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Behind The Scenes At Brooklands Museum with Colin Morgan & Katie McGrath

April 4, 2012 in Archive

Behind The Scenes at Brooklands Museum By Alison Jane Reid

I love to interview talented, fascinating, chameleons – the icons and role models that define our age. I also have another passion for directing beautiful, unashamedly, escapist fashion stories. During a meeting with the rather dashing new editor of The Lady Magazine, Matt Warren, I mention how I would love to revive the once celebrated fashion pages, and quick as a flash he says, ‘ okay, show us what you can do.’

I accept the challenge immediately, and I know at once who I want as my muse. Colin Morgan, the remarkable actor from Armagh in Northern Ireland, who has succeeded in redefining one of the great romantic characters in our history – Merlin. Interviewing him for the Lady’s arts pages has been the highlight of the year. When I met Colin, I was struck by how different he looked from his geeky, rather Hobbit-like persona in Merlin. His blue eyes glitter with intelligence and compassion, and a rare, lovely charisma; and better still he is so unexpectedly gorgeous!

Colin says ‘yes’, because he enjoyed our interview. (I didn’t once ask him about favourite pizza toppings or first dates), and his bewitching co-star, Katie McGrath soon follows suit.  I race over to The Lady’s glorious HQ in Covent Garden in search of inspiration, and find it deep in the archives, (very much like Hogwarts), gazing at impossibly lovely flappers and their beau’s, with all manner of props from peacocks to castles. I know I want to recreate this revolutionary period in fashion and in society with a Roaring Twenties fashion adventure with a 21st Century twist. Colin will be my latterday Gatsby and Katie will be Daisy Buchanan and Wallace Simpson rolled into one!  Now, all I need is the perfect backdrop.

Brooklands Museum, a hop and a skip down the  motorway from London proves just perfect – an extraordinarily exciting place, steeped in history and daring. This is the place where beautiful racing machines, historic planes and unadulterated glamour come together in one, intoxicating, adrenalin-charged homage to a spirit of adventure!

Three weeks later the day of the fashion feature arrives. Colin is the first to arrive, and walks into the clubroom at Brooklands, which is now piled high with ravishing, handpainted dresses, twinkling jewels and rather dashing Savile Row suits. I love the idea of strong, bold colours, for my 21st Century Gatsby. And I have a hunch that Colin will look amazing in pillar-box red. So, we’ve selected a very cute, red cashmere cardigan for him to wear that will look striking against his Celtic skin tones and raven hair. My lovely students, Maria and Roisin completely, and rather sweetly, fail to recognise Colin from Merlin, and happily let him muck in and carry boxes and props for the shoot. Colin is a star, but he isn’t the least bit arrogant. He is warm-hearted and friendly to everyone. Even so, there were blushes all round when I stop trying to do a hundred and one things at once, and properly introduce him to everyone.

Colin surveys the rails of silk, satin and lace, and thanks me for my powers of organization and an overactive imagination! (Who wouldn’t want to take him home to meet your parents)? After promising him that he won’t go hungry at lunch, I’ve organized a delicious vegan picnic, he tells me that he usually brings his own sandwich to work to avoid complete starvation. What a terrible thought. By this stage everyone is hopelessly smitten with him. I hand out Naked chocolate and orange bars (Colin really loves dark Vegan chocolate) to keep everyone’s energy high and Colin tells me he is a big fan of  Rainforest Creations –  a company who are part of the amazing raw food revolution sweeping through London at the moment. They set up their wonderfully colourful stalls in Spitalfields, Hammersmith and  Chelsea, and sell the most vibrant, living gourmet street food made from fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. Colin likes to hang out with friends and share delicious food that satisfies the heart, the soul and the brain.  Soon it is time to  introduce Col to Florence, our lovely film-schooled hair stylist who is going to mould his thick, luxuriant hair into a sleek, debonair crop, a la Jay Gatsby, using delicious smelling organic styling products which smell good enough to eat.

At this point Katie finally arrives, after her car took a slight detour, wearing jeans and not a scrap of makeup, and still managing to look like a young Princess Margaret, with eyes you could drown in and a force of nature personality to match – no wonder she is cast as Morgana Le Fey in Merlin.

