as he begins to figure out his post-army life. When we first meet him he is trying to get his new security firm off the ground, but until that grand plan comes to fruition, he finds himself working as a bouncer for a local nightclub. It is at this venue he meets the young dancer Esme, played by Emma Corrin (who can next be seen in ‘The Crown’ playing the young Diana Spencer). It is also here that “Alfie” has his first encounter with Thomas Wayne, although, most definitely not his last.
In the panel, Heller talks about the decision to create this stylised version of London, and why he decided to delve further into the Batman mythology. In the casting of Alfred, he jokes “we were looking for intelligence, wit and charm… and we didn’t get it but we got Jack Bannon instead!” Jack himself talks about what drew him to the part, and how the great Sir Michael Caine inspired him in the role, whilst Ben discusses exploring the previously unknown backstory to the character of Wayne senior. Paloma reveals how her mother had basically been training her for a role set in the 60s since childhood, and how she doesn’t see Sykes as the monster that she may seem to other people.
One big piece of news from the panel came when Heller revealed that Season 2 is already underway. “There is a plan for Season 2 and we’ve started writing it,” he commented. “Hopefully, we’ll start shooting it in January .”
For those of you confused as to what is Starzplay, it is an addition “add-on” channel you can get via Amazon Prime Video, Virgin Media and Apple TV. This is an additional service and costs £4.99 a month. Over the past few months, it has been building a solid list of high-quality shows, making it well worth the additional fee, which you can turn on and off month by month, so if you want to subscribe for a few months and binge through things, then turn it off, go for it!
‘Pennyworth‘ Season 1 is available in full on Starzplay right now.