Don your Fred Perry and dust off your Doc Martens, This Is England returns to our screens this week and promises to be as bold and bracing as ever. When Nottingham-born actress Vicky McClure first accepted a role in Shane Meadows’ original big-screen thriller, there was no knowing of the phenomenon it was set to become. But despite the success of the film and a follow-on series, it’s hardly been a straightforward ascension for the 28-year-old, who was working a full time office job as recently as 2010. Now set to reprise her BAFTA winning role of ‘Lol’ for This Is England ‘88, things might be finally starting to shift the starlet’s way…
What can you tell us about the new series of This Is England ‘88?
It’s revisiting the same characters, there are a few new faces in there. We’re obviously set on two years now. I think Shane (Meadows) was really keen to do something that surrounded a different time. The film and ’86 are set in the middle of the summer whereas this is Christmas. Shane’s always been a big fan of Christmas specials with the family gathering round and watching them.
Is it really Christmas viewing?
I mean it’s Shane Meadows, so there’s not necessarily going to be a fluffy white Christmas vibe going on! But there’s definitely a Christmas feeling to it. I think Shane keeps describing it as his version of the nativity play.
What is working with Shane Meadows like?
The guy’s a genius in what he does and the space that he gives you. It’s like when you’re on set with Shane there’s no rush, there’s no panic. If a scene’s not working, it’s not working, and we’ll work it out. And he’s so funny. When we’ve got lots of harrowing stuff going on, you’ve got to try and keep things slightly light, and Shane is a naturally very funny guy. He is just an absolute diamond and a pleasure to work with.
What other directors would you be interested in working with?
Obviously I’d love to work with people like Scorsese, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, the obvious top directors. Their work is just phenomenal and it’d be an absolute pleasure to work with all of those.
How has winning a BAFTA changed things for you?
It’s been the best year of my life in terms of my career. And I’m sure a massive part of that is down to the BAFTA, winning it that night alone was a moment in my life that I’ll never forget. People, I suppose, presume that because I’ve won a BAFTA that I’m going to be a millionaire and that jobs are going to be coming out of my ears. And as much as my life and career is the best that it’s ever been, it’s very naive of people to think that I’m going to rest on my laurels. I just want to do really good work, and be in the business for as long as I can really.
What does 2012 hold for you?
There’s a programme on BBC 2 called Line Of Duty that’s coming out later next year. That’s a great project and the cast in is incredible – Craig Parkinson, Martin Compston, Neil Morrissey, Lennie James – it’s a real variation but it’s an incredibly written piece of work. It’s a really interesting part for me, because it’s nowhere near Lol, it’s not typecast at all and it was a real challenge actually. And then there’s Love Life with David Tennant, which is like a five-part drama directed by Dominic Savage, and was a really different role for me.
This Is England ’88 starts on Channel 4 at 10pm, Tuesday 13 December.
Words: Tom Shepherd