We’re on the set of the third series of Channel 4’s hit crime drama No Offence. Chatting with key cast about the upcoming run. This time, it’s series newcomer Lisa McGrillis.
Lisa McGrillis won our hearts as Kelly is BBC Two’s wonderful comedy Mum. Now, she’s set to play one of your new favourite No Offence characters. When we meet on the set of the third series of Paul Abbott’s acclaimed crime drama she describes her character Caroline McCoy has someone you’d either love to hate or hate to love. “I’m a grassroots mayoral candidate, I’m up against a sea of grey when it comes to the other runners. Viv is an old friend of my mum who has passed away so Viv and Caroline have a close relationship of old. It’s quite an interesting dynamic when my character is running for Mayor and she’s with the chief of police and everything that goes with that.”
“She grew up in the same estate as Viv which is a very working-class council estate and I think that she’s a voice to a generation. It’s a different community there now. People aren’t mixing, there are two separate communities. She wants to make a positive change but with the values that she believes in. There’s more to Caroline than meets the eye, she’s got an agenda. She’s a very intelligent woman but people can relate to her. I think the audience will warm to her because she’s the underdog.”
Lisa insists McCoy isn’t based on anyone in particular. “ I think Nicola Sturgeon is a great role model for women. She’s young, people can relate to her, she’s not in her sixties and she’s not a man! Caroline is really fresh and new so I did look a little bit at Nicola for reference because she doesn’t necessarily speak like a politician sometimes, she speaks like she could be a friend or a neighbour and that’s why people warm to her I think.”
What does Caroline bring to the show? “I love how headstrong she is. She’s a go-getter who gets what she wants and won’t stop until she gets it. I think that’s a brilliant quality. She really stands her own ground which is fun to play. When she speaks everybody listens. When she walks into the room everyone stops.”
“The audience see her a lot in front of the camera. She always has her aides around her, cameras are flashing in her face so she’s always got a front on. Even in her makeup, she also wears very bold and sharp clothes. There’s a lot of scenes where Caroline is on stage talking to the people, you see a lot of the campaign”. Andy Burnham needn’t fret just yet though. “It’s made me think how politicians are always on display, having to say the right thing. They have to be so switched on all the time that it must be exhausting.”
How different is it playing a politician in a big city from the smaller world that ditzy Kelly inhabits? “Caroline is in a different world to Kelly which is brilliant. It’s so lovely to play such a contrasting character after the success of Mum. It’s very easy to get typecast and this is the first job I’ve had since and it’s very different. Mum was a bit of a game changer, I have to say. It opened doors for me that were definitely shut before. It’s one of those jobs that don’t come along very often but when they do they certainly make a huge impact. We’re doing a third series which I think we start recording in September”.
Lisa actually has a bit of a past with her new show too. “I am a huge fan of No Offence, in fact, I auditioned for the first series. I read for both Dinah and Joy. That’s going back about five years. Obviously, it didn’t go my way but I then went on to watch it and completely loved it so when the opportunity came up again I was “YES! Get me in!” I probably did go in quite desperate!”
Desperation? That’s perfect for playing a politician! Not long now until we cast our votes on Caroline McCoy. Truth be told, with her confidence she probably won’t need them anyway.
No Offence returns Thursday 13th September 9.00pm on Channel 4