Mark Strong and Daniel Mays reveal Temple season 2 Secrets from the Set: 'The ending is pretty unexpected’

The stars of the Sky Max thriller talk exclusively about what to expect in the new series, how they got surgery scenes spot on, new additions to the cast and plans for season 3.

By Becky Gamester-Newton Published: 25 October 2021 - 1.34pm

Watch Temple season 2 on Sky Max and NOW from October 28

If there’s one thing that Temple isn’t, it’s your typical medical drama.

The thriller, starring Mark Strong and Daniel Mays, sees the pair’s characters operate an underground clinic for people who aren’t in a position to use a hospital (that’d be criminals, mainly).

With twists and turns, action scenes, medical gore and a sprinkling of dark humour, it comes as no surprise that the show is back for a second season.

The pair spoke exclusively to BT.com about the latest instalment and how they’re already planning a third season…

Temple season 2: Everything you need to know

Temple season 2

Tune in for all the gore

The show involves medical surgery, so there are certain scenes where squeamish viewers may need to look away.

Mark admitted he was concerned season 1 might have been too much for some viewers, but they had a more relaxed approach for season 2.

“I do remember at the time thinking, are people going to be able to handle this? Because a lot of people get very squeamish so they can't see it.

“So we were a bit blasé this time around, but I think having established the fact that there are operations in and he's a surgeon, that was the storyline that we had to continue.”

Daniel laughed: “You do see pretty much open heart surgery in this season - tune in, folks!”

Mark Strong and Daniel Mays in Temple season 2

The White Lines actor added that he didn’t feel uneasy filming the medical scenes, but in real life it would be a different story.

“I don't know whether it's because I've done two seasons on Temple now, I don't feel like I am at all squeamish. In reality, I would probably wager it’s completely different! I think I would probably crumble, but who knows?”

Mark, who’s also an executive producer on the show, said he felt it was crucial to use medical experts to ensure the surgery scenes look authentic.

“We had a lovely guy called Chris who was there on set all the time. The truth is, you want to get it right. There’s only a small number of people who know genuinely how surgery works, so it's not as if you're going to be disappointing a huge number of people if you get it wrong.

"But as an actor, you just want to make sure that you're doing the thing properly so that if a surgeon does see it, at least they won't be going ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous, that's not true’,” he said.

He added that he was shocked by how brutal the surgery can look.

“The way we you did cuts… how you get your hands into the body - that was the thing that surprised me most. You can literally go up to your wrists in order to work the organs.”

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‘Covid did have its advantages!’

The new series has more of a focus above ground, and the pair revealed it was actually easier to get access to certain locations in central London than it would have been before the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s definitely not set so much in the bunker beneath Temple Tube station. So much more of the action takes place on street level,” Daniel revealed.

“Bank station, the huge protest scene there, you'd never [have as much space] - it would be packed full of people. So Covid did have its advantages, I guess!”

The protest scene outside the Bank of England

Mark added: “It was it was easier because we got access to buildings that you wouldn't normally get access to. There's a sequence in a lift, for example, that Carice’s character does and you’d never get in that building. Normally there were 1,500 people work in that building, and there were about 100 on the day that we were there, so we had space.

“Also, we shot scenes in Gerrard Street in Soho and Piccadilly Circus and Bar Italia in the evening - those places you wouldn't get into in a million years.”

High praise for new additions Rhys Ifans and Michael Smiley

In the new season, Rhys Ifans joins the cast as underworld fixer Gubby alongside his assistant Dermot, played by Michael Smiley.

Both Daniel and Mark were full of praise for the duo.

Rhys Ifans in Temple season 2

Daniel said: “[Rhys] was an absolute joy. I've met Rhys sociably a few times. I can say he’s absolutely nothing like the character he plays in this, Gubby! But he’s just a true pro and he just adds such an element of threat and danger to this season. He was just a wonderful addition.”

Mark added: “You need a nemesis. You know, you've got a hero and anti-hero. You've got to have some kind of threat in order to make the story interesting, and that's what Rhys brought to the table. 

Michael Smiley in Temple season 2

“Let's not forget Michael Smiley as well, who plays Dermot - his sort of assistant. Michael is a terrific actor and an incredible comedian in his own right. He brings an awful lot to the show, so we were really lucky to have him.”

‘We’re working’ on season three

Mark revealed that planning had already taken place for season 3, though its fruition as always depends on the reception for season 2.

But the pair seem confident that season 2 will be as – if not more – popular than the first.

Mark revealed: “We're working on it! There’s a couple of scripts that we've written and a treatment. It’s there, depending on how we do. We need people to watch and get the numbers, but there's a really interesting thing planned for season 3.”

Daniel believes the second series is even better than the first.

“I think the stakes of the game, particularly for Mark's character Daniel, have just been raised 10 fold. It’s much more emotional, higher stakes, with tons of jeopardy in it. I think it's an amazing journey that we go on this season.”

Mark Strong and Rhys Ifans in Temple season 2

And he teased that fans had something to look forward to at the end of season 2.

“The climax of season 2 is just as good, if not better, than the big climatic end to this first season. It leaves it wide open and you can pretty much take the story any way you want to, which is really exciting.”

Mark added: “It's pretty unexpected, what happens at the end.

“We’re really pleased with it, and we feel that the whole series this time around has just improved. It’s just got better. We got more confident with it. We know what people enjoy about it. We've taken all those elements and just made them all better.”

Watch Temple season 2 on Sky Max and NOW from Thursday, October 28.

Temple season 1 is streaming now.