The Brunel year would not have been complete without a Brunel actor to play the part of Isambard at the various events, parties and attractions around the city. Martin Williamson was interviewed alongside many other Brunel applicants earlier in 2006, by Frances Bell and Kate Rambridge at the ss Great Britain. He was delighted to have been chosen for the role and never lost his enthusiasm, even after announcing one morning in the offices of the ss Great Britain that he had been Brunel for 40 days in a row!
Martin also visited 41 different schools, as Mr Brunel and whilst performing in the Brunel Puppet Show.
Speaking as his time as Brunel, Martin said:
“Having been Bristol born and bred, I was always aware of Brunel and his contribution to this wonderful city. However, landing the role of Mr Brunel has given me not only a wonderful insight into this brilliant and complex man but a truly wonderful and fulfilling year. To have become a professional actor only 13 months ago and to have had this marvellous opportunity to play Brunel has been a very lucky start for me, especially with all the indirect employment I’ve been engaged in as Brunel. I feel the entire Brunel 200 organisation has well and truly put the great Mr Brunel on the map. For years to come all children should learn about this man and his contemporaries and how they and Great Britain was at the forefront of technological progress. Thank you Brunel.”
Visitors over the Easter weekend certainly enjoyed the presence of Mr Brunel:
“IKB sat at our table with us for lunch. He was full of interesting information about his life and his character. It was really bringing history to life and making it interesting.”
“We were delighted to see Isambard to greet us when we arrived this morning, it gave a lot of authenticity to our visit today.”
“Had a long visit, enhanced by Mr Brunel’s extra, and very entertaining information. He looks like I imagine the young Isambard would have looked and fulfils his role excellently. I can just picture him with school children, really bringing the past to life for them. Well done Isambard.”
“Fascinating! Thought I was visiting a shipwreck and how wrong I was! Mr Brunel was very approachable with a great sense of humour – hope he gets to play the part in any forthcoming film!”
“A most helpful and knowledgeable Brunel, worked ceaselessly to create an excellent atmosphere. Children really enjoyed his enthusiasm and friendly approach.”
“The experience of being on the ship and meeting my hero has been more than I expected.”