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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Thecustard Chats with Celyn Jones of Above Suspicion

Monday sees the return of Lynda La Plante's Above Suspicion. The fourth episode of the crime series based on the Anna Travis Novels is titled Silent Scream and sees Travis and Langton investigating the mysterious death of a an upcoming young actress. I spoke to Ceyln (who has played DS Paul Barolli since the series started in 2008) about what we can expect from the new series and the hazards of filming on the tube.


Above Suspicion is now on its fourth series (Three episodes will air starting this Monday) what do you think it has done so well?
Well first of all its Lynda. I think she's a huge key to its success. She is premier crime writer in this country and people love the stories that she tells. The stories are really gripping and there's some really interesting chemistry between the characters.  People can relate to them they may have had a boss like Langton or come across a really head strong character like Travis they're identifiable. 


Why do you think people are always so interested or gripped by crime drama?
We all love a good whodunit.There's something about going to work or school or college the next day and talking about their thoughts and ideas as to who it might be. So I think the strength of something like Above Suspicion is it get us talking and we all think we could do a better job than the cops and you can get bowled over by a twist in the plot 


What can you tell us about the investigation in this series?
This crime is about celebrity. The crime in this is about somebody the public would never think had a problem, somebody who seemed to have it all and behind the mask we see they are very different. 


Your character (DS Paul Barolli) is often shouted at or feels the brunt of Langton's anger. How would you explain his role within the team?
Yes he seems quite a popular character. I think he's popular because I think people have worked with a Paul or  know a Paul. Yes he does get shouted at all the time. He may not to be as ambitious as everyone else but he is a reliable source. He does make jokes at the wrong time, he does rub Langton up the wrong way but he's an important character. He makes you smile and he's just a really genuine nice guy and the team can trust him.  He's happier when all the team are together.


How do the team react when they learn they are going to be led by Langton again?
Langton is someone who gets the best out of his team but he's a hard taskmaster. From the moment I first see him in this he's on my case. I think the group really really love and respect him but in this one the team weren't expecting to see him and when he does we know its going to have consequences.


Also the failures from the case last year sort of come back to haunt everyone don't they what can you tell us about how that affects everyone and how that is weaved into the story?
Yes. Travis and Langton decided to bury what happened last time (not capturing the killer in Deadly Intent) so it means we have two big storylines this year. We've got the main murder case but there's the storyline with the group and it feels like a double whodunit In this one you really get to know these characters a lot more. Last year's ending was so audacious, it was a three hour drama chasing a killer that got away and that's Lynda all over.


What's the atmosphere like on set now that you've worked on four series? Do you feel you know each other really well and does that help your performances?
Yes its great. We have not just the same actors coming back but the same makeup designer, costume designer, a lot of the crew, the art department its always the same executive producer so every year you feel like you're coming back into the team which is great and I think it enhances the show because we've become more like our characters. Everyone trusts each other 


What do you love and loathe on TV?
I love a good story. We talk about reality TV shows but really I think they're to do with story too. I will watch a talent show and be moved by it and carried along by it by the story. I won't phone and vote or buy an album but I'll watch it for the story. As far as drama I don't think you can do better than Mad Men I'm a huge fan of Paul Abbott's stuff, I loved Clocking Off I thought Clocking off was a wonderful bit of television. The Lakes was incredible, Jimmy Mcgovern is incredible with his stuff.


What was the funniest thing/strangest thing to happen during the filming?
We had to film a chase sequence so we took a skeleton crew of about nine people in this working tube station. It was like sort of gorilla film making we start filming these sequences where we're chasing the suspect through the station. So the public are milling around and commuters are coming in and out and more than once did a member of the public joined in and tried to apprehend the suspect! They got really annoyed when we told them actually we're just making some telly. We scared the life out of a bunch of international tourists.  When you watch that sequence some of those reactions are real! When you're working on something that's supposed to be funny it can be quite serious because its all about timing, getting the jokes right but doing such a serious drama is usually the most fun you could possibly have.


Do you know of any plans for Above Suspicion 5?
Well they are adaptations of Lynda's Novels and I think there are two or three more of those and I know we're all up for it but I suppose its a case of timing and scheduling but we're hopeful.


And then maybe after all those are finished we can have a Paul Barolli spin-off?
Yeah I'm thinking Barolli Nights. Something for the mums a well mannered cop. The freest arms in showbiz. The actual cop in the tank top! 


If that doesn't happen you need to pitch that to someone
Yes you and I are in that together!


Above Suspicion: Silent Scream starts Monday 9pm on ITV1.


Buy Above Suspicion on DVD


all pictures courtesy of ITVpictures 

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