Karl Davies reveals his hellish preparation for The Crimson Field

Karl Davies returns to First World War drama The Crimson Field this Sunday when his character Corporal Prentiss finds himself back at the field hospital.

Prentiss – who we saw suffering from shellshock in the first episode of the series – should be back in England recuperating after Colonel Brett (Downton Abbey star Kevin Doyle) gave him ‘Blighty ticket’ and sent him home.

But unfortunately for poor Prentiss, the villainous sister Margaret (Kerry Fox) chose not to deliver it!

Now Prentiss is back at the field hospital and his condition is even worse than ever says Karl…

“It was a tricky role to prepare for,” says Karl, who starred as Robert Sugden in Emmerdale. “In my first audition I did the scene from the first episode – the one where he’s being accused of cowardice and homosexuality – because that was the only one with a lot of dialogue!”

Karl impressed the director at his first meeting, but the most important part of his audition was still to come. When Prentiss returns to The Crimson Field his condition has deteriorated and he has a series of fits and seizures upon hearing loud noises and the production team needed to make sure that Karl could play the part convincinginly!

“I was on another job over in Ireland when they came back and asked me how good I was at putting on a fit for the cameras,” he says. “So I got one of the crew on that production to film me having a fit in the middle of a field during my lunch-break one day.

“I was sort of guessing and making it up,” explains Karl. “I didn’t know what to expect or what happened to these lads – it was just described as a fit in the script. Once I got the role I was able to go ahead and research in a lot more depth.

“I read a few books and watched some old black and white footage from the final years of the war. Some of it was horrific, really horrendous to watch – what happened to these guys and what this did to them. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you hear they were accused of cowardice. They were going through hell.”