Batey described growing up in “a very musical household”, evidenced by his skilled performance as Jaskier. As a bard, Jaskier has several songs in the show, the most famous probably being Toss a Coin to Your Witcher from the first season, which took the Internet by a storm for its catchy tune and memorable lyrics.
It’s the sort of song you listen to once and never forget (as I can testify!), and Batey’s smooth, lilting voice certainly helps. The second season of The Witcher brought Batey performing Burn Butcher Burn, a song both humorous and heartbreaking, and a prison song sung to (or with?) rats that had me doubled over laughing, the title of which I shouldn’t write in a student newspaper.
Some of Batey’s earlier performances were on our very own Newcastle stages. His CV lists performances as Hamlet at The People’s Theatre in Heaton and Macbeth at The Journal Tyne Theatre. In 2014, Batey graced the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company as Mark Smeaton in Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies. An interview for this role shows Batey learning to play the lute - little did he know how valuable this skill would be for him five years later in The Witcher! The Witcher casting director Sophie Holland describes how Batey secured his role as Jaskier by playing a borrowed lute at his audition. As well as numerous stage roles, Batey has played several supporting roles in film and television.
It’s not just the lute Batey is familiar with, however; for his indie folk band The Amazing Devil, Batey has played the guitar (acoustic and electric), electric bass, drums, and piano, as well as synths. Batey is also the primary songwriter for his band. The Amazing Devil’s third album, Ruin, came out on Halloween 2021, shortly before The Witcher’s second season. Their first album, Love Run, has been described as “a masterpiece of swirling, brooding, often epic drama that manages to connect powerfully with our psyche.”
Notable for its fantastical lyrics that unite fairy tales with reality and soaring, soul-shaking music, The Amazing Devil showcases Batey’s musical talent as a performer and composer, and is certainly worth a listen.
Moving slightly away from his TV and music career, Batey has spoken of his love for the tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, having designed a D&D monster (thirteen eyed, six armed Greg the Horse), using his very own amethyst dice set.
Another perhaps surprising fact considering Batey’s mastery in the performing arts, is that his educational background was a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge.
With The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Hissrich having seven seasons planned, and season three already being in the works, as well as The Amazing Devil thriving, I look forward to seeing where Joey Batey’s career will take him next.