In three part ITV drama Tina and Bobby, which premieres on Friday 13 January, Michelle Keegan plays the wife of English soccer legend Bobby Moore. Here she tells all about the role and how daunting it was having the real Tina on hand at the first read through.
How much did you know about Tina and Bobby before you took on the role?
“Mark (Wright) is a West Ham supporter and knew a lot about both of them. He gave me the low down on Bobby’s teammates, Geoff Hurst, Mar1n Peters, Jack Charlton, Malcolm Allison and Noel Cantwell.
“Being from Essex Mark told me what Bobby meant to people here, how he was regarded as one of the greatest defenders, what a legend Bobby was and what he meant to football. To hear it first hand was unbelievable.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot about Tina outside of Bobby. The first time I heard their story was when I watched the documentary, Bobby. A few weeks later I received the scripts so it felt like fate.”
Tina Moore attended the read-through. How did it feel to be portraying her whilst she was in the room?
“It was really daunting. I’d forgotten Tina was going to be there until I walked into the room. By then I’d seen pictures of her and had done some research. As soon as I saw her I thought ‘Oh my God, it’s Tina Moore, she’s here at the read-through’. I panicked. It’s a really daunting thing to do – I’m portraying Tina and I want to tell her story to the best of my ability.
“After the read-through Tina shared a lot of stories and memories about their life together. It’s a real coincidence as I now live in Essex, close to Morlands, so we had lots to talk about.”
What events took place in the week leading up to your first day on set?
“When I was offered the role of Tina I was filming in Manchester for Our Girl. I actually only wrapped on Our Girl on the Friday (July 1st) and went straight in to a week of prep and rehearsals for Tina and Bobby on the Monday (July 4th).
“Afer the read-through I spoke to Tina Moore and the rest of the cast. I’d not worked with Lorne or Patsy before so we were able to have a chat about the people we were portraying and their dynamics. We all clicked straight away.”
“I then had a chemistry read with Lorne and the director, John McKay, and then a separate one with Patsy and John. With Lorne and John we talked and explored Tina and Bobby as a young couple and we closely followed their journey into married and family life. We did a lot of improvisa1on together and I definitely think it helped us ahead of filming.
“It was the same with Patsy – we wanted to explore the close mother/daughter rela1onship Tina and Becy had with each other. How they interacted and cared for one another.
“I had various conversations with the hair, make up and costume teams and then went back to London and had my hair-dyed blonde ready to begin filming on the Monday (July 11th). It was a complete change and so very different to Georgie in Our Girl who I’d played for 5 months.”
You undertook a big transformation to play Tina Moore. Were you apprehensive about this?
“I went through a massive transforma1on to play Tina. The colourist, Vernon Deysel, did a great job with changing the colour of my hair.
“I was apprehensive at first but I wanted to embrace the character fully. A lot of actors make dramatic changes to their appearance for the characters they are playing. I thought this was a great role and I wanted to give everything to it.”
You previously worked with Director John McKay on the BBC drama, Ordinary Lies. Did this established relationship help for Tina and Bobby?
“Yes, one hundred percent. I trusted John, I know how he works, I think he’s an amazing director and he’s got a very kind presence on set.
“Even when John’s under pressure you would never know it and that’s what I love about him. He’s very calm and he really looks after everyone he’s working with. Everyone thinks the same about him too.”
Andrew Cox, Costume Designer, was someone you’d also previously worked with too.
“Andrew was the Costume Designer on Our Girl. We have a great rela1onship and he instantly knows my style and what I like.
“A lot of the crew from Our Girl worked on Tina and Bobby so it was nice to be star1ng a new project but working with some friendly faces.”
At what point in Tina’s life will the audience first meet her?
“Viewers meet Tina as a 15-year-old girl. She’s on a night out with her cousin Jenny at Ilford Palais, a place they go out dancing together.
“Tina lives in a terraced house with her mum and stepdad together with her auntie, uncle and her cousin Jenny, who she’s very close to.
“In the first episode viewers will see Tina go from a young woman to a wife to a mother.”
How would you describe Tina?
