SWORDS AND SORCERY IN WORLD OF ATLANTIS

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Last year the BBC gave us Atlantis, the sort of dazzling adventure kids growing up in the Seventies could only dream of.

Now it’s back for a second run, and cast and crew have pulled out all the stops to entertain millions in the run up to Christmas.

The early minutes of episode one are a sombre affair as the locals mark the passing of the beloved King Minos.

It paves the way for war as Queen Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) clashes with former stepmother Pasiphae (Sarah Parish).

There are plenty of off-camera stabbings, while ever-reliable genre regular Mark Addy (aka Hercules) bemoans the chaos that unfolds.

For Parish, who’s been a fan of the fantasy genre for years, making both series has been something of a dream come true.

“I do like my science fiction, yeah,” she remarks.

“I’d done a Dr Who before and I’d done a Merlin, but I’d never really ventured into being a regular in a fantasy series, so it was lovely to be cast. All the lovely green screen stuff; fabulous.”

And not just that, she gets to play a femme fatale, which must be great fun.

“I know! I do. She’s incredibly evil,” she enthuses.

“I’ve played a lot of villains over the last few years - I kind of think someone’s trying to tell me something.”

Of course there are plenty of viewers coming to the series late. So if you’re one of them, Sarah sums up her character.

“She is a nasty piece of work, Pasiphae. She is manipulative and controlling and power hungry and selfish and murderous.

“Just not a nice person. She really wants the throne for herself and will do anything to get it basically.”

Greek legends are the staple of many blockbusters, but there was no guarantee series one of Atlantis would work.

So, was it a mixture of the scripts, the cast and the effects that created an international hit?

“The production company were the people who did Merlin, so they already had a template of something that worked well and all the crew had worked together before,” she explains.

“When we arrived on set on the first day, they all knew each other’s shorthand.

“It was a very 
easy set, you know?”

“There’s never any guarantee that anything is going to work, but I think because of that and because it was Greek mythology and everyone is fascinated with that and the stories were so good and also because of the cast... there was always a feeling of ‘Ooh, this is going to be good’.”

Given the fact that she’s a big fan of that other epic fantasy saga Game of Thrones (which fellow Atlantis star Mark Addy featured in years ago), would Ms Parish also like to appear in HBO’s ratings-busting saga?

“Yes, I love Game of Thrones,” she enthuses, though there is a caveat to appearing if the chance arose. “I’d like to play a good guy for once,” she laughs.