THE name is Payne, Ilyn Payne. He has no voice, but he doesn’t need one in his job, which is assassinating people.

The character of Ilyn is a sinister presence in the new big-budget medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones, which gets its UK premiere on Monday, on Sky Atlantic.

Ilyn Payne’s voice may be mute, but his face will look familiar. That’s because it belongs to legendary Canvey guitarist Wilko Johnson, of Dr Feelgood fame.

Wilko was headhunted for the role after the producers spotted him in the film Oil City Confidential, talking about the early days of Dr Feelgood.

“They said they wanted somebody really sinister who went around looking daggers at people before killing them,” Wilko says. “That made it easy. Looking daggers at people is what I do all the time, it’s like second nature to me.”

Wilko jumped at the offer of the part, not least because he plays a mute. “It meant I didn’t have to learn any lines,” he says.

But he soon came to understand why he had been cast.

“On the first day, I had to look evilly at this girl. So I sort of boggled at her. Afterwards, the American director came up to me and said ‘Wilko, you don’t have to act scary. You are scary.’”

Wilko says the experience was fantastic and he enjoyed watching film people at work. He says: “Everyone is working so intensely and so hard. It’s so different from rock ’n’ roll, where the main action is a load of lazy bums finally managing to get themselves out of bed.”

With three episodes in the can, Wilko says he has acquired the taste for acting. “Next up I’d like to play a bit of Shakespeare,” he says. “I’m a bit old for Romeo or Hamlet, but King Lear perhaps?”

Game of Thrones focuses on the struggle for power between different factions in the fictional Seven Kingdoms of the continent of Westeros. The programme’s producers have described it as “the Sopranos in Middle Earth”.

It starts its Sky Atlantic run at 9pm on Monday, April 18.