Johnny Flynn on the Hackney Marshes

Johnny Flynn is a talented stage and screen actor who is also a wonderful musician. You may have heard his theme tune for the brilliant TV comedy Detectorists, or seen him on the big screen in the recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, or on stage alongside Sir Mark Rylance in the acclaimed play “Jerusalem”.

In our first post lockdown episode, Johnny takes Matthew Bannister for a walk on the Hackney Marshes, a huge expanse of public land which has no fewer than 88 football pitches alongside a nature reserve which has grown up in disused gravel pits.

As well as singing his distinctive, haunting songs, Johnny relates his near miss with a bear on the Camino to Santiago and talks about his friendship with the nature writer Robert Macfarlane. He tells Matthew about his father – who was an actor and singer – about his own boyhood experiences of being a choral scholar at Winchester and the revelation of discovering Bob Dylan’s music as a teenager.

On song writing, Johnny says “It’s easier to produce complex music, but much harder to make music that sounds just right in its simplicity”.

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