Edward Bluemel on Toby's gay kiss in The Halcyon: 'That was a big no back then!'

Edward Bluemel as Toby (on left).
Edward Bluemel as Toby (on left).

As the German bombs started to rain down on London in The Halcyon tonight, young aristocrat Toby Hamilton seemed to find solace in the arms of barman Adil…

While escaping the romantic clutches of an eager female wedding guest at The Halcyon, Toby Hamilton hid in the hotel’s cellar where he found barman Adil.

The pair had only given each other a 'look' before, but while alone together in close quarters this time they couldn’t resist a kiss. Being gay was of course a big no-no back in the 1940s, as well as being illegal, so how will their dangerous affair play out as The Halcyon continues on ITV?

What’s On TV went on set to speak to Edward Bluemel, who plays Toby, to find out more about his story…

It’s now been revealed that Toby is gay, although close observers of The Halcyon would have seen glances between he and Adil in previous episodes... “Yes, he’s secretly gay, as many were in those days. At the start of The Halcyon Toby doesn’t even know he’s gay, but it’s come out slowly but surely. It’s another thing that puts pressure on his position in the Hamilton family because obviously that was a big no back then. There are a lot of pressures on him, but he quietly goes about his business and he’s very clever. He’s a good judge of character definitely.”

He’s a very bright young lad, isn't he? “Yes very. He studies code-breaking and is a bit of a boffin. So I researched the famous wartime code-breaker Alan Turing, who like Toby was gay, so I’d say Toby is based essentially on Alan Turing.”

How would you says Toby get on with his mother Lady Hamilton, played by Olivia Williams? “They’ve got quite a nice relationship, even though she’s quite a scary lady. There are some nice moments between them where she does care for him and it shows that she does really love him, but thinks he’s a bit odd. The war has pushed them together a bit.”

Twins Freddie (left) and Toby (right) with their domineering widowed mother Lady Hamilton (Olivia Williams)

Twins Freddie (left) and Toby (right) with their domineering widowed mother Lady Hamilton (Olivia Williams)


What was it like first meeting Jamie Blackley, who plays Toby’s twin Freddie? “Yeah we walked in, looked at each other and thought, yeah I think it can work. There wasn’t too much pressure on the twin thing because we’re meant to be very different. We don’t look identical at all. It is interesting playing twins with someone though. I’m not a twin myself, but I’ve got an older brother and an older sister. There's no sibling rivalry with my real brother. He’s quite a bit older than me and we’ve gone down very different paths.”

It’s not that long since you left drama school – it must be wonderful to have The Halcyon as your first big TV role? “I graduated in July 2014, so I’m very happy. It’s great to get it this quickly, it’s a bit of a baptism of fire. This is my first huge scale production, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The Halcyon continues every Monday on ITV at 9pm


Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.