Anna Friel: 'The question you will ask about Marcella is, 'How dark is this woman?!''


Stars Anna Friel and Laura Carmichael tell TV Times about the hidden depths of new ITV's Scandinavian-style thriller Marcella, which premieres on Monday, April 4...

Anna, tell us about your character, Marcella…

"If I could tell you one big massive thing about her it would all make sense, but I can’t! The thing is with any of those great thrillers, if somebody told you what all the plot [was], it would be boring. Let’s just say the question you will ask about Marcella is, 'How dark is this woman?!'"

Is Marcella inspired by any real-life detective?

"I met with one very glamourous DI called Liz, and she turned up and I was like, 'Who’s the actress?!' Her hair’s all done and the make-up’s beautiful and I’m like, 'How does that go down in a male environment?' And she’s like, 'I’m a woman.' And she’s brilliant – she’s solved more cases than anyone."


What can you tell us about the plot of Marcella?

"All I can say is, having worked a lot in America, what I’ve loved are their twists and their plots when you go 'Ahhhh!' And this has that."


Laura, this is your first post-Downton Abbey TV role, how did you find it? 

"It’s something that feels like flexing a different muscle. It’s crime, it’s Scandi and modern and when I read it, it absolutely felt like a great move. I was a big fan of The Bridge."

You play Maddy Stevenson, a criminal psychology student, tell us about her?

"Maddy’s flaw is her ambition. She’s trying to understand why people do the things they do and on a weird level it doesn’t feel dangerous to her – it feels fascinating and potentially exciting. But she may cross a line. She’s a bit reckless, but I don’t think she expects it to go the way it does."

Maddy's modern outfits must have made a nice change from your more elaborate Downton wardrobe….

"It’s so nice to be able to just to get myself dressed! It only takes 20 minutes to get ready – on Downton it was two and a half hours. I’m so comfortable and I can breathe."

Here’s a preview of the drama to come.

Marcella, an eight-part series, starts on ITV, Monday, April 4, 9.00pm.