After our exclusive interviews with Miss Scarlet and The Duke‘s show creator Rachael New and director Declan O’Dwyer, we reached out to some of the cast and asked them 5+1 questions – and they all graciously agreed to answer them.
Many thanks to Kate Phillips, Kevin Doyle, Lola Sattar, Cathy Belton, Simon Ludders, Helen Norton, Matthew Malone, Danny Midwinter and Stuart Martin for their time and answers!
It is hard to imagine a recent British period drama that actress Kate Phillips has not appeared in. While studying at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, she played Jane Seymour in Wolf Hall before portraying Venetia Scott on The Crown, Linda Shelby on Peaky Blinders, Princess Mary in the 2019 Downton Abbey film, and she most recently played Laura Lyttelton on The English Game.
What do you like best about Eliza Scarlet? She’s a quick thinker and a clever mind. I love her wit and her tenacity. She’s a very fun character to play.
What do you think annoys the Duke the most about Eliza? She doesn’t know when to give up and it often ends with the two on them at logger heads. She doesn’t pull her punches with him, which clearly winds him up but somehow they always manage to come together in the end.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Rachael has created an amazing ensemble of really witty and heart felt characters and Eliza is different with everyone – each bringing out a different side of her. I particularly love her relationship with Ivy. She takes on the role of a mother figure for Eliza and between them they share a lovely balance of bickery but also tender moments.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? There are way too many to choose from but I have the best memories of filming one particular scene in episode 5. It was our last day of the shoot and Stuart and I were having to perform a scene through a small hole in a prison door. It was a very fun and fast paced scene to play as, whilst starting off quite sweetly, as ever it escalates quickly into a full blown row.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Action sequences. My favourite moments are when Eliza is bounding around, hair a mess, spouting some sort of pithy, cutting remark – most likely in The Duke’s direction.
Kevin Doyle is an English actor who is best known for his portrayal of Mr Molesley in popular period drama series Downton Abbey. The 2019 Downton Abbey film saw him working alongside his later “TV daughter” Kate Phillips, while he barely missed appearing next to Andrew Gower in A.D. – The Bible Continues where he played Joseph of Arimathea in the series’ first 6 episodes.
What do you like best about Henry Scarlet? He loves and admires his daughter.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about her father? He’s usually right about things.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Eliza.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? No favourite. They were all wonderful to do.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Come back to life!
Lola Sattar is a young aspiring actress who is best known for playing young Eliza on Miss Scarlet and The Duke. She has also appeared in the British-German fantasy children’s television series The Worst Witch and most recently, played a guest role on The Dumping Ground, a British children’s drama series about young people living in care homes.
What do you like best about Eliza Scarlet? I like her fiery nature, sharp mind and determination as well as her compassion for those in need.
What do you think annoys her father the most about Eliza? I think the fact that Eliza is so strong minded can annoy her father as it would have been unusual at the time for a young woman to act in such a way and I think he fears what the rest of the world will take of it, especially in her future – he wants what he thinks is best for his daughter.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? Moses.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? I love the scene where Eliza begins to teach Ivy to read & write – I found it really moving.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 I’d like to see Eliza solve more cases and build up her reputation for being a great detective.
Cathy Belton is an accomplished Irish actress who has appeared in a wide range of stage, film, radio and television productions. In 2015 she received an IFTA nominationa for her performance in Irish crime drama Red Rock. She appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench in critically acclaimed Philomena in 2013, and portrayed Louise in period drama A Little Chaos starring Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman.
What do you like best about Ivy? What I like best about Ivy is her honesty and loyalty! She always speaks her mind and she is absolutely loyal to Miss Scarlet. Even when Miss Scarlet runs into finance trouble and can’t pay Ivy, Ivy stays and remains loyal and continues to run the house. Her honesty is a joy to play. She always speaks her mind even when it’s not what Miss Scarlet wants to hear. This relationship is everything to Ivy. Miss Scarlet is the daughter, sister, best friend she never had.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about Ivy? What annoys Miss Scarlet most about Ivy is her conservative and old ways: Ivy doesn’t believe in women’s rights. A woman’s place is in the home. But watch this space… Miss Scarlet is working her beautiful ways on her. She teaches her to write and educated her on women’s rights. I love this journey Ivy is on.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? It has to be my lovely Eliza! Kate Phillip’s portrayal of Miss Scarlet is wonderful. She has an ability to bring great masses of emotion and gear changes with the lightest of touch. It’s beautiful to watch Eliza grown through series one.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? My favorite scene to play was in ep 4 where Eliza teaches Ivy to write. Two women from opposite poles supporting each other and making their way in the world.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 I’d love to see Ivy continue to grow with Eliza. Perhaps help Eliza in her private dectective business. What I am most confident about is that in the hands of our gifted creator and writer Rachael New, Ivy is in very safe hands.
