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Karla Crome: 'I didn't want to go in to prison'

Karla Crome discusses her role as long-suffering Aisling, daughter to a hopeless career criminal father in BBC1’s drama Prisoners’ Wives (Thursday)…

You’ve gone from playing an offender in C4’s Misfits to playing an offender’s daughter in Prisoners’ Wives. Was this pure coincidence?

"It seems to just have sort of worked out that way! It depends what you’re put up for. The character of Aisling is a lot gentler than the part of Jess in Misfits. It’s always fun to play a multi-layered person who’s got a tough edge, but a bit of vulnerability as well."

What can you tell us about Aisling’s dad, Brendan (Owen Roe), and her relationship with him?

"He’s always in and out of jail for petty crimes. This time he’s been found hiding counterfeit cigarettes in the airing cupboard! Aisling loves her dad even though he missed all the important parts of her life when she was growing up because he was always being jailed. He’s a really fun guy, who makes her laugh, but he could never go on the straight and narrow and be a proper dad to her."

How do you think his behaviour over the years has affected her?

"Aisling has been let down a lot in her life. It’s led her to become suspicious of people and she finds it hard to trust easily. Yet when she does, she’s very loyal. As for going to prison to visit her dad – that’s just a regular part of her life. Going through the whole process of going in and getting searched – it’s something she’s done countless times."

Does she have any criminal tendencies herself?

"No she doesn’t, but she’s well skilled in the tricks of the trade. Her dad would have taught her about hiding things and being sneaky! She’s very familiar with his world. She’s had a lot of emotional turmoil – and there are some ups and definite downs ahead of her."

You visited a prison when you were preparing for the role. How was that?

"It was very strange and certainly made the role much more real for me. What we portray in Prisoners’ Wives is a part of some people’s daily lives. When we first got to the prison I didn’t want to go in, but I’m really glad I got that opportunity because it’s something you’d never ordinarily get to experience."