Ben Radcliffe on Masters of the Air

Flying high after the highly anticipated Masters Of The Air mini series and Christmastime short The Shepherd, British actor Ben Radcliffe has had a career-defining year. 

Notably a star on the rise, 25-year-old Ben Radcliffe had time to chat about his upcoming releases with hints at new projects in the works. He beamed, “It’s been a good year. The start of 2023 was great. I’ve been working on some exciting projects.”

Keeping himself busy with his own filmmaking and photography projects alongside acting, Ben has spent his time carefully during the strikes to stay creative with friends and getting on the property ladder.

When balancing all his different creative pursuits, Ben has focused his attention mostly on his long-standing acting career. He explained, “I’ve been making films for as long as I’ve been acting. I was debating when I was younger whether I wanted to be an actor or filmmaker and then I decided I wanted to be both. Someone told me that you must pick one. I ended up choosing acting, but I kept filmmaking going on the side. Last year, me and my friends had this amazing opportunity where we produced and directed our own film. We flew 20 cast and crew out to Bulgaria and filmed our own little, short film. It’s a silly film, but we think it’s hilarious.”

Full Look: Louis Vuitton

Developing both his acting career and skills as a filmmaker, Ben disclosed, “You learn a lot of the technical things that are important to know, to speed up the filmmaking process. But from my experience, when I got to direct that film, that made me feel really satisfied. As an actor, you spend a lot of time on set waiting around and not really doing much. But when I was working on my own project, my mind was full the whole time and I was focused nonstop.”

With his first acting debut at just two years old as an extra in Emmerdale, Ben recounted, “My mum used to push me in a pushchair around the set in the background. It was just something she used to do to fill the time.”

“I then got a job when I was seven. It was my first proper job on a kids show where I played a little boy who was weird and obsessed with snails. After that, I worked on a musical in London. That was where I really decided that this was something I wanted to do, because I just had so much fun. That’s kind of what it’s all about for me, having fun. I just want to enjoy myself and have a good time.”

Whilst working on set, Ben ensures he balances working hard on set and enjoying his time with a new cast and crew. He revealed, “As you know, it depends on the crew and the project and how heavy the content is. These shows that I’ve just been working on, don’t get me wrong, they are a lot of fun. But there’s a lot of pressure to be involved in a show of this scale, with the massive names that are attached to them, like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. With Austin, and Callum and Barry Keoghan, there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders.”

Full-grain leather coach jacket : MR P at MRPORTER, Vest: Sunspel, Trousers: Fendi

Taking inspiration from the acting processes of his castmates, Ben has carefully considered his acting when playing a real person. His character, John Brady, a war hero, was his source of inspiration. “You, of course, want to honour him at the same time.”

Filming Masters of the Air over two years ago, Ben has been eagerly anticipating its release. “There’s a lot of CGI work that they had to do. Which is crazy, because it was the most immersive experience I’ve ever had on a film set. You really did feel like you were there. Even the stuff we filmed on the planes, we acted in a thing called a volume, where these LED screens show what you would see. So, I’m flying, sitting in a real aeroplane, looking out the window and experiencing what it would look like if I was 30,000 feet up in the sky. You didn’t really have to do much acting to be honest, because it was all there for you.”

Whilst his experience on set for Masters of the Air was more immersive, Ben joked, “Most of the filming from The Shepherd was me sitting in an aeroplane, panicking.”

He added, “We chose to film a lot of that stuff in the plane in one continuous shot. So, I ran about 10 minutes worth of dialogue in one go. It really allowed me to just lose myself in it. But it also meant that it was like a hell of a lot of pressure to do 10-minute takes.”

Admitting to being more of an instincts-based actor, Ben allows himself to naturally fall into the character he is playing. He joked, “I feel like I am a good pilot at this point. I pretty much know how to fly both of those planes. The preparation we did for Masters of the Air meant that we had an actual flight instructor come in and teach us everything. I like to think that if I actually flew, maybe I’d be okay.”

Flying a de Havilland Vampire, a fighter jet from World War Two during his time on The Shepherd, Ben had extensive piloting lessons from a flight instructor. “As John Travolta is such an aviation enthusiast, he really wanted all the plane stuff to be as accurate as possible. I did a lot of research for that part and practised on what levers I would press, and which instruments I’d be looking at what time. I think it paid off, because after we went to watch the screening, an actual pilot came up to me and said it was some of the most believable piloting he’d ever seen on screen. It felt like it was all worth it.”

When Ben isn’t on set, he focuses his time on other activities like wakeboarding and sports. “If I had a choice, I’d just move somewhere, get a boat and wakeboard every day for the rest of my life. But I wouldn’t be able to fund it. I just love doing an activity.”

Cotton and wool crewneck, Striped poplin shirt : Dior Men

Revealing his love for travel as well, Ben reminisced on a trip to Iceland with a friend, which would later become part of his casting story for The Shepherd. “My agent called me and said, the Director of The Shepherd Iain Softley, wanted to have a meeting. I was in a camper van in Iceland. We pulled over in a supermarket car park the next day in our van. I set my laptop up and got the internet off my phone.”

He recalled, “I started the Zoom call where I’d be reading the scripts and the biggest storm you’ve ever seen just erupted outside. There was wind crashing against the side of the van. All you could hear was it just absolutely pouring down. Ian asked where I was due to the noise. When I got into the scene, it just suddenly seemed so appropriate, because it was kind of similar to what Freddie would be experiencing on the aeroplane, with all the wind howling against him and it had this ominous atmosphere to it. I think it really played in my favour, so that was quite funny. But that trip to Iceland was incredible.”

Speaking on his hopes for future roles, Ben explained, “I love to be moving around and I really enjoy acting that’s free and loose and not fixed. It’s a little rare that you get to do that on a film set all the time. It’s very much, ‘stand on this mark and stay there. Masters of the Air was one where we got to be so free and do whatever we wanted and walk wherever we wanted. I would really love to do something like that again.”

He added, “I think in every project I’ve done; you always get the opportunity to put as much of you and your ideas into the character. Masters of the Air was definitely a place where I learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence to try the things that I wanted to do. Whereas before, I was always staying on my mark. That opened a whole new world of acting for me, where I could be free and loose and more real.”

Masters of the Air will air on APPLE TV from January 26th.



Arved Colvin-Smith 


Sarah Harrison 


Kieron Lavine at The Visionaries Agency 


Lewis Hughes at Surface retouch