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Former ‘Broadchurch’ star Jonathan Bailey ‘drew on own experiences’ for new gay stage role

The 'W1A' actor is starring in an updated West End revival of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’.

By Steve Brown

Former Broadchurch star Jonthan Bailey says he drew on his own experiences and those of his friends to prepare for his new gay stage role.

The 30-year-old British actor, who played Olly Stevens in the ITV detective drama series and also stars in BBC comedy W1A, is set to appear in an updated West End revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, in a role originally written for a woman.

Jonny plays a man named Jamie – formerly known as Amy – who is having doubts about tying the knot with his fiancé, and the Oxfordshire-born actor says he prepared for the part by thinking about his own life and by delving into queer literature.

“I read books such as [former Attitude editor] Matthew Todd’s Straight Jacket and The Velvet Rage [by Alan Downs]”, he reveals in our new October issue – available to download and to order globally now.


Jonathan Bailey, shot by Markus Bidaux exclusivley for the October issue of Attitude.

“And also just thinking about my experiences and those of my friends, how they are and how they see themselves in gay culture, what we aspire to and where we want to be in our relationships.”

Company – which also stars Broadway legend Patti LuPone and former Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc – previews at the Gielgud Theatre in London this month before opening on October 17, and while the updated version isn’t necessarily designed to spark debate about equal marriage, Jonny stresses that the milestone certainly informs his performance.

“The thing I really like about it is that there is no question of them not being accepted, Bobbie’s best friend just happens to be marrying a man”, he says.

“Gay men should be able to get married, it shouldn’t be seen as a privilege, absolutely we should. But the question of, ‘Just because we can, should we?’ is an interesting one.

Jonathan Bailey played Olly Stevens in series one and two of ITV’s Broadchurch

“Suddenly you’re allowed to commit to someone and that is acknowledged by society in a way that it never had been before, when you had to fight your counter-culture.

“The idea of being a part of the bigger thing, being accepted in a legal sense, and how that affects the way you feel about yourself when you’ve always been ‘othered’… that’s what I’m bringing to it.”

You can buy tickets for Company here.

See Jonanthan’s full shoot and interview in the October issue of Attitude, out now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: 3 issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.