Fans will have the unique opportunity to join the Zoom meeting and ask their questions live themselves. Message the Scarleteers page on Facebook or contact us to be included in the Q&A and receive your invitation. If you prefer, you can also just send in a question and the host will ask it for you. Scarleteers are asking you to send in your questions by Monday, 7 December 2020 in order to allow them to organize them and send out the invitations.
The event will be free to view on YouTube. The link will be shared about 15-30mins prior to the live stream on the Scarleteers Twitter account and on Facebook. We will share it as soon as possible on our our Social Media outlets on Twitter, Facebook and in this post.
We are sure you can sneak in a question about Andrew Gower and his character Rupert Parker if you like!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Alfie is a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in February 2018. Sadly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his 6th birthday party on 25 April 2020 had to be cancelled. To make his day extra special, his dad has asked people to send video messages to his page.
With most of us in some form of quarantine during the Covid-19 epidemic, we hope the follwing interview will provide some welcome distraction. Andrew Gower graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us earlier this week – little did he know how many there would be! He answered all of them nonetheless and we cannot thank him enough for his time and patience!
We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did coming up with questions and covering “a bit of everything”.
First things first: How are you?
Right now, I feel like I should be asking all of you … how you are? … but I shall answer your question : despite the craziness of the world right now – I’m well thank you and healthy. Self isolating in London. In a VERY clean flat.
This question needs to be asked: On a scale from 1-10, how weird or how awesome is it for you to have your own small fanbase?
10 for awesomeness. The weirdness has worn away.
Do you remember the first time someone asked you for your autograph?
The first autograph I ever signed was at a cinema in Angel – the person sat next to me thought I was Andy Murray.
You’re not very active on Social Media. What changed your mind about joining Instagram? Do you have a preference?
I love Twitter for football. All Everton news. That’s a daily go to. I do like to post random photos or music on both – sporadically. I think it’s a nice way to share work you’re passionate about. But I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to spend less time on them. Nothing wrong with a bit of mystery.
Tell us something about Andrew, the actor: when you’re filming, what’s the first thing you do when you come on set? Do you have a special routine?
This changes from set to set … or whatever scenes I’m filming that day. But I’d say a common go to is a cup of black coffee or at a push a red bush tea.
Is it as hard for you as it is for us fans to wait for a new film or TV series to come out after you’ve wrapped filming?
Part of the fun of wrapping a project is knowing that when it comes out you’ll be in a completely different headspace/another role 🤞. There’s something magical about that. Much nicer to be able to watch a project from a distance – not that I’m an avid viewer of my work anyway.
Out of all the characters you played, do you have a favourite?
I really don’t. The joy is being able to think what you can play next or how you could improve the role you just played/make better for next time.
Probably one of the most beloved characters you’ve played so far is Sherlock Holmes (lovingly nicknamed “Baby Sherlock” by your fans btw) on Murdoch Mysteries. It’s been 7 years and people are still asking if/when you’ll make a comeback. Are you aware there’s even an online petition that asks for your return?
Probably be incredibly envious of her talents … and hat collection.
Sherlock Holmes, Rupert Parker and Ezra Spurnrose are all Victorian men (even though Ezra isn’t really from the 19th century). Were you able to use some of your research for the other characters?
I’ve definitely had my overdose of Victorian England. Etiquette coming out of my ears. Although with every character I try and approach them with a different mind set or from a different angle – but it definitely helps to have researched a time period.
One of your fans once commented that it takes “guts and talent” to take on characters like Caligula or Bonnie Prince Charlie. What do you think were some brave choices you made in portraying either character?
That’s lovely to hear. I think one of the main things I took from drama school and from actors I admire … is that we should always be taking risks. Creative risks. Bold choices. Just like Brian Epstein took a risk on 4 lads from Liverpool. Best creative decisions are always risks.
Speaking of Caligula: there were moments when he definitely reminded us on Peter Ustinov’s Nero in the old classic Quo Vadis. Have you ever seen it?
I’ve never seen it. Thanks for the recommendation.
Three of the characters you played recently (Tommy Quickly, James Hadfield and Ben Taylor) are all battling (different) mental health issues. Coincidence or is this a topic you particularly liked exploring at that moment?
Honestly, it’s just they’re all really interesting characters on the page. It’s an amazing opportunity to play somebody who faces different day to day obstacles than yourself.
Iceland, Sweden, the Czech Republic – you filmed in some pretty cold places lately. Which one was your favourite (and do we need to knit some mittens for the future)?
I really couldn’t choose. V lucky to have filmed in all those countries. My mitten game is strong … don’t you worry.
Congratulations on a second season for Carnival Row! How does it feel to be back for another season?
It’s great to be back!
Our corner of the internet imploded a little, when you announced your part in the final season of Poldark. To see Mitchell and Cutler unite is probably the biggest dream, Being Human fans never knew they had, come true. How was filming with Aidan Turner?
Great to finally meet Aidan. Was lovely to chat about our time on Being Human and many of the Poldark crew had been on the show too. Joy to see them all!
You recently completed your first film as a producer. Can you tell us something about the experience to be in charge of a project from beginning to end? Would you like to produce again, maybe also direct?
It’s definitely something I’d like to do again. Though like with everything … It’s all about finding the right project and then you’ll NEED to do it.
It seems you often manage to include some of your music when you’re acting, for example one of Emerson’s songs is featured in an episode of Monroe. How did that happen?
Our wonderful producer Jennie Scanlon found out I had been in a band and asked if they could use the music for the episode.
Another example is Rob (Black Mirror), who is singing in his car just before the fatal accident. Was that scene improvised?
Andrew Gower plays Miss Scarlet’s best friend Rupert Parker, a mild mannered and slightly nervous young man who invests in Eliza’s agency and is one of her few supporters.
Rachael New and Declan O’Dwyer
Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin
ETA (31 March 2020):
In this episode of A Stab In The Dark, Mark Billingham talks to Kate Phillips and Rachael New. Kate and Rachael discuss with Mark the enduring appeal of the Victorian era when it comes to crime fiction and drama and explain why Eliza Scarlet is the female Sherlock Holmes.
We had the great pleasure of speaking to the wonderfully talented Rachael New, creator of the upcoming drama Miