In this year’s new CBBC show A Kind of Spark, Rosalyn Wright plays Iona alongside a cast including her on-screen daughter Audrey, played by Eve Midgley, with all episodes currently available on BBC iPlayer. Some of Rosalyn’s TV guest roles have included playing Lindsay Green in an episode of Vera this year, Anna Jarrett in Silent Witness in 2022, and the previous year, she played Debbie Oram in an episode of Innocent. For the first three series of Hetty Feather, Rosalyn played Nurse Winterson, a role she reprised for the final series in 2020, and in Rare Beasts, she played Emily alongside the film’s writer and director Billie Piper. Rosalyn is set to film in Northern Ireland for an unannounced project, which will hopefully air in 2024, and she will be seen in Amazon Prime’s upcoming series Anansi Boys, having filmed in Scotland. Answering our questions, Rosalyn told us about being on set of A Kind of Spark, her time as Nurse Winterson in Hetty Feather and working with Billie Piper on Rare Beasts.
You’ve recently been seen on screen playing Iona in the CBBC/BBC iPlayer series A Kind of Spark, what is the show like to be part of?
When I read the script for A Kind of Spark, it reminded me of all the great children’s dramas I loved when I was growing up – The Secret Garden, The Secret World of Polly Flint, The Box of Delights! The story had real heart. Crucially, A Kind of Spark is about hearing different voices telling different stories and I’m here for that.
How is it filming alongside Eve Midgley as your on-screen daughter Audrey and with the rest of the cast?
Eve Midgley knows I love her. She has such a great film face and always gave such brilliant performances. I get the pleasure of playing her mum on screen and I love that.
Why would you recommend watching A Kind of Spark and who do you think will enjoy it?
A Kind of Spark is a heart-warming and illuminating story which attempts to answer a big question. Where do we all fit in? Who are “our” people? Where is our tribe? My daughter loves the show. She’s eight. It’s the first time she has really been absorbed by a story that I’m part of and not just watching “cos my mums in it”. If you want some escapist fun, it’s for you. If you are experiencing some/any/all of the things Addie is experiencing, it is for you. If your best mate reminds you of any of our beautiful and nuanced personalities on screen, it’s for you. I get a few parents quietly letting me know how great to see their children who have autism finally seen on screen. Representation matters. There is room for this and many, many other stories like it. Elle (McNicoll), the author, has made a seismic shift in literary and now on screen content for autistic children and young people. I get quite emotional about it actually. ❤️
What was it like playing Lindsay Green in an episode of Vera earlier this year?
I made it onto Vera! I asked Brenda (Blethyn) if when she started she thought she’d still be doing it all these years later and she laughed and said no. Working with Brenda and Kenny (Doughty) can only be described as joyous. I learnt so much from them in the episode I was in. They gave me such support verbally and via our producer afterwards. Their words will stay with me FOREVER. I love being an actor and the journey acting takes me on.
In 2021, you had a guest role in Innocent as Debbie Oram, and a guest role in Silent Witness as Anna Jarrett last year, how were these to film?
When you show up on set as a one episode/day player – it’s daunting. Everyone knows everyone. The cast and crew have gelled. In I swan, with my Notts accent and approach, and thankfully we make the magic happen together. Collaboration is such a huge part of what we do as actors. The funny thing about Innocent 2 was that we filmed it during lockdown. So I was quarantined in Dún Laoghaire for about a month before I even stepped onto set. To pass time, I did an interior design course online and took American accent classes. Idle hands and all that. I can highly recommend Dún Laoghaire and Blackrock as a holiday destination. Beautiful. Those who say that Ireland has a magical quality are not wrong. Walking along the seafront every day for exercise. Pottering in the beautiful array of independent shops was a treat. Though I did miss my kids and hubby a lot. Silent Witness was a 25th Anniversary special. Whoa, I’ve done some pretty cool jobs.
What was Nurse Winterson like to play in the first three series of Hetty Feather for CBBC and how was it reprising your role for the final episode in 2020?
