Noel Draper catches up with a Viking warlord to discuss Leeds, bandy, and Eddie the Eagle.

I have a small confession to make and it’s this…I am not a fan of the type of drama programmes that turn into box sets and judging by the amount of media concerning this relatively new phenomena I am completely and utterly alone in thinking this way.

Take ‘Game of Thrones’. The press would have you believe that everyone, and I mean everyone, has watched it. One of my friends started talking about it in the pub a few weeks ago and stopped mid sentence to ask if we had seen the episode he was about to talk about. My other friends nodded. I glazed over. He then continued, happy in the knowledge that he hadn’t given the game away, happy to have not ruined it for other people, happy not to have spoiled it for us. I’ve not seen more than 5 minutes of it and I have no idea why.

The same can be said for ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better call Saul’. I watched ‘Arrow’ and gave up after a few episodes. As I did with ‘True Detectives’ and ‘The Blacklist’. All tried and then dropped by the wayside, deleted from series record, gone and forgotten after a few episodes.

So you can imagine my trepidation when one of my favourite series of books had been adapted for television. ‘The Last Kingdom’ is based on Bernard Cornwell’s excellent ‘Warrior Chronicles’ novels, number nine is being written as I type, and tells the tale of a young boy, Uthred, who loses his lands to his Uncle before being captured by the Vikings, going onto fight for King Alfred against them as he knows their ‘ways’ and all the while looking to recapture his lost lands.

As I watched the first episode a certain relief washed over me. It was good, very good. Quite true to the books, beautifully shot and very well acted. At last I thought, here was a drama that I could watch week in and week out. Here was a drama that wouldn’t get its series link deleted. Here was a drama that I actually liked.

One of the many reasons why I liked what I was watching was the portrayal of the leader of the Danes, Ubba, by an ex professional footballer turned actor called Rune Temte. A big man, full of humour and with a willing roar, Ubba dominates every scene that he is in.

And yes, I am still watching it. My first drama that will be turned into a box set. I feel quite warm inside.

We caught up with Rune to discuss all things football, acting and…erm…Bandy.

The+Last+Kingdom+Photocall+qocx4ixO9bOlWhat was your first love, acting or football?

My first love was football and then a game called Bandy. It’s land hockey on ice.

Can you explain Bandy?

Hehe. It’s on ice. Like land hockey. It’s rough but not as rough as ice hockey. It’s a very fast game and nearly impossible to watch on television because of a small ball and being very fast. Great game, I played for the national team and have a bronze from the world championships. Mind you, there were only four countries in the competition…

What made you give up professional football?

I played for my club, Solberg, for several years and then moved up to a team called Fåberg who at the time were in the second highest level in Norway. It’s a small place just outside Lillyhammer. Then I went on to play for Strømsgodseth and was player of the year there in 1988. I also played two seasons for Frigg Oslo who at the time had some very good players including the Norwegian and PSV Eindhoven legend, Hallvar Thoresen. I finished my career because of my growing interest in acting. It was a huge move and decision.

How often do you get to see Strømsgodseth play?

5-6 times a year. Mostly at their home ground, Marienlyst.

Who is your current and all time favourite Strømsgodseth player?

Jostein Flo, ex-Sheffield United player and now the director of football at Strømsgodseth, Ulf Camitz who I played with at Strømsgodseth and Martin Ødegård the Real Madrid youngster who has already played for Norway at the age of 15.

Are there any rising stars we should be aware of?

Iver Fossum is great and there is, of course, the bad boy Marcus Pedersen, who made a great move from Brann Bergen to us this year and has scored a lot of important goals.

Do you support any English team?

Yes, Leeds United. I wrote a play called On the Ball which was about football, youth and sore nipples…and it is also about Leeds United. I managed to get Peter Lorimer’s signature for the programme.

If you could pick one player from the English Premier League to play at Strømsgodseth who would it be and why?

Jay Dasilva at Chelsea would have the skills to make any player in Norway dizzy.

Strømsgodseth finished second in the league this season, what hopes do you have for them next year?

I hope they will finish in the top three. They had an amazing season after Ronny Deila left to become Celtic’s manager and I was stunned that they came second with the group of very young players they have.

You scored one goal in your professional career…tap in or goal of the season?

That can’t be right…he he. Definitely goal of the season. It was a solo raid and I scored from an acute angle just between the post and the goalkeeper. My father went totally bananas in the stands as did the supporters. I was one of their favourites because I always gave my best. Plus I was a centre back that would scare anyone especially with my Dolph Lundgren haircut! I was as cool as a cucumber just like I had been scoring my whole life.

What was your first role as an actor?

A bisexual man called Ed in Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein. My parents were shaking for months worried that the role had taken over.

How different was it to walk onto a stage for the first time compared to walking onto a pitch in your first professional game?

It’s similar in a way in that you have all you need and that you are there to give your best and that people will applaud if you succeed but very different in what you are communicating and how you do it.

What has been your favourite role to play so far?

Ubba in The Last Kingdom, Puck in A Midsummer night’s dream and Bjørn in the forthcoming movie, Eddie the Eagle. Playing Hamlet was, of course, also incredible.

Were you a fan of Bernard Cornwell’s books before you got the part of Ubba?

I knew of them but when I read then I was very happy to be a part of his universe.

You have just finished filming for the movie Eddie the Eagle, had you heard about him before you went for the job?

Eddie Edwards was huge in Norway!! In the eighties he was always there and we loved him as kids.

What is life like on the set of a major film and what do you do to relieve the boredom?

I read. I kick a ball around if I can find one. Sleep. Eat. Generally prepare and go over my lines. It’s fun on set because people always want you to do your best so they do everything to please and help you. On set with Eddie we had fun with Dexter Fletcher, the director, Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton. Great guys. In Hungary shooting with The Last Kingdom, Carnival put together such a great creative team and cast, that it was like a dream even though it was hard work and long hours!

You have your own production company, what’s currently in the pipeline?

We are working on new projects for film and the theatre but at the moment I am doing a lot of meetings and self tapes for new projects that will hopefully bring me back on the UK screens very soon.

You can follow the mighty Rune on Twitter here