New WPC56 star Claudia Jessie: 'I'd be a rubbish police officer!'

(Image credit: BBC/Gary Moyes)

WPC Gina Dawson may have left for London, but there’s a new girl in town as WPC56 returns for a new five-part series (BBC1, Mon-Fri, March 9-13)...

Set in 1956, the BBC period drama followed the story of a female police officer making her way in the male-dominated Brinford police force.

Doctors star Claudia Jessie will be playing new lead WPC Annie Taylor and we caught up with her to talk about the new role and how excited her family were when she got the part…

Were you excited to join the show?

"Yes incredibly excited. My family are all from the West Midlands – which is where it’s set and filmed – so we’re all really big fans. When they heard I was going up for an audition they couldn’t believe it!"

They must have been so proud when you got the part…

"I went up for a different part originally and then got asked back to read for the part of Annie, which was wonderful. I kept doing auditions and getting further and it was just getting more and more nerve-racking. It was almost a relief when I got the job because there was so much emotion going on!"

Did you watch the whole series again before filming?  

"I went back and watched every episode back to back with my mum and got really nervous because it’s such a great show! It’s filmed so beautifully so I really wanted to do a good job!"

Tell us a bit about Annie…  

"Well, she works a bit differently to Gina. It’s not that she’s oblivious to the fact that she’s a woman in a man’s world, but she’s very abrupt and she sees things for what they are.  Annie’s headstrong, but in a really sweet way, she just sees right and wrong – but with compassion. She bulldozes her way through, but she’s got a great sense of humour. I had a brilliant time playing her."

One character she really doesn't get on with is Sergeant Fenton and those two have some cross words...

"The scenes where Annie is defending herself against Fenton were some of my favourites to work on. I really enjoyed working with Charlie De'Ath, who plays Sergeant Fenton, and he gave me so much encouragement. He really wanted me to lay into him!"

Your family must be looking forward to the series?

"They all are, but I think my nan is especially excited. She’s such a big fan of the show and she was living in Birmingham at the same time this was set and she says it looks just like the real thing. We’ll definitely have to sit down and watch the first episode together with a cup of tea!"

How do you think you'd get on as a police officer yourself?

"I'd be rubbish!"

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.