Skip to main content

Jodie Whittaker: 'The Smoke is not like London's Burning'

Broadchurch's Jodie Whittaker speaks to TV & Satellite Week about her new role as Trish, the partner of an injured firefighter in Sky1's new drama The Smoke, which airs on Thursday February 20 at 9pm on Sky 1 HD...

What was the appeal of the show for you?

"The script is just so brave and different and there are massive fires and set pieces. I keep getting asked if it similar to London's Burning, but it is just such a different show. Yes it is about the same industry in the same city but that is as similar as it gets. It is just so good to play characters who are not sugar-coated."

How would you describe Trish’s relationship with her firefighter partner Kev (Jamie Bamber)?

"It has been a solid seven-year relationship that is now fractured because he pushes her away and she makes some poor decisions. It is an exploration of what happens when a fundamental part of your relationship is taken away through injury and Jamie and I watched documentaries about service personnel who come home and whose lives have been changed."

How does she cope when he returns to work?

"I don't think being a carer has naturally sat well with her which is great to play, because you think, well she is woman, she will love looking after people, but that was never comfortable for her and now she has to find a new role for her self and it is about where their life is going to go now something so traumatic has happened to them."

What do you think real firefighters will make of the show?

"I hope they will be proud and it covers politics and funding cuts and everything they are facing. They put themselves in terrifying situations and I have so much respect for them. Every time I hear a fire engine now I get butterflies because they could be going anywhere and then they have to go home and be a partner or parent."

How has being in Broadchurch changed your life?

"There's nothing about it that hasn’t been extraordinary. It took us by surprise and we adored it, we were a family, there wasn’t one person who didn’t throw 100 per cent into it and that was represented on screen. I don’t know if I'm in the next series but we all want to be part of it because Chris Chibnall writes beautifully and he has known from before the first series where this story was going."

Do you get recognised a lot now?

"The lucky thing is that I don't often have brown hair as I had in Broadchurch and I don't necessarily put makeup on, so I don’t get recognised often. I have no interest in being known but I am in no way bothered if someone wants to come over and be lovely. It is wonderful if someone has the confidence to come up to you, because it must be terrifying, I wouldn't dare to do it to people."

Would you like to be in something funnier next?

"I never get seen for comedy. It makes me laugh because I'm a glass half-full person but auditions where I tap into heightened emotions seem to be the ones I do best in. Maybe I can hang out more with Olivia Colman and she can teach me how to have two careers."

Read TV & Satellite Week, which is on sale now, for the full interview.