Nurse Winterson in Hetty Feather was the first time I’d ever done a period drama. Swanning around in period costume and looking for Mr Wright! Some of my dearest friends came out of my time on that show. It marked a real change in how I got to work professionally as up until that point I mostly did comedy. (NOTE: I am still occasionally able to raise a smirk from kids and that is the true barometer of comedic success in my eyes). During the final episode, there was no acting required for the emotional farewell with Hetty (played by Isabel Clifton). She and Nurse Winnie had, like, an unspoken bond. Nurse Winnie was an allie even though it could have cost her her job. I loved playing a person who tries to do the right thing and in a very subtle but definite way make a positive change in other peoples lives. When I met Isabel she was 12, and by the time we had finished the show, she was nearly 18! It was mind-blowing really. Taught me something about that window in a young person’s life. It goes fast.
Can you tell us about your time filming as Emily in Rare Beasts?
A person who can write, direct and star in their own movie and do all three really well? And do it all while pregnant? I can only salute Billie Piper. I’d watch her really closely during rehearsal and between takes. She appears very contained and then it’s like something happens when they call action. She cast the whole movie herself and I still feel immense pride that she trusted me with her material.
Is there anything you can say about your upcoming series Anansi Boys and what are you looking forward to for the release on Amazon Prime?
Not sure I can say much about Anansi Boys. We had an absolute blast filming in Scotland and I’m looking forward to seeing it when it drops.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I went to a place called Central Junior Television Workshop for kids. When I was 12, my drama teacher thrust a flyer into my hand and urged me to audition along with 400 other hopefuls in Nottingham. Nobody was more surprised than me that I got in. The audition was exhilarating. I knew I’d found my corner of the Earth at the Workshop. Many contemporaries are still people I don’t get to see enough on screen. Some amazing talent came out of that place and we see a portion on screen but still only a fraction. Some of the Workshop actors did scenes and improvisations that I still remember to this day. It took me a long time to settle into acting as I hated auditions. None of them ever went as well as the first time I took the floor auditioning for the Workshop. Acting went from an important hobby to my career at around 18 when I got spotted by my first agent. I was doing a play and they came to see a lad called Jeremy – who wasn’t even in the play and ended up seeing me and signing me on the spot!
How do you like to spend your time away from your career and what are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I am an interior design fanatic. Something happened to me when I took that course and I have just dived into interiors in probably a very annoying way for the rest of my family. I’m never without a paintbrush in my hand. One of my kids said it would be good to have an outdoor chalkboard in the garden. So, of course, I started that project – still unfinished though as I’ve got scripts to pour over. Eek!
Favourite TV shows – I LOVE The Bear. When I say unbelievable acting. Geez! That kind of improv style, camera just happens to be on and taping the magic malarkey is the sign of genius acting. Love to work with those guys. Also, surprise surprise, I watch Your Home Made Perfect, Your Garden Made Perfect and Interior Design Masters. Can’t get enough.
What advice would you give a young actor starting out in the industry?
Advice for young actors. You know you’re knocking on when you get asked to give advice. When I was younger I had a lot of energy. I would soak up every bit of opportunity I could. You need that energy as a young actor but you also need a sportsperson’s mentality. Doing theatre and live sketch comedy helped me a lot with this. Talk to other actors. Sounds a bit obvious but I’d be quite scared of talking to actors on set when I was younger. That was a mistake. Real actors share. Most actors are open and there is always a right moment to have a conversation or ask a question about craft.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about and what are you hoping the rest of the year brings you?
I’m about to start filming in Northern Ireland for a few months. Again, with social media being what it is, we actors are gagged from breathing a word about our day jobs these days. It will be fun though and probably it will hit the TV next year.
My hope for the remainder of 2023 is that while I’m away, our house renovations go smoothly and I don’t come home to find a big rainbow unicorn mural in my kitchen or something?!?!? But being back home for Christmas with my family brings me all the joy.
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