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TV Role for Perth Minister

Friday November 10 2023

The Rev Jim Stewart (right) on the set of The Buccaneers

A Church of Scotland minister has brushed shoulders with Hollywood celebrities after securing a  guest role in a new Apple TV  period drama.

The Rev Jim Stewart, minister at Perth: Letham St Mark’s made his appearance as ‘The Vicar’ in The Buccaneers which launched on Apple TV on November 8. The series is based on the final (and unfinished) novel by Edith Wharton and centres around a group of socially ambitious American families seeking to find a husband in Victorian Britain.

He applied after a friend tagged him on Facebook after Forge Productions (a company involved in the production) appealed for a real minister to take up the role.

Filming took place over five days at Gosford House near Aberlady, East Lothian in July 2022.

Jim explained: “As I was on holiday it seemed a fun thing to do and after a Covid test I was allowed on set to start the process of a costume fitting.

“It was incredibly hard work but utterly enjoyable.

“The location was Gosford House in East Lothian, a beautiful stately home that was perfect for the period drama - even though it was supposed to be 1870s New York.

“I played the role of the 'The Vicar.' In the end I was filmed in five separate scenes wrapped around the wedding of characters Lord Richard Marlborough and Conchita Closson. The role was originally a non-speaking part but after spending time with Susanna White, the director, she ‘eased’ me into speaking during the wedding ceremony. Susanna was also keen to know my opinion in how to set up the wedding ceremony.  

“I know now this was quite incredible that such an experienced director would value the views of a newbie on set but as I got to know her she expertly got the absolute best out of everyone she worked with.”

During the production Jim mingled with some well-known celebrities including Christina Hendricks (better known for her role in the Netflix advertising agency drama Mad Men) and Josh Dylan (who appeared in Mamma Mia 2 Here We Go Again!)

“As a complete novice to acting I had no expectations or much understanding of the protocols surrounding the principal actors. When I was with the principal actors they were generous and encouraging.

“I received warm encouragement from Christina Hendricks and Josh Dylan before my big wedding scene even though I fluffed my lines which meant a full reset before I nailed it. Simone Kirkby was especially helpful with a big hug at the end of a long day when everyone’s eyes were on you!”

Jim said he had found the whole experience ‘a great joy’

“It is a world I had no previous experience of and so I was quite raw walking onto set but I worked hard to understand the culture of a major Hollywood production. I really enjoyed meeting people regardless of their role.

“The supporting actors were a fascinating bunch from very diverse backgrounds, all the technical staff and the wardrobe and makeup women were a scream.”

Members of the congregation have yet to see their minister in his new role, he said.

“One or two in the congregation know but I’m sure they will just roll their eyes and think, ‘What has he done now?’”

The Perth minister said he would repeat the experience if the opportunity arose: “I would do it again and have had offers to play parts in the Netflix drama ‘The  Crown’ and another production which may well still happen. I’m a parish minister but if the timings work you never know what might happen.”

The Buccaneers is now available on Apple TV


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