After a fair amount of teasing and catching up (Col and Katie are good friends) Katie tries on her first outfit of the day – a ladylike, wonderfully feminine, tailored, suit by London Fashion week discovery, Hemyka. Oh my! No one can do imperious, regal and ravishingly beautiful all in a moment  – it won’t be long before Katie McGrath comes to the attention of Karl Largerfeld at Chanel or bags herself a beauty campaign. As for Colin, I am sure you will all agree that I should introduce him to his hero, David Attenborough, and let the two of them get on with the very serious business of saving the planet together!

To be continued….


Writing, Art Direction & Styling Alison Jane Reid – Copyright April 2012

Photos Copyright Mike Owen Alison Jane Reid  March 2012 To contact Mike  go to – www.mikeowenphotography.com

Download PDF of this Fashion Piece for The Lady Magazine Published March 23rd 2012


about the author

Alison Jane Reid

Alison Jane Reid - Journalist, Editor & Emerald Princess of Slow, Sustainable Luxury Living - 18 year track record interviewing real icons for: The Times, The Lady, You, The Mirror and Country Life. Now leading her alluring fairtrade, emerald revolution - Don’t Miss Out - Have you joined The Ethical Hedonist set?

25 responses to “Behind The Scenes At Brooklands Museum with Colin Morgan & Katie McGrath”

  1. HD says:

    I love every detail mentioned about how amazing and perfect Colin Morgan is. Thank you!

  2. VANH says:

    Colin Morgan is the reason why I watch Merlin. He’s an amazing actor and the kindest person ever. I love reading this story of the photoshoot. Thank you!

  3. ColinMorganFan says:


  4. Lucia says:

    COLIN MORGAN shows so numerous and beautiful qualities! He really is like a saint! One of his co-workers said that about him and he was right! Thank you for this story.

  5. DAR says:

    I love Colin Morgan even more! His fantastic acting skills, his loveliness and his perfect personality make him a dream on earth. This article is million times worth reading and has to be appreciated. Thank you.

  6. a... says:

    He is so amazingly talented and beautiful, and I couldn’t possibly ask for better photoshoot. Katie McGrath is awesome as well!

  7. Vic. says:

    Your job it’s fantastic. You’ve captured the essence of these classic times with glamorous acurately. Great work.
    And ¡oh my *!, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I’m truly waiting the second part of this chronicle!

  8. angela says:

    Colin Morgan is just perfect!

  9. AColinMerlinFan says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely interviews, photos and bts stuff. That was a lovely, wonderful shoot!!! You are THE hero to the Merlin fandom right now. By chance, will you still be posting that Katie McGrath interview you mention awhile back?

  10. CC fan says:

    Colin Morgan must be an angel coming from paradise. He is so fantastic, professionally and personally ! I am his biggest fan. Thank you for sharing all those details and facts about our gorgeous Colin !

  11. MM says:

    Colin Morgan is elegance, grace, kindness and intelligence incarnated! Great article. Thank you!

  12. ColinMorgan Fan says:

    Colin Morgan is a sweetheart, as if being one of the most amazing and gorgeous actors of his generation wasn’t already enough. COlin Morgan is definitely “very special”. Thank you for writing it and confirming it through your very well written story, Miss Reid!

  13. Voltaire says:

    What a lovely idea you had to give the opportunity to the very handsome Colin Morgan to model in a Gatsby inspired photoshoot! It’s a style that suits him so well! Well, I think that every style suits Colin excellently. But it goes beyond saying that Colin looks perfect et shows the most respectful and adorable behaviour I have ever seen in a man. Colin is so exceptional! I hope you’ll give us to read more about COLIN in the part two of your article! Thank you.

  14. Awa Diakité Colin Big Fan says:

    Colin Morgan is a great actor and I love him more!!!!!
    His photo-shoot with Katie McGrath in The Lady Magazine is so good!!!!
    And thank you for this interview!

  15. Eiralys76 says:

    Fantastic article so far, so cute that the assistants didn’t recognize Colin. Really loved the photo shoot, was fantastic to see Colin and Katie looking so different from their Merlin characters.

  16. Jude says:

    Is this guy for real??? Hugely talented, intelligent, charming, a bit of an environmentalist, enjoys yoga AND cooking, ALL THESE whilst looking like *THAT*…. the eyes+the lips+the long lean sexy bod! ♥♥♥ YUM!

  17. Elle says:

    Lovely article, Colin sounds like a nice, humble guy.

