Broadchurch star Georgina Campbell: ‘Lenny Henry is like my surrogate dad!’

Georgina Campbell
(Image credit: Colin Hutton)

Broadchurch actress Georgina Campbell spills the beans on working with Lenny Henry and clashing with Hardy and Miller

In 2015, Georgina Campbell defied the odds and beat Keeley Hawes, Sarah Lancashire and Sheridan Smith to win a Bafta for her stellar turn as a casualty of domestic violence in gritty BBC3 drama Murdered By My Boyfriend. Now, the 24-year-old is cementing her rapid rise to fame with her role in Broadchurch as spirited DC Katie Harford, who we now know is the secret daughter of farm shop owner Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry). Here, Georgina gives TV Times the lowdown…

Were you a fan of Broadchurch already? “Yes, I’ve watched it since the beginning. It’s cool to be in a show that you really like. I binge-watched it again with my mum before I started filming though because she hadn’t seen it and she wasn’t excited enough when I told her I’d got the part so I made her sit down and see it! Then she was really excited.”

Katie is pretty hard-nosed and that hasn’t gone down well with Hardy (David Tennant) and Miller (Olivia Colman) has it?! “No! They are all coming at the case from different perspectives. She has this youthful, arrogant attitude of, ‘I know everything,’ so they clash because she hasn’t got the sensitivity they have but she wants to prove herself by being heard. Also Hardy and Miller know each other, so they are in sync, but she has come in and disrupted that and is not into the swing of how things work with them. But we’ll see as the series goes on whether she changes…”

Lenny Henry

(Image credit: Colin Hutton)

The audience knows that Ed is Katie’s dad, what impact will that have? “The revelation that Ed is secretly Katie's dad is interesting because it really does set her story arc up and illustrates her lack of experience and maturity while working on this case. It was an amazing experience working with such an incredibly esteemed actor like Lenny Henry. I was so excited to meet him! I genuinely felt like he was my surrogate dad by the end of it, he was so kind and giving, it was a real pleasure to work with him.”

Have you enjoyed working with Olivia and David too? “Oh it has been a lovely experience. I had worked with Olivia before on [Channel 4 comedy drama] Flowers and she is fantastic. We only had about two scenes together then so it was great to spend more time with her on this. Both she and David are such brilliant actors; it has been great watching the way they act. They are so good that they make it look easy and they make every scene interesting, they always do something different. I have learned a lot from them.”

When you were filming, did you enjoy being in the dark about how the series is going to end? “I really liked it, it makes you feel like a viewer yourself because you are slowly getting information and getting really excited about reading a script, which is a different experience to when you have suddenly got all eight scripts to get through really fast. It makes everything more realistic.”

Has winning the Bafta opened new doors for you? “Definitely. I am not really at a point where I am picking and choosing but it has really helped me to become a name that people know a bit more and it has made producers want to bring me in for auditions. I couldn’t have predicted that win though, no one thought I was going to win, even on the polls beforehand, I was only at about a five per cent chance, so it was a big shock.”

Here's a trailer for the next episode of Broadchurch

Broadchurch airs on Monday on ITV at 9pm

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.