Since starting her acting career, Grace Hogg-Robinson has appeared on our TV screens including as Beth Kennedy in both series of BBC’s The Coroner from 2015 to 2016. Grace has just finished a run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Sitting by Katherine Parkinson and could recently be seen in the second series of Pls Like on BBC iPlayer. Catching up with us last week, Grace tells us about appearing at Edinburgh Fringe, her time filming for The Coroner and her guest role in The Durrells.
Can you tell us about Pls Like, and who is your character Chelsea?
Pls Like is a mockumentary about YouTubers, and being a vlogger and/or social media star. Documentary maker Liam Williams (“if Stacey Dooley won’t do it, he will”) is filming a whole host of these vloggers as they prepare for the new YouTube awards ‘The Likeys’. The characters are mostly inspired from real life vlogging megastars but I play Chelsea, who is the savvy new seventeen-year-old agent of beauty, fashion and lifestyle guru Millipede (played by Emma Sidi). Chelsea takes her job very seriously and is hugely organised and efficient.
Had you worked with any of the cast or crew previously?
No, I hadn’t, but everyone was very welcoming and VERY funny. It was very hard not laugh during takes sometimes.
What is your role in Defending the Guilty?
I played Gracie who is aggressive, gobby and rude but very clever and deceptive. She has already been convicted of mugging and attacking a nurse but is now finding out whether or not she gets a custodial sentence.
What have the reviews been like so far on the pilot episode?
It was received really well! It’s already been commissioned for a full series which will air next year but I had a great experience working on the pilot. I’m looking forward to see where they take the characters in the full series.
How long were you filming for TV series The Coroner?
Each series of The Coroner took around four months to film. We would start in April and finish at the end of July before Devon got too busy over the school holidays.
You played Beth Kennedy in the series, how would you describe her?
Beth is fifteen and is fiercely independent, quirky and rebellious. In the first series she dresses in very gothic clothing and has bright purple hair. She wants to be a forensic pathologist and she’s obsessed with death. She’s very smart and gets some very sassy lines. In the second series she’s always getting into trouble and turns up when she’s not supposed to. She’s settled down though and made some more friends. Her look has toned down a bit because she’s started working as a waitress at the local pub, but she still gets away with some colourful hair extensions.
What did you enjoy most about being on set?
I loved all of our locations. We were often right by the sea or near a beach and so it never really felt like work. On days when the weather was nice, it was such a lovely vibe on set and everyone got on so well. I particularly loved the set for the Kennedys’ home down at Hope Cove – it’s so secluded and picturesque.
Did you attend the screening of Two For Joy at the Edinburgh International Film Festival?
No, sadly I didn’t!
How were you involved in the storyline in The Durrells and did you film on location in Corfu?
I played Nelly in the third series of The Durrells, who is over in Corfu helping to look after her baby cousin, and is invited to Gerry’s thirteenth birthday party. Nelly is from Batley in Yorkshire and is blunt, bored and sarcastic. She gets stuck on a date with Gerry (who is much younger than her), which is organised by Gerry’s mum Louisa, and is appalled when he tells her he doesn’t think they’ll work as a couple. It’s definitely not something Nelly would even have considered and she storms off leaving Gerry embarrassed and upset. I didn’t get to go to Corfu sadly, but I did get to film lots of really fun party scenes at Ealing Studios with the rest of the cast. We had to have 1930s dance lessons, got to play silly group games and had to spend one afternoon doing the conga!
What was your time like working on the TV series Silent Witness as Mel McMorris?
When we first meet her, Mel’s whole life has fallen apart overnight, so I spent lots of time crying and bleeding! Although some of the scenes were very upsetting, everybody was really lovely and I really enjoyed my time on the set. I especially loved working with Emilia Fox, we had lots of very intense, emotional scenes together and she was so patient with me, even when we were stuck out in the cold.
How was the run at Edinburgh Fringe with Sitting by Katherine Parkinson?
It was really good, although unfortunately Katherine wasn’t able to make it to Edinburgh to see it. It was such a privilege to be a part of though, I’ve been a huge fan of Katherine’s work for a long time and I thought her writing was exquisite. We had some really lovely reviews and lots of enthusiastic responses from audience members, which is always nice. The Edinburgh Fringe also has such an inspiring, exciting atmosphere and it’s a real hub of creativity, so it was fantastic to spend a month there.
Who was your character Cassandra?
Cassandra is a wannabe actress and compulsive liar. On the surface she can seem quite shallow and childish, but as the play goes on you learn that she’s deeply unhappy and seeking to connect. I loved playing the character because it was a constant reminder to never judge people until you know them, and in a world with social media, I think that’s sometimes easy to forget.
How long were you touring with Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde?
A long time! I think it was about fourteen weeks in total, plus the rehearsal period on top of that. I started the job in January and finished it in May. Although touring can sometimes be really exhausting, I still loved it and didn’t want it to end. As a company we all got on extremely well, and it was a pleasure to go into work. I don’t remember a day without laughter and I made some really wonderful friends.
Was there anything that helped you decide on an acting career?
I had wanted to be an actress since I was about six. Nobody can work out exactly why it’s what I decided on or what inspired me, as we have no theatrical connections or actors in the family, but I was adamant. Apart from a brief period where I couldn’t decide whether being an author sounded more appealing, it’s a choice that has stuck with me all these years and I can’t imagine it ever changing.
What do you remember from your first acting job?
My first job was actually as an ’SA’ (Supporting Artist/Extra). There was no audition, they just needed a group of children to play school children in Little Crackers, which was a comedy series on Sky, so I went along with some other students at the Jackie Palmer Stage School. It was a really long day and we had to wear bright yellow summer dresses with strictly no makeup but I took it so seriously and was so excited. It was the first time I’d ever been on a set and I just couldn’t believe it was happening.
Do you have any stage or screen roles in the near future that you’re able to share with us?
Oooo, there is something coming up, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share yet, so watch this space!
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