Miranda star Sally Phillips plays a psychologist in this week's New Tricks on BBC1 (Monday). Here she reveals more... Tell us about your character? "I play Samantha Gerson, a psychologist. She's not a boring expert, she's funny, flawed and vulnerable. I thought she was a great character." What brings Samantha to UCOS? "She's doing a study on older men in the workforce, which they all find insulting and become quite hostile. Gerry's drawn to her so he feels let down that she's only interested in him because he's old." While she's there, she asks Samantha if the team could look into her brother's accident in 2006. What happened? "Samantha's brother Darren is a cycle courier, who was the victim of a hit-and-run. He's suffered amnesia since and Samantha's been trying to sort him out. Darren now thinks he was targeted, but she refuses to believe it. Normal people don't get followed!" While UCOS investigate the case, Samantha interviews Gerry, Brian and Jack for the study. And the case is clearly getting to Jack... "Yes it does. In our house, James Bolam is the star of CBeebies' Grandpa In My Pocket. But when we filmed the interview scene, all this darkness poured out of him, which was quite shocking, because he's such a charming, lovely, kind person." Do you think you could be a psychologist in real life? "I write screenplays as well and you spend a lot of time reading psychology books and thinking about why people behave how they do. I am really fascinated about why people do things. Hopefully, I use it for good in comedy." Did you have fun filming the episode? "I had a real laugh with Amanda and I really enjoyed doing the interview scenes with Dennis, Alun and James. I'd love to another one - but Samantha didn't look efficient enough to be someone who'd be invited back!"
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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.