"I think it's going to be an event piece and a great tribute to Alan Plater, who created it and sadly passed away. It evokes a time of people living for the day - there was a time when you thought you were going to be dead in the next hour. It will resonate pleasant and unpleasant memories for a lot of people. I think it's basically saying, 'Lest we forget'. Let's not forget, let's remember those who died for our freedom. It's a very entertaining, beautifully crafted love story."
What's the story about?
"It revolves around this central character, played by Kevin Whately, who, along with my character Harry Crawford, fought in the trench in the Somme in World War I. He thought that after the war there would be some reward at the end of it - a wife, a family, full-time employment, ticker-tape reception wherever he goes, people are going to love him. The reality's completely different. He comes back to poverty and unemployment. There then comes a time where they have to fight for their country again with the guys of the Home Guard. They're principled men, and they both have their reasons for joining and not joining. Joe joins up - I reluctantly join up because Joe is part of that organization, but Harry realizes that the Somme was one war too many and there was so much carnage. So he's a very embittered character. The only thing that keeps him going is Joe and that friendship and that is sort of the central root to the story."
What's your character Harry like?
"He's sort of like a lot of soldiers who fought in World War I - this is only from research and guys I've spoken to from World War II - who never talks about the war. He is belligerent, and he's worked in places up and down both banks of the Tyne - twice in some places - because of his situation and the way he behaves. He doesn't suffer fools gladly, he detests title and those who use it falsely and he can spot a bullshitter a mile off. He's a very isolated character, Harry. The war had a profound effect on him and he has a life of confusion. But his stability comes from Joe and the camaraderie of that relationship."
Is there much humor in the show?
"All comedy comes out of tragedy. There were these nice surreal moments. But it's a very strange hybrid comedy drama because the comedy has to come out of the circumstance and the relationships. We don't ask you to laugh every three minutes and the lines don't force you to laugh. The laugh comes out of something real, as does the pain and the sorrow. It's not like Dad's Army, which was a sitcom, but the pathos is there. I'm not a fan of sitcom because they're forcing you to laugh, you can see it in their delivery. But here it's in the relationships, you follow them. It's up to you to laugh."
You've signed up for a role in Being Human. How was that?
"I'm still enjoying that! I'm still filming. I'm loving it, every second of it. The makeup is brilliant! Absolutely amazing. It takes a long while - five hours. It's great fun."
Can you give us any hints about what you're doing on the show?
"It's a father-son relationship. Both werewolves. You think they're father and son and they spend their life going around the country trying to kill every vampire that exists. And I'm in pursuit of one particular one, Herrick, the leader of all the vampires. That's my ultimate goal. And there is a moment with me and him having a ruck."
Were you a fan of the show before you took the role?
"Absolutely. Purely because I knew the director and I just thought I'd watch an episode. And I went, 'Actually, this is really quirky', so I loved it. But it's very different to a beautiful period drama written by Alan Plater, so it's great."
Do you like taking on different roles?
"I never used to. I used to always do mainstream drama - 'oh, he's the detective in this, oh he's the romantic lead in this one'. So it was very formulaic drama. I'm going to go left-field a bit in the next couple of years."
(Digital Spy- Catriona Wightman)