Still, no casting director could have conceived that the face of pure evil would come from the shadows of the real-life structure that Ken based Kingsbridge Cathedral upon. The part of hateful brute William Hamleigh went to Trinity star David Oakes, whose father, Jeremy, is a canon at Follett's beloved Salisbury Cathedral. David was also educated at the Bishop Wordsworth School in the Salisbury Cathedral Close. "Sometimes stuff comes along and it just falls into place," he says. "I really grew up with the cathedral in my life."
Ken Follett on casting the film's villains.
David says the cathedral was also at the heart of one of the most important lessons he learned as a child. "[The headmaster] said: 'The cathedral is the most amazing thing. When you're feeling a bit above yourself and a bit pompous and a bit big-headed, you look up at the cathedral and it'll put you right back into place. But when you're feeling insecure and vulnerable and needing some support, you can look up to the cathedral and it will pull you up to its level. You'll get all the support you'll need.'"
This notion of faith, David says, served him well during filming. "That kind of speaks to mind going into Pillars of the Earth," he says. "The message sort of runs through."
The miniseries' legacy