Blue Lights: Interview with Katherine Devlin who plays Annie

What were your thoughts when you first read the script?

I just loved how both Declan and Adam perfectly encapsulated the energy of people from Northern Ireland and also how complex and distinctive the characters are. Particularly having strong female leads at the forefront is so refreshing to see.

What is it about Declan and Adam’s writing that has tapped into the psyche of Northern Ireland?

It embodies truth. People from Northern Ireland tend to shroud serious situations with humour and we really get a feel for that in the script. There’s also a real honesty in the script to the realities of Northern Ireland in the present day, as we’re still battling issues that have come from The Troubles.

Describe the process of being cast in the show and what made you decide to accept the role?

I was so drawn to the character of Annie and knew instantly what type of person she was because I know women like her. I grew up with them and I still know them. They’re class and like no-other. Also showcasing other parts of the North that aren’t just Belfast is so important. Every place comes with its own spirit and it’s a big part of who Annie is as a person.

Describe how Annie fits into Blue Lights.

Annie is very impulsive as a character and she goes from zero to a hundred really quickly. She’s almost like a walking paradox because even though she is fiery and passionate at times she’s also really soft-centred, sensitive and self-contained. She’s emotionally intelligent and intuitive and she knows how to read people and situations. I think particularly a lot of young people will relate to her as behind the confident exterior, she’s just a young girl trying to figure out life and what she wants. She’s by no means perfect. Drama also seems to follow her around or, maybe she just creates it for herself! She’s always stuck in the middle of chaos.

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What sort of research did you do for the role?

In her spare time Annie plays Camogie, (traditionally an Irish Gaelic sport for women) so when I got the role I rang a good friend who is the Captain of a Camogie team, and asked her to share her wisdom! I can’t catch a ball to save my life so I had to be put to work straight away. I listened to a lot of podcasts and interviews and re-read the script a thousand times too.

What did you learn about the practicalities of being a PSNI officer?

The amount of kit they need to wear is overwhelming. I felt like I was putting in a shift at the gym every time I threw it on! How they’re able to run after people, I have no Idea! In terms of personal security, I was taken back by how severe it has to be at times. It’s a real vocation that requires so much commitment. It’s not just a job that you can hang your kit up at the end of a shift.

In what ways do you relate to your character?

I can relate to Annie in a way that she is stubborn and short tempered. I feel like her star sign is Scorpio! But I also relate to her softer side too. She’s a very sensitive, empathetic person, (she may not show it all the time,) who likes to stand up for what she thinks is right, even if she sometimes messes up. She’s also different things to different people, which I get. Nobody is just one characteristic. She’s imperfect but growing and learning new things about herself every day.

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What’s her relationship like with the other characters in the series?

At the beginning of the show the dynamic between Annie and Tommy feels like a sibling relationship. They’re both rabbits in headlights but they cope with it differently. Also because of their close proximity in age, they sort of rely on each other and want to protect one another. They’re in it together.

How does Annie relate to Grace, Jen and Helen, those she interacts most with?

In a way I feel like Annie and Jen are similar but neither would want to admit it to each other. They’re unapologetically themselves and not afraid of what other people think of them. However, there’s so many differences. where to even begin. Jen is the type of person that would remind the teacher there’s homework, Annie is the one who definitely didn’t do it and has an excuse lined up. Helen and Annie are chalk and cheese. Annie may think she has all the answers but she’s still so young and naïve at times. Helen keeps her right and is that older, sensible figure. Grace is Annie’s guardian angel. They don’t have a lot of scenes together but quite early on you see two strong women, who are different in ages, looking out for each other in subtle but effective ways.

 

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.