Tell Me Everything | Interview with Tessa Lucille (Regan)

What stood out for you about the scripts?

I was very excited by it. As soon as I read these scripts I was like, ‘This is great.’ I read it and it made me laugh out loud.

Did you feel that you knew Regan?

Yeah, I did quite instantly connect with the character. Regan is great. I love her. I can understand her point of view and the way she goes about her life.

Where is Regan in her life when we first meet her? She’s got a girlfriend Lizzie but we don’t really know how that’s going…

When we first meet her she is quite scattered, I suppose. She does have this girlfriend Lizzie. We don’t see much of their relationship but I know that things aren’t going too well with them. So she’s now having relationship struggles. She’s got college. She’s got her home life, which we find out about later on. She’s everywhere.

It seems telling that we don’t really see Lizzie with Regan and Zia. The friendship with Zia seems stronger.

Yeah, I think it is very telling. Regan is obviously a lot more invested in her friendship. That’s one of the things I do really like about the character anyway. I love that she is a very strong friend. Once she knows you she will very much be there for you.

Did you and Carla work out a backstory for Regan and Zia’s friendship?

For me, they became friends at the beginning of secondary school. They are literally that annoying pair. No one at secondary school is still friends with the people that they were at the beginning but in my head Regan and Zia are the two annoying friends who never spoke to anyone else. One needs the other. That’s their dynamic.

How does Welwyn Garden City compare to Bristol? Are there any similar hang out spots?

They are quite different but they are similar in a way. Welwyn Garden City is very green and it’s beautiful. Bristol does have some lovely parks but talking to Mark O’Sullivan he was like, ‘Well, it seems pretty but there is nothing to do’, which is the opposite in Bristol. There is always something happening in Bristol. There is something constantly going on.

What do Regan and Zia make of the rest of the TME gang?

We’re the cool ones. The very first interaction we get of that group is such a funny scene. I think Regan and Zia just think they are a bit uncool. ‘Who are these losers? Why are they talking to us?’ (laughs) Especially when Regan and Jonny supposedly work together and Regan does not recognise him. She’s like, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are.’

How does Regan feel when Jonny invites her to his dad’s funeral?

She does not want to go. It’s one of those things. She wasn’t interested in talking to him in the first place and suddenly she’s been told they are friends and that means she has to go and be a supportive friend. She’s like, ‘I did not sign up for that.’ I don’t think she’s necessarily looking to make friends. I think she thinks it’s a bit too much hassle probably

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It’s a while before we discover Regan’s home story. Did you have any personal experiences with home caring to draw on?

I watched a couple of documentaries. I have a couple of friends who are young carers so I spoke to them about it. I already knew a certain amount about it because one of the other non-acting jobs I’ve done was as a fundraiser doing door-to-door fundraising for Barnado’s. We were doing a campaign about young carers. So it was helpful to know quite a lot of information. I wanted to get it right because it is quite a heavy storyline.

Talking to people for your research, what sort of details were helpful to you?

It was largely about routine and their feelings about it. One of them is one of my best friends so I didn’t really need to ask her too much because I already knew. It’s just the amount of work. You never really switch off. There is always something to be thinking about. That was a big thing in terms of character to bear in mind. It’s all written very well in the script.

What is Regan’s relationship like with her nan who she is caring for?

They’re very close. Regan and her nan are all the other one has. She can’t rely on her parents at all. It’s a very strong bond. It’s not onesided because they are both there for each other but Regan does feel that she has to be the one that is the grown-up and also somehow be the kid. There are some lovely moments in the script where her nan and (day carer) Jaz speak to Regan about, ‘You can relax. You can let go. This relationship isn’t the only thing you have.’ It’s a lovely relationship but it’s also a relationship with a lot of pressure on it.

How does Regan feel when daily home carer Jaz first bonds with her nan?

I guess she feels a little bit put out. She knows that it’s not fair to want her nan not to bond with anyone else but they’ve been let down so many times. So she’s very hesitant to let any relationship go forward when she knows that at any point they could be dropped. What if this carer moves on? I think Regan bases a lot of her own worth off of the fact that she is able to be there and provide for her nan. So having someone else come along and also be able to do it takes her back a little bit.

Jaz says to Regan, “You can’t control everything.’ Has that been Regan’s way of coping?

I think she has learned to cope with everything that’s going on by just knowing exactly what’s going on. By always being the one that can sort it out I think Regan is an incredibly independent person, which I do relate to a little bit. One of my friends once described me as ‘independent to a fault.’ (laughs) I definitely feel that is reflected in Regan. She needs to be the one who can take control and will take control.

Regan gets involved with Zia on Mindfulness Day. Is that something you’ve explored?

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Yeah I have delved a lot into mindfulness. I’m a trained yoga teacher. I don’t teach but I could if I chose to. So I’ve learned a lot of those sorts of practices. I’ve read an awful lot of self-help books. I love all that kind of stuff.

What wardrobe choices did you make with costume designer Cecile?

Regan is very laid back. One of the things I really love about the character is that she flips between getting some really great feminine outfits and some more tomboy-ish outfits. It’s one thing I spoke to Cecile [the costume designer] about at the beginning. I love the idea that she would be very tomboy-ish but I also think that it’s really important – especially for lesbian characters in shows and shows that are aimed at young people – to see that not every lesbian ever is just masculine or super-feminine. A lot of people like to explore their sexuality through their clothes and I think that’s one thing that we get quite nicely in the show.

What do you hope viewers take away from Tell Me Everything?

I hope that people take away from it the value of good friendships. There’s a lot of really lovely friendships in the show and it’s important to know that even though you can be going through your own stuff you can have good friends and they will be there for you and support you through it. You get that proven to you constantly in the show. It’s ok to just chat to your friends.

What other aspects of Regan’s life would you like to explore more in the future?

I’d love to see more of her home life. We get a lot of scenes with Jaz present but I would love some more with just Regan and her nan and seeing that dynamic at home. Also just seeing her journey. She’s obviously very comfortable in her sexuality. One of the themes that we spoke about way at the beginning when I was given the character brief was not that Welwyn Garden City is a homophobic county at all but it’s not got a thriving queer community. So I’d love to see her explore more of what it means to be a lesbian and a queer person and find that identity a little bit more.

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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.