Joanna Page chats about hitting the jackpot in Kay Mellor's new five part-part drama, The Syndicate (opens in new tab)... How are we introduced to your shop assistant character Leanne? "When you first meet Leanne the syndicate members have won the lottery and are getting ready to meet the press. We're in the supermarket and all dolled up. Then it flashes back to what has happened before the win..." How does your character react when she discovers they've won? "She's hysterical! It was so much fun filming the scene when Denise (Lorraine Bruce) tells Leanne they've won. We went so berserk and mental that we both lost our voices by the end!" How does Leanne cope with the press attention the £18 million lottery win brings? "Leanne really doesn't want to get involved with the press, but the others talk her into it. She's quite happy with an anonymous life and doesn't want her face splashed all over the press because she's scared stiff her past will come out." So she's not a local Leeds lass? "The drama is set in Leeds, but Leanne isn't from there - she's from Wales and has moved there with her young daughter Stacey. When I read the scripts I assumed she was going to be Northern, but writer Kay Mellor wanted Leanne to be Welsh because she is an outsider who doesn't want anyone to know where she is." Do you enjoy acting in your own accent? "It is lovely being Welsh. For so many years after finishing drama school I played Scottish, Liverpudlian, Northern and also did lots of RP costume dramas. Then I did Gavin & Stacey and got to be Welsh. It's nice because I feel I get closer to the character. Leanne is a great character and Kay's a great writer." Leanne's secret past is about to catch up with her. How does she cope with the pressure? "She is serious, troubled and worried. When you meet her she is very stressed, very secretive and has the world on her shoulders. She can't reveal her true life to anybody, but at least she can afford the best lawyer! The win doesn't bring her any happiness; she was happy with her stable life and would have liked to go on like that for ever. When playing her I spent most of my time smoking and having a nervous breakdown!" Did you work in a real supermarket during filming? "Yes, we filmed in a real shop. At first it was fun being behind the counter and playing with the till, but I hated working there by the end! It was freezing cold, we were rubbish on the tills and my feet were killing me." Have you ever worked in a real shop? "I worked in BHS and it was so boring, as there was never anything to do. I wasn't trained on the tills so I made it up as I went along - I probably didn’t even charge people!" Do you play the lottery? "No, I don't play because I get so disappointed. I always think if I buy a ticket that I will win. Then the numbers come out and they're not mine. My dad religiously plays the same numbers every week and is in a syndicate at work." What do you think you'd do if you won? "I'd set up a charity for animals. I'd open my own dog home and have loads of dogs. I'd have a house in the country with loads of land around it and my own little farm with sheep and pigs and goats and everything. I'd also buy myself a little boat, pay off all mortgages of my family and friends. I'm happiest when I'm with my husband James and Daisy our dog. I know money makes things a lot easier, but the love and security of a family is what really makes us happy." Did you talk to anyone who won the lottery as part of your research? "No, but Kay did and said everyone single one she talked to said, if they could go back in time they'd rather not have the money. Apparently it's brought nothing but problems - arguments, families splitting up, people turning up from the past, drinking and gambling, drugs and everything. Sadly, it's ruined families." To find out what Leanne's hiding, tune into The Syndicate on BBC One this Tuesday at 9pm
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
Get the latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!
Thank you for signing up to Whattowatch. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.