Masters of the Air star felt 'great responsibility' playing US airman

Masters of the Air actor Louis Greatorex has spoken of the huge responsibility he felt playing an American airman in a new TV drama.

Greatorex appears as navigator Joseph "Bubbles" Payne in the new Apple TV series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

The star admitted it "really hit home" when Capt Payne's family wrote to him after filming.

Payne flew with the "Bloody Hundredth" 100th Bomb Group in World War Two.

He was killed in action in April 1944, aged 23, during a mission over France.

Masters of the Air tells the story of Capt Payne's unit when it was stationed in Norfolk towards the end of the war, and its part in defeating Nazi Germany.

"It's a really incredible story, unbelievable, heart-breaking as well. Brotherhood, loss, triumph," said Greatorex.

"It's very moving and I hope that we have done these guys justice.

"On day one [of filming] it was instilled in us that this isn't just fun and games, we have a responsibility to tell the stories of these men and get it right.

"And since, members of Joe Payne's family have got in touch with me and sent me all kinds of articles, clippings and letters. It really hits home how big of a deal this is."

Filming for the nine-part series began in March 2021 and it has recently been released for streaming on the Apple platform.

Greatorex, 27, from Duffield in Derbyshire, said: "It's quite daunting, especially to find myself on a Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks set, I had to pinch myself a lot.

"It is made by the same team that produced Band of Brothers.

"It has the same intention behind it, it is a spiritual successor, but this is a different story that follows a different bunch of men."

Greatorex trained at the renowned Television Workshop acting school in Nottingham and is the latest in a line of acting talent it has produced including Jack O'Connell and Vicky McClure.

Later this year, he will appear in the movie Layla, which was shown last month at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

He said: "I'm incredibly grateful to have had the opportunities that I've had so far. I just want to enjoy every moment as it comes."

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