Casualty star Amanda Mealing reveals how a rogue email from BAFTA has led to a new movement for female directors called BAFTA's Lucky 225...
As Connie Beauchamp on Casualty, Amanda Mealing (opens in new tab) is no stranger to commanding a room. Now, she’s also taking her talents behind the scenes and has started directing, as well as acting.
Here Amanda tells What’s on TV (opens in new tab) how she became part of the inspiring BAFTA's Lucky 225 scheme and why Casualty is a wonderful vehicle for up and coming talent. She also reveals Endeavour star Shaun Evans’ directorial debut (opens in new tab) is this weekend’s Casualty episode...
Last year you directed an episode of Casualty. Was it strange being on the other side of the camera? "Not at all! Everything came together beautifully. There was huge respect from the cast and crew, which I’ve really appreciated. It was an incredible experience. I really loved it."
What reaction did the episode (opens in new tab) get? "I’ve heard back from the most unexpected quarters – both from people who’ve left the show and are still in touch and people who are quite removed from the show – and they’ve all said the most complimentary things."
Would you like to direct more Casualty? "Fingers crossed when Connie get a little bit of a break – which is not that often! – I’ll go back behind the camera again. Directing is something I definitely want to pursue. I’m very keen on it and I’ve a film in pre-production at the moment."
You’re also part of BAFTA's Lucky 225 – can you tell us more about that? "BAFTA's Lucky 225 (opens in new tab) is a scheme for female directors. I don’t know if you heard, but BAFTA mistakenly cc’d 225 of us into a rejection email. Initially it was a bit awkward! Then we started chatting to each other and within two hours we decided to all get together and be a voice for female directors."
Why is it important female directors have this voice? "We’ve started this movement to find out why there are so few female directors employed. They keep saying they can’t find female directors, but on this one email there are 225 of us. It’s really just the early stages of it now. Directing is definitely the area I want to go forward in and it's lovely to be part of a movement so early on."
Is this something Casualty are good at? "Casualty is very proactive in using female directors, and also in nurturing new talent. There are quite a few people we’ve had [on Casualty] recently who haven’t directed. I will direct another couple of episodes of Casualty, too. It’s a wonderful scheme to be a part of."
You had an interesting new director for this weekend’s episode of Casualty, didn't you? "Shaun Evans, who’s the lead actor of Endeavour, has just been on. He’s never directed before and he came on and directed. He was wonderful. Casualty is one of the few places, particularly in prime-time TV, where a director can have that opportunity. I’m very proud to be part of Casualty, both in front of the camera and behind it."
Casualty screens on BBC1 at 9pm this Saturday.
With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab)www.whattowatch.com (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.
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