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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

DCI Banks: The Custard Chats with Andrea Lowe

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I recently got the chance to chat to Actress Andrea Lowe who starting on Friday (September 16th) will reprise her role as the headstrong DS Annie Cabbot in ITV's 6-part crime drama DCI Banks. We spoke about her hopes for the new series as well as what its like to work with Stephen Tompkinson and her views on reality TV.

Firstly, congratulations on the success of the pilot and the new series.
Thank you very much we were all really chuffed

The pilot went down really well with 7million viewers When did you get the call that the series had been given the go ahead?

After the first episodes went out I think it was a few weeks after that as they had to confirm it with everybody and get all us in place and everybody was really rooting for it and obviously we were so I was so pleased when it did go again

There’s a lot of crime series on the TV, why do you think they do so well?
I think people love crime dramas I think it’s the mystery and its outside your real life and the fact there’s a suspension of disbelief and there’s cliffhangers and  it keeps you enthralled throughout and I think people have got quite dark sides now so it exercises that part of them without having to leave their house and do horrible things.

What do you think it is that sets DCI Banks apart from other ITV hits like Scott and Bailey or Vera?
I know I can never believe how many there are but I think their all quite different. I thought Scott and Bailey was fantastic. I think Banks is very focused on the crime and I think a series like Scott and Bailey perhaps shows more of the relationship side. Even though we do see Banks and Annie a little bit outside the office its not shown that much.  I think Banks is affected by the fact its shot in Yorkshire. Peter writes really brilliantly for women. In the pilot (Aftermath) and in this series a lot of the guest roles are female and they’re all really strong female characters. Also I think it stands out because Peter is obviously a crime novelist so they are very brilliantly written and the relationships within the team are interesting too.

Because they are so many crime dramas they seem to be getting darker and often you’ll think I hope this isn’t give anyone any ideas Do you think it goes too far?
I often think its amazing what people come up with but in the papers you read about such other extreme crimes and I think people are aware its television but I do know what you mean its sometimes like what is there left to shock people with. I was so surprised when I met the writer Peter Robinson because he’s such a nice guy and you just think where do you get these awful stories from you’re so lovely!

Can you come in fresh to this new series if you haven’t seen last year’s pilot?
Yes I think you can come in fresh. Annie was from complaints and investigation so that might be slightly confusing at the beginning but the crime stands on its own.


DS Annie Cabbot and DCI Alan Banks
Annie has been described as quite feisty do you think she likes working with Banks or would she prefer to run her own team and how would you describe her style of Policing?
I think she loves working with Banks but they have this sort of love hate relationship and as the series progresses you see that she learns a lot from him. As far as her style of policing I think she’s very ambitious and sometimes she makes very quick decisions so she can be a bit hasty and ruthless and doesn’t always think things through.
Annie Does say in this opening episode “I hate men” and in Aftermath they very nearly shared a kiss but were saved by the bell do you think Annie has any feelings for Banks at all?
They’ve definitely got this sort of underline tension and a slight sexual tension.  Banks is quite powerful and good at his job and I think that attracts her to him but at the same time he really infuriates her.

What’s your relationship like with Stephen Tompkinson off screen?
We don’t like each other. No I’m joking Stephen’s lovely. He does lead from the front, he’s a great guy and we’re bouncing emails back and forth as he’s in South Africa at the moment. He’s such a lovely man.

You mentioned her ambitious nature and in the first episode she does make some questionable decisions and can come across as quite ruthless and hard faced. Was it hard to make her also a warm and likeable character?
Yeah I think in the first episode of this series she is quite annoying and as actor you think it is nicer to play a character that an audience is going to warm to but you just have to go with it and trust. There’s some revelations later on in the series and there’s a real vulnerability and naivety to her that I think people will connect with.

As the atmosphere of the series is quite dark and moody does that transfer over to the set?
Yeah it can be quite tough sometimes. We’ve always got new actors in so you are always really quite focused and I think sometimes the tone of it did effect the set but when we’re in the police station and all the regulars are together we have a great time. We all get on really well and the crew are fantastic so working with professional people who are really lovely with really high standards that makes it good fun.

You have an impressive CV of TV and film what’s been your Favourite role?
Doing the Ken Loach film (Route Irish) was a real career high for me so I’d say that was my favorite role.

Do you tend to watch yourself on TV?
A lot of actors will watch the playback on set which I’ve never really done but I will watch Banks. Apart from anything else when you’re on an ongoing drama its nice to watch it so see how it turned out and as show of respect to everyone who worked on it. But its not the most enjoyable thing in the world to watch yourself because you’re your own worst critic.

What are your TV Favourites?
Hmm. TV Favourites? Curb your Enthusiasm. I love Jimmy McGovern so I love the Street, Accused I did Cracker and Accused for him he’s brilliant. Accused is something I’m really proud to have been in I really enjoyed that.

And what do you absolutely loathe?
Certain reality shows I think are just mind numbing.

As an working actress how do you feel about reality TV and that people will often watch reality over a good drama or comedy?
 I can see why people get into it and its got its place but I just think its not very intelligent. Not that everything should be but I do find it dumbing down and I do worry about the effect it has on the youth. They’ve got really bad role models and I get really frustrated with things like that but that’s not to say I hate all reality TV I love Come Dine With Me for example.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got a film coming out called When The Lights went out which is a thriller horror which was really good fun to do. But no new TV at the moment.

And finally if we haven’t convinced them already why should people tune into DCI Banks on Friday?
I think its really well shot, its fast paced we’ve got some really interesting stories and I think its just really good Friday Night Television.

You can catch DCI Banks from 9pm on Friday 16th September on ITV1. The series is comprised of three 2-part stories beginning with Playing With Fire.

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