Actress Lauren Lyle talks us through her new show on BBC Vigil and working with Suranne Jones.
Last year we all picked up some unusual skills: banana bread making, seven-step Korean facials and of course, TikTok. But for actress Lauren Lyle, homemade pasta and experimental cocktails were on the agenda, “I can make some banging fresh homemade pasta from scratch and very experimental cocktail,” the actress eagerly revealed. “I started renovating my first place then our second lockdown hit when it was a building site so that was slightly like living in hell. But being out the other side now with a beautiful result has been very rewarding so I can honestly say I’ll never be afraid of doing anything ever again and I’ve got friends calling me to give them all the secret reno tips.
Starting her career at a young age in theatre, the British actress has gone on to star in an array of popular TV series, from BBC comedy show Ragers to BAFTA award-winning show Broken with Sean Bean. Now the actress is set to take over our screens this weekend as she will be appearing in BBC’s new drama Vigil. Boasting an all-star cast, the show will take us through the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler on-board a Trident nuclear submarine. But when the sailor is found dead, the journey onboard the ship slowly unravels into a much darker and sinister story. Starring as the risk-taking Jade, Lyle revealed that the show is due to shock its viewers this evening as it airs on BBC, stating that stunt doubles and the script absolutely floored her
Catching up with us, the star sat down to reveal how she got involved on the project, working with Suranne Jones and all the details on her new show Karen Pirie.
Check out the interview below now…
Hey Lauren! How has this past year been for you?
This year has been a wild one. After Transitioning from the euphoria of 2020 post lockdown summer to working on Vigil, back into lockdowns, and then onto Outlander and Karen Pirie, it has been a whirlwind. I think, like everyone, we are all still coming to terms with what we’ve collectively been though but I’m trying to really enjoy the small positives of each day and feel really grateful for the fun and work I’ve experienced this year.
With everything that happened last year, did you pick up any unusual skills?
I can make some banging fresh homemade pasta from scratch and very experimental cocktails. I started renovating my first place then our second lockdown hit when it was a building site so that was slightly like living in hell. But being out the other side now with a beautiful result has been very rewarding so I can honestly say I’ll never be afraid of doing anything ever again and I’ve got friends calling me to give them all the secret reno tips.
How did you first get into acting? What sparked the interest?
My family were part of ‘The Friday Night Gang’ which was a group of families I grew up with and to keep ourselves entertained whilst the adults had parties us kids put on what we called ‘Pen Pal Plays’ charging 20p a show – as the youngest of the gang that must have been my first influence and where it all began. My family are very dry and funny and I just loved making people laugh. I also worked in an independent cinema for years and I’d always sneak in at the back and watch the films. It’s always been the thing that has energised me most and growing up in the late 90’s and the dawn of digital VHS my mum would let me and my friends film little movies with each other. After leaving high school I kept being knocked back from drama schools which I think spurred me on to work. The year I did get into a school I was doing The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre. I spoke to the wonderful and late casting director Maggie Lunn and told her I wanted to carry on working – she agreed I should just go for it.
You originally started on the stage before transitioning to TV/Film, why the switch and which do you prefer?
I’ve been so lucky to get to do both. My background is theatre which I absolutely love and is in my bones. It’s the reason I got into acting and is the backbone of my career. I was in the National Youth Theatre REP company and it was the most joyful time, suddenly film and TV opportunities came knocking and I had to grab them. I got Outlander and an amazing Jimmy Mcgovern/Sean Bean BBC drama called Broken within the space of about 3 weeks of each other so ran with it.
And you’ve been on Starz’s Outlander since 2017, how did you get involved on the show?
I went through a big audition process, thought I had mucked up the audition by saying the wrong lines and the morning after my recall they called and asked me to play Marsali. It was unreal. I remember the shock and exactly where I was in London at the time walking to one of my many day jobs. It’s been an incredible journey getting to become a part of such a loved and successful show. Stepping onto those sets each day really is a special experience.
Do you relate to Marsali in anyway and how did you approach the role?
Marsali has a brave and romantic energy I have loved exploring and like to think is a part of me too. She innately commands respect which is something I strive to and she really goes after what she wants. I feel like I know her inside out and I’m really protective of her having been with her for 4 seasons. There are also a lot of differences and I love that in real life I look nothing like Marsali and the second I put on the corset and give my accent her lilt we slip into each other. Also being the daughter of a woman with an evil reputation is so fun to play and is a delicious way to ground her as a character. Marsali has some of the quickest wit on the show which I’d like to think we share.
Now you’re about to star in VIGIL on BBC, how did this come about?
It was being made by a really passionate team of people with a thriller of a script so that’s very hard to say no to – I was over the moon to be offered Jade. It was a chance to get to work on a very modern and current piece with a different realm of motives and themes. Jade Antoniak lives in a peace camp protesting nuclear weapons and work by the navy. She risks her life day to day to standing up for what she believes in. She’s also a woman with a lot of secrets through the series and at times a bit of a lone wolf living on the outskirts of life. It was brilliant to get to explore that with our director and find the quiet power in those scenes.
What can we expect from the TV show, and what is one thing we should look out for?
Vigil is dark, tense and has an absolute A-team cast. I remember walking into the read through not knowing who else would be in it and getting giddy immediately at us having some of the best in the business all sitting round a table with our coffees and bananas. The show will grip you immediately and I genuinely don’t think you’ll be able to look away. It’s a proper good dramatic thriller. Suranne was inspiring and it was a pleasure to work with Rose on chilling material. I really loved playing such a frightening and high stakes storyline. The last thing I’ll say is stunt doubles are the heroes of our industry – some of the things those guys did floored me. And the show has a lot of it.
Aside from acting, you’re a presenter for She’s A Rec podcast, what made you create this platform and what does it mean to you?
I created She’s a Rec’ because I thought it would be cool to talk to inspiring and influential women about art. So much of what I was consuming in music, film and books came from men, so I wanted to hear from the most exciting voices of our time and inspire everyone listening to expand their taste. Basically, it’s a very good excuse for me to sit down and get to chat to really cool and often funny women about culture and life. I’m a fiend for a recommendation on what to watch, listen to and read so each one is very different from Ellie from Wolf Alice, to an UNMAS Bomb disposal expert, to the movement director that taught Emma Corrin how to become Princess Diana in the Crown. When I launched, I could have never expected it to go as well as it did. It has such an immense response and I’m so proud of how many people have loved it and tell me about their experiences listening on their run or specifically in the bath. I can’t wait to do more.
Looking to the future, what’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
Next up is my new show Karen Pirie playing Detective Sergeant Karen Pirie. It was the ride of my life. I can’t believe they let me play a DS, I’m so excited for people to see it. I’m working on more She’s a Rec’ and honestly in the future put me back on stage or in anything by A24. In the meantime, I’ll be mastering the perfect negroni.
Vigil begins at 9pm on Sunday 29 August on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with episode two airing at 9pm on the Bank Holiday Monday, 30 August. Vigil will then continue weekly each Sunday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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