Simon Ludders is a well-known British stage and television actor. You will have seen him as Renfield in the CBBC series Young Dracula, as Mr Smith in the Being Human spin-off series Becoming Human, and as Trevor Smith in British crime drama Broadchurch. In 2005 he wrote, produced and directed short film The Last Child of the Sixties, a mockumentary about the fictional Gary Phelps (played by Ludders).
What do you like best about Mr Potts? Pompous characters are always fun to play as they have further to fall when it all goes wrong. Mr Potts is a perfect example of that. He is a stickler for rules which are invariably broken by either Miss Scarlet or The Duke.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about Mr Potts? See above. Also he secretly knows that she is way more intelligent than him.
Who was your favourite character in S1? What a difficult question! I’m going to sit on the fence and say all of them. Is that allowed?
What was your favourite scene in S1? Really too many scenes to choose from but the first scene in the first episode with the glass eyed moll is a fantastic opening.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 Win the lottery. Failing that, managing to get one over on Miss Scarlet…
Dublin born and based actress Helen Norton has an impressive resumee in theatre where she hasn’t only acted but also written and directed short plays for children, and toured with her two-hander play To Hell in a Handbag (co-written with Jonathan White) across the UK and Ireland to sell-out performaces. Her television and film credits include Angela’s Ashes, Ella Enchanted and The Borgias.
What do you like best about Mrs Parker? I love that Mrs Parker pulls no punches, speaks her mind and will do whatever she thinks is best to protect her own.
What do you think annoys Rupert the most about his mother? Probably the fact that she treats him more like a child than an adult and never seems to listen to his opinions or believes he could, in fact, have any opinions of his own.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? That’s a difficult question, there were so many great characters! I loved the hapless policeman Honeychurch and also Ivy and Moses.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? My favourite scene was in Episode 1 when Mrs Parker and Rupert are visiting Scarlet and the artificial eyeball rolls into view!
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 If I’m lucky enough to return in Season 2, I’d be delighted with whatever Rachael decides Mrs Parker should get up to!
Versatile Irish actor Matthew Malone graduated from The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity College Dublin in summer 2018. He has since appeared in a number of plays in Dublin and was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Paul in Faultline in 2020. In late 2021 he can be seen on Netflix in the Vikings’ spin-off Valhalla.
What do you like best about PC Honeychurch? I think my favourite thing about him is how green he is. Honeychurch is wonderfully out of his depth starting out as a policeman, learning through his mistakes, and it’s fun to play that comedy as he struggles to keep up with Eliza and Duke.
What do you think annoys William and Eliza the most about PC Honeychurch? Probably his inexperience and his cheek. He always seems to say the wrong thing and finds it hard to see Eliza as an authority – but she shows him what’s what.
Who was your favourite character in S1? I have a real fondness for Mrs. Parker (Helen Norton). She’s straight out of Oscar Wilde and is scary and hilarious in equal measure.
What was your favourite scene in S1? There’s a scene at the end of episode 3 when Eliza starts to teach Ivy (Cathy Belton) how to read and write. There’s something really powerful about that passing on of knowledge to someone who’s cared for her for so many years, and it ties up that episode’s story really well.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 I’d love to see Honeychurch do something right (for once!) and impress the Duke. I can imagine how surprised and chuffed he’d be at helping to solve a case.
Danny Midwinter‘s passion for acting was discovered by an agent while he was working for a moving company. He has since worked on numerous TV series and films in Britain and internationally, including From Hell (starring Johnny Depp) about the Jack the Ripper murders as well as the historical TV drama series Rome (with Outlander‘s Tobias Menzies) and The Borgias.
What do you like best about DS Frank Jenkins? Frank is a thinker and everyone around him underestimates him.
What do you think annoys the Duke the most about Frank? I think the Duke dislikes Frank’s dress sense and his slopey ways.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? That’s a hard one. I loved everyone. If I was pushed i would say my favourite character has to be Rupert Parker. He is so diametrically opposite to Frank – and Andrew just made him fascinating and funny.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? I have two scenes actually. One is when young Eliza has a conversation with her father over the kitchen table and then the mirror scene to that; when adult Eliza is sat at the same table having a conversation with her father.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 For season two I would love to dress like the Duke, Stuart Martin looked fantastic.
Scottish actor Stuart Martin is certainly not an unfamiliar face when it comes to period drama having had major roles in hit series Jamestown (alongside Misfits and The Village alumni Matt Stokoe) and Medici (with Hollywood legend Dustin Hoffman, “Bodyguard” Richard Madden and Monroe‘s Sarah Parish). He most recently starred in comic adaptation Dampyr which is scheduled to be released in 2020.
