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Ray Winstone: 'It's almost telepathic when me and Amanda act together'

(Image credit: Ben Blackall)

TV schedules are littered with crime shows, but what happens when the case has been closed, the villain sentenced and has done his or her time? That’s the subject of gripping new ITV three-parter, The Trials of Jimmy Rose, which follows career criminal Jimmy as he returns home after a 12-year stretch.

Sadly for Jimmy, he doesn’t quite get the jubilant welcome he was expecting, as his son wants nothing to do with him, his daughter is wrapped up in her own problems and his wife, Jackie, is full of resentment after more than a decade of abandonment.

It was a story so compelling that it attracted acclaimed film star and master of the ‘hardman’ genre, Ray Winstone (opens in new tab) to play the lead role.

What attracted you to this show?

Ray: “The script isn’t really about a man in prison, it’s about family and what a man does to his wife and kids when he’s banged up for 12 years.

"When he gets out, he walks up to his front door to see them all, but it’s not a question of coming home for a party, there’s a fear about stepping over that threshold and going back into that life that you don’t know any more. He’s still the same Jimmy, but the way his family perceives him has changed. He didn’t see it coming and it hurts.”

Does he want to go straight?

Ray: “Jackie gives him an ultimatum to go straight and he adores her so he wants to do it, but circumstances won’t allow him. He’s a bank robber and he’s being given a chance by society to go back to work and do the right thing, but that’s tough to do at 60 years' old. It’s a constant battle for him.”

Were you happy with Amanda being cast as Jackie?

Ray: “I told the director, Adrian Shergold there was only one person who could play Jackie. Amanda’s a fantastic actress, we’re good mates and I’ve been lucky enough to work with her before, it’s almost telepathic when we act together. Luckily she was top of Adrian’s list anyway!” 

Did you enjoy working with Ray again, Amanda?

“We have worked together a few times in between this and Sexy Beast, but not as husband and wife, so it’s great fun. We’re very close friends so we see a lot of each other anyway – it’s just like being round at his house!"

So it wasn’t just Ray that attracted you to the role?

“There’s a very serious lack of interesting roles for women of my age. I hate the stuff I’ve been sent, it’s insulting and patronising and the characters are so one-dimensional, people don’t seem to find women in my decade interesting, which is ridiculous. It’s because we’re neither young nor old and the powers that be are too embarrassed to talk about the menopause.

“The truth is as that you get older your life becomes fascinating and certainly interesting to the demographic that tends to watch television. Your 50s are one of the richest times in your life, but it’s ignored.”

How do Jackie and Jimmy meet?

Amanda: “They were childhood sweethearts and she’s always loved him. She did what she was expected to do, which was get married early, have babies and then be the dutiful wife while he went out on the criminal jobs. Jackie did it for years, but finally she’s got to an age where she doesn’t want to do it any more. She realises that other woman have careers and aren’t left with the kids while their husbands are in prison. She’s done it all on her own.”

But Jackie isn’t entirely innocent, is she?

Amanda: “These women have always fascinated me – characters like Mrs Soprano, who know what their husbands are doing, but turn a blind eye. I don’t respect that one bit, but I love the fact that she basically does want a decent life, she doesn’t want this to continue now.

"Jimmy is an old-fashioned criminal and the trouble is that there’s no code of honour with modern criminals. Times have changed and that’s what she’s terrified of.”