    I cannot wait for the Bradley James/Angel Coulby shoot!!!!

  18. Hania says:

    Colin Morgan is a total sweetheart. I admire hi so much: He’s an amazing actor, a wonderful person preoccupied by nature, environment, health, and he’s also the kindest, nicest, and most gorgeous man ever! Love him so very much! Alison, thank you for sharing so much about him with us. Your admiration for Colin Morgan is shared.

  19. It's time says:

    To me, Colin Morgan has always been gorgeous, even while portraying Merlin. Merlin is not only adorable, but also very handsome, with a gorgeous face, lovely big blue eyes, perfect smile and beautiful looks. So, it has never been a surprise to see Colin as this gorgeous model in this photoshoot.

    Anyways, thank you for this great article. All the Colin Morgan facts and all the mentions painting the fantastic looks, charisma and personality of Colin are so fascinating!

  20. Amélie says:

    I agree with all I have read about Colin. It is time now that a great producer offers him a good character in a romantical comedy so he can reach a bigger audience. I speak especially for french public because here the serie Merlin is not that much known because of a very bad programmations on the TV. I saw it once by chance – because I am fan of british series anyway – and watch it now in buying the DVD . Right on the first time I felt Colin’s charisma. He deserves an international carreer as well as Hugh Grant or Jude Law.

  21. Anisa Syahdadewi Hapsari says:

    I personally think that Colin is the only young actor who has almost all the requirements to be a perfect role model, he’s humble, he cares about the environment and health, he is smart, and she acted very ‘honest’. Thank you for this wonderful article, Alison! Greetings from Indonesian Colin fans!

  22. LoveHim says:

    Colin Morgan is perfection incarnated. He’s beautiful in and out. His acting is perfect, his performances on screens and on stage are brilliant and his attitude is inspiring. He makes the world better and I’m happy each time I read something about him, see him on photos and on screens, or hear about him. His beautiful smiling eyes are gold. I love him for everything he stands for and represents. So, thank you for this story that reinforces my admiration for Colin Morgan.

  23. Olga says:

    Well, well, well… When I first spotted Katie in Merlin, I thought that she’d make an exquisite Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited (better imagine the abomination that Jarrold unleashed upon the world never happened), and here she is, a perfect flapper beauty!

    But it’s our wee lad Colin who was *big* revelation in this photoshoot, all grown-up and dapper and dashing. Some drastic contrast with his Merlin’s elfin, dewy, downy, baby deer loveliness, he seems to step right out of Waugh/Noel Coward/Maugham’s story.

    I bet that with side-part and vowels polished into stratospheric poshnes he & Katie will be brilliant in some Bright Young Things-related comedy.

  24. JaneJill says:

    Wonderful idea and lavish style!… It’s an absolute pleasure to read your articles — loved the interview with Colin…
    Colin… Colin is a revelation … ‘Brilliant’, ‘fantastic’, ‘charming’ or ‘charismatic’, ‘special’ or ‘gorgeous’, ‘warm’ and ‘extra-ordinarily (sic!) intelligent’, ‘deep’ [in fact, it is ‘high and deep’ !] and ‘with a huge emotional range’ and so on, are not enough; and more, the current comparisons with other actors are not enough either… He IS on the A-list of the greatest actors ever, since he already is a mature artist — they should take him seriously … I hope to see him in some major roles later… loved his portraits as Merlin, Cathal, Calum, and his monologues in RSAMD …
    Also, waiting for another fashion story with CM — what ‘epoch’ would you choose?

  25. JaneJill says:

    Wonderful idea, lavish style… loved the interview with Colin…
    Colin Morgan… Colin is a revelation… ‘Brilliant’ or ‘inspiring’, ‘charming’ or ‘charismatic’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘extra-ordinarily intelligent’ [sic!], ‘deep’ [in fact, it is ‘high and deep’!] and ‘with a huge emotional range’, and so on, and so on, — it is not enough… The comparisons made until now with other actors [from what I read here or elsewhere] are not enough either… Since he already is a mature artist [have you seen his monologues from RSAMD, while still very young?], he IS on the A-list of the greatest actors ever… They should take him seriously — I’m waiting to see him in some really great roles… loved the prtraits of merlin, Cathal, Calum…
    Could we expect another fashion show, in another ‘epoch’ ? ‘Time travelling’ like this really suits him…

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