What do you like best about The Duke? He’s a proper old school bloke, isn’t he, from a bygone era. And Rachael doesn’t shy away from that in how she’s written him. Warts and all. He doesn’t always get it right, he doesn’t always say it in the right way or apologise quick enough when he’s got it wrong. But he does apologise, in his own way. Says what he thinks, let’s his temper and emotions flare unmoderated and unapologetically. He goes from zero to ten in a heartbeat and back to three again just as fast. That is the best and most rewarding thing to be given and to be able to play as an actor. To be able to follow those thoughts and emotions and not second guess them or dampen them before they’ve even reached the surface. To be able to have an argument and not be apologising while you’re having the argument. I’ve got a real soft spot for Duke. Hardened because of his experiences in a tough world, but caring and loving and open to change and what’s right.
What do you think annoys Eliza the most about The Duke? All of the above. He’s very much a man of his time and Eliza is ahead of her time. So their ways of thinking don’t always aline, which gives a lot of the lovely drama and comedy. They both infuriate each other because they both have such different ways of seeing the world and cases. He’s getting there. He may not be the most forward thinking by today’s standards, but I think he’s learning and trying to do what’s right and Eliza knows this and respects him for this. She just knows it may be a slightly longer journey getting him to see her way of thinking and what’s right often. But it goes both ways.
It’s a brilliantly complex relationship that Rachael has crafted with a whole load of affection and love and history thrown in, that makes the characters such a joy to play and delve into.
Who was your favourite character in season 1? They are all so brilliantly crafted, on and off the page. They all have their own distinct lives and journeys, flaws and struggles. A testament to Rachael’s writing and how she’s created these characters. They all have such great moments and lives and struggles we all care about. And they will continue to grow and shine in season two.
What was your favourite scene in season 1? So many, but I loved filming episode 5 in the prison. We all did. We filmed it all near the end of the shoot in an ancient prison in Wicklow, Wicklow Gaol. It has such an amazing history of its time used in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War and before. There are so many scenes in that ep that I loved as Eliza and Duke’s relationship and working relationship has matured. The stakes are so high and tensions and emotions are so high that we really see who they are. Unfiltered. The scene between them when Duke finally finds Eliza locked in the cell, for me, sums up their whole relationship and what the shows about. Their battles and tiffs, how they wind each other up and the comedy that comes with it and is such a beautiful part of the show, their losses and fears. They both allow themselves to be very honest and open in that scene through the locked cell door. I think it was maybe 6 pages and Dec would just run it as 8 minute long takes. It was great fun for me and Kate to play out under the watchful brilliant guidance of Dec.
Is there something you would like to see your character do in season 2? 🤞 It’s funny, normally you do have a feeling of the things you want to see your characters doing more of in the next season. Something you felt was missing that would show a different side of them or could be expanded. But not with this, the way Rachael mapped out the characters in season one, you don’t feel that, we got to show so many sides to them. And although there are many sides to these characters that we are yet to see, I’m as excited as you are to see where she takes them. What I do know is that the next journey that they go on will be up a level. We’re going to go deeper and further. With the introduction of new characters and dangers and challenges that will make their worlds all that harder and ultimately dramatic and funny and heartbreaking for these brilliant characters. It’s going to be BIG.
Inevitable bonus question: How was working with Andrew Gower?
Kate Phillips: Well, you know better than anyone what an amazing actor he is. Working with Andrew is heaven. He’s unbelievably talented and his comic timing is genius. There is one scene in episode 6 that I wasn’t sure we would ever be able to complete because we were both laughing so much.
Kevin Doyle: I didn’t get to work with Andrew but I did get to watch his work and I thought it was a wonderful, sensitive, intelligent and funny performance. I also thought he was a lovely human being.
Lola Sattar: Really good, he made me feel so welcome on set!
Cathy Belton: Working with Andrew Gower was a joy! He is a gifted actor. Hardworking but such fun. We laughed a lot. It was hard to keep a straight face in scenes with Andrew. His comic timing is extraordinary.
Simon Ludders: Unfortunately I didn’t get to work with Andrew as we were never in any scenes together. However, I’ve battled against him in a few Zoom quizzes over lockdown and it hurts me to say that he’s rather clever. Ish. Kind of.
Helen Norton: Andrew was Gorgeous to work with, it’s difficult to launch into a Mother/Son relationship when you don’t know the other actor well but we had some interesting character chats and playing our scenes was great fun!
Matthew Malone: I never crossed over with Andrew on set, but I really enjoyed his performance as Rupert. His comic timing brings so much to his scenes.
Danny Midwinter: Andrew Gower is the next John Hurt.
Stuart Martin: Just brilliant. He’s one of my favourite people. Lovely and funny and brilliant and generous on and off screen. Nothing better than finding a wee old pub in a wee town in Ireland to have a few pints of Guinness after a long day shooting, and no better person to have there with you, both talking rubbish, than Andrew.