“Tina is a very confident and strong woman. She’s very independent too. A lot of the time Tina was the backbone of their marriage and Bobby always went to her for advice. Although she was in the background when it came to his career, in their marriage she was always at the forefront of their rela1onship.”
Were Tina’s characteristics part of the appeal?
“I love playing strong women but I just loved the scripts. Tina’s story mentally and emo1onally engaged me.”
Do you think the audience will relate to Tina?
“Yes, I think they’ll really like Tina and I think women will be able to relate to her. She’s a really caring person. She’s a great mum and a brilliant wife. Her life was Bobby and you can tell that from the outset. Tina’s life was her family and she did everything she could for them.”
Were you able to relate to Tina in anyway?
“A little bit. I think having a relationship that is in the public eye certainly related to me.”
Even on their honeymoon Tina and Bobby are interrupted by football. Was football always in their lives?
“Noel Cantwell and Malcolm Allison gatecrashed their honeymoon in Majorca. Football took over. Tina wasn’t just married to Bobby she was married to the game. One of the footballers wives says to Tina, “You married a footballer, you might be his wife but the game will always be his mistress”, and that’s exactly how it was.”
What is the significance of the Yellow outfit Tina wears to the World Cup matches?
“Tina’s favourite colour was yellow and she wore this to the World Cup in ‘66 believing it would bring good luck and it did!”
The series was filmed on location in Manchester. Were you able to catch up with family and friends?
“At the weekends I did. During the week when I was filming I stayed in a hotel, which was my choice. I could have stayed at home but when I’m there I get easily distracted being around my mum and seeing the dogs so I think I made the right decision to be in the hotel and concentrate on my work. It was lovely being back up North.”
Filming also took you to Palma. What can you tell us about the scenes you filmed there?
“Palma was a great location. We filmed the scenes when Tina and Bobby are on their honeymoon in the 60’s. We also filmed some scenes from the 70’s when Tina and Bobby are in Acapulco and I also did some driving scenes along the coastline, which are from the 80’s. There was a lot to cover whilst we were there but we all had a great time.”
Tina and Bobby airs on ITV from Friday 13 January 2017 at 9.00pm
The Miniaturist Interviews: Romola Garai
Romola Garai plays Marin Brandt in The Miniaturist, premiering soon on BBC-1, here she talks about what drew her to the drama and being in a costume drama where she pretty much only gets to wear one costume.
What attracted you to the role of Marin?
I’d read the book shortly after it came out and I thought it was a really surprising novel, really interesting and with very strong feminist themes in it, so I was very excited about it. Time passed and then an email popped into my inbox with the subject, The Miniaturist. I thought it was fantastic they were making it and I was really excited to read the script.
It’s a very genre-bending novel; it appears to be like a costume drama we have seen before, but very quickly we realise that it’s not that. It’s about a woman coming into her own in a society that’s very patriarchal, it’s about a love affair, it’s about discrimination, and it’s about people trying to survive in an incredibly controlled state. It’s a thriller and it’s also a story about political and emotional awakening.
Marin is a particularly interesting character, I think she has one of the best arcs. When I first read the book, she was the character that stayed with me, and when I read the scripts I immediately remembered everything about her. She’s told in beautiful detail in the novel, which John has retained in the script. Marin is just a great character to play, it was a real treat.
Tell us about Marin.
When you first meet her, because the story is told through Nella’s perspective, you meet a woman who seems very cold and intimidating. Then gradually you get this drip-feed of information about her; you see she’s been helping Johannes run the business and you learn that they were orphaned at a young age. She’s very intellectual, she’s very well read, and she’s not married, which is very unusual at the time.
One of the reasons I found her such a fascinating character is that she’s full of secrets and she’s layered; very conflicted and has great faith, but also passions. The house they live in is essentially a tinder box of secrets that Marin has been sitting on to try and stop the secrets exploding out. However although it seems she is trying to keep a lid on it I think she believes that they could subtly break all the rules and be free within the house at least, if only her brother stopped acting so recklessly.
Hopefully audiences will question what is driving her hostility towards Nella. Marin needs Nella a lot to maintain the appearance of being a normal household but it’s also very important that Nella is afraid of her so that she doesn’t try digging and discovering the secrets that they are all trying to keep – because if anyone finds out then their futures are ruined.
What was it like doing the scenes between Marin and Nella?
I loved working with Anya, she’s an incredibly accomplished actress. She’s got a difficult job in this, because Nella has to be very innocent at the beginning of the story, which is always difficult for an actor to play, and also more innocent that a woman of that age would be now. She’s constantly making discoveries, she doesn’t have the information that the rest of us do so she’s always learning new things, and she’s done that with real beauty and subtlety. I really enjoyed doing all our scenes together.
Tell us about Marin’s costume.
Marin only had one costume until a very late stage of the story. Her costume is typical of the puritan values of the period which rejected anything that smacked of luxury or louche values. They also didn’t wear make-up in this period at all, certainly not women of this class and station, and the hair was very simple and scraped back. Her head would have been covered at all times, so I had a black cap that I wore, but to be honest when I wore it I couldn’t really hear what anyone was saying and also talked incredibly loudly because I couldn’t hear myself, so essentially I was shouting at the other actors!
What makes The Miniaturist stand out from other period dramas?
I’ve done lots of historical pieces but there’s something very unusual about this. When you do contemporary novels set in the past the writers are able to do a lot more, and tackle complex themes which writers writing at the time weren’t able to do. More than that, it’s interesting in that it explores a number of different genres. It has elements of a thriller and then it becomes a family drama and then it becomes a polemic about what happens in societies that are so controlling.
I hope people will sit down to watch the show because it’s a pretty costume drama and will be surprised that it is actually rebellious and constantly bringing up important issues – and that they’ll be so engaged they won’t be able to look away.
Trust Me Interviews: Sharon Small
Interview with Sharon Small, who plays Dr. Brigitte McAdams in new three part psychological thriller Trust Me which airs this August on BBC One.
What attracted you to this project?
I liked the character and the premise of the piece – I don’t think we’ve seen this before. And everyone is like an armchair detective, everyone is an armchair actor or doctor, so I thought that people would get off on that and think, gosh what would I do in that circumstance? The audience are the people who are privy to the truth and not us. With my character, Brigitte, I like her neediness, her sassiness – she’s fun and quick-fire talking – and quite honestly I rather fancied myself as a doctor [laughs].
How would you describe your character?
Brigitte is a good person; she’s sassy and is a really good doctor. She has got some issues, but she is trying her best to run this ward and with great intentions, which I think a lot of NHS doctors are.
How did you prepare for the role?
I grew my hair so that I could tie it up – normally I have short hair. We had a fantastic medical training day with Dan and got to do airways and cannulas and stitching and things like that, I loved that. The most important thing for me was to go around the actual A&E department (or ED department as I now know it’s called) in Edinburgh. We met this fantastic doctor – just watching him and really getting to observe what goes on in a ward, the dynamic, what people do and noticing that people are always looking at folders, everyone’s always collaborating and talking to each other. Everyone is always moving around, a lot more than you think and not that quickly. It’s less dramatic than you think.
Is your character challenging to play?
She was. Similarly in something that Jodie mentioned, I had quite a lot of medical jargon to say quite quickly, but I had less of the procedural stuff to do in terms of operational things. As the character is more and more revealed I had to make sure that I took care of how that happened, and that it was subtly done.
What makes a hospital a good arena for a drama?
It’s an ever-changing landscape, a hospital. Every new sort of event that you’re presented with means that you’re having to make life-saving decisions. People’s lives really are at stake, and honestly, my little taste of pretending that I was an ED doctor made me feel quite powerful. If I could fix people so that they survived, that would be an amazing ability.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced so far during filming?
Saying the medical words Metronidazole – Met-ron-ida-zole, Metron-i-dazole – and trying to make scrubs look even remotely interesting, I don’t rock scrubs like Jodie does, I’m way too curvy for that!
What do you hope audiences will take away from this drama?
I hope that they’ll find themselves in that dilemma of wanting Cath/Ally to succeed, because she’s a good person and she ironically is brilliant at the job. I’m hoping that they’ll see the dilemma that she has, and as you want her to keep succeeding, it means she’s going to keep compromising people as she goes, as well as herself.
Trust Me Interviews: Jodie Whittaker
Jodie Whittaker plays Cath in three part psychological thriller Trust Me which airs on BBC One this August.
What appealed to you about this project?
I was sent the script for the first episode and it fascinated me because it went in a completely different direction to how I thought it was going to. Particularly at the beginning when she’s suspended for whistleblowing and loses her job. It could have gone so many ways, and the fact that she takes on this new identity isn’t the way that I thought it would go. I love the fact that her choices are quite morally dubious – they certainly aren’t black and white. She makes decisions that are quite challenging to justify, even though we know her reasons. I’ve never acted in anything medical before, so it felt completely new.
How does Cath’s lie come about?
Cath starts off by having a conversation with her best friend, Ally, who is a middle grade doctor in A&E and is giving it all up to emigrate to New Zealand. Ally is packing up the life that Cath would have loved to have had, leaving it all behind to go and do something completely different. Suddenly there is an opportunity for her to take on the identity of her friend and in that panic, not necessarily the clearest thinking moment in her life, she does it. Once you set off on a path of lies it’s very difficult to undo it without bringing everything crashing down.
Did you receive any training on medical procedures?
Yes! The writer, Dan, who is also medical consultant and a doctor outside of TV production, showed us a load of stuff that he used when he was training people. He brought in the CPR dummy and showed us how to do a cannula and he, very bravely, let me put a cannula in his vein. I did it right, thank God! Also, YouTube is amazing. The genius of the internet is that you can basically sit at home and Google medical procedures, and TV shows such as 24 hours in A&E, which I watched hours of.
How else did you prepare for the role?
With regards to the technical stuff, we had an on-set consultant so that there was always someone to help when we had to do the procedures. The best thing for me was that my character was also out of her depth and didn’t always know what she was doing, so it kind of covered my own personal fumbles. I’m not someone who likes to over prepare for dialogue scenes, because I think that makes me not listen to what the other person is saying as I’ve already decided how I’m going to do it. It immediately makes it interesting and new and you can’t plan for that, which is great. You can’t ‘wing’ the medical stuff so I had to do my research for that. One of my friends is a Sister in A&E and I sent her a lot of messages asking ‘how do you pronounce this?’ and ‘what does that mean?’, so basically she was my personal medical coach even though she works full time!
Is it challenging playing someone who leads a double life?
Yes, but no more challenging that playing someone who has had something happen to them that I haven’t personally experienced. What’s hard is trying to gauge how good a liar she is, or how in a panic she is. You’ve got to be careful, because you can’t make the other actors seem stupid. These are intelligent, fully formed characters that you’re working with, so it was a fine line of being able to deceive and it not being something that comes easily to her. However, it can’t be that it makes everyone around her feel a bit like an idiot for not working it out. That was tricky, but the director is there to help guide you through it.
Did the uniform help to get you into character?
Yes. It feels odd when you put it on. I did five weeks of studio filming, back to back – all the medical stuff was contained so everything started to become a bit like second nature. The first few times I had to put on an apron, the ‘take’ ended up being about 15 minutes long. Then I worked out that you shouldn’t put the gloves on before the apron! There was lots of daft stuff like that, but you then get into a rhythm. It’s good because it makes you immediately feel like you look the part and then all I had to do was make sure that I knew the lines!
What were some of the challenges that you faced during filming?
I’m not very good with learning dialogue when there are lots of medical terms! I enjoy the adrenaline of being on set because I’m quite good at choreography, I respond well to being taught something physically. That’s why I was terrible at school, because they talk you through things rather than physically show you. I enjoyed doing the different types of surgery as it was fascinating, it’s nerve-wracking but you realise that you can do it. Also, the team who created the props put in so much hard work to make sure we didn’t mess up our bits. I struggled with having massive speeches that involved these medical words. I don’t have a brain for that!
Did you enjoy working in Scotland?
I absolutely loved Glasgow! The crew were phenomenal and the city is wonderful. I could move my family up there and we had a great time as there were loads of brilliant restaurants and everyone was lovely. It was brilliant and I would snap up another job there very quickly, although it does get very dark and cold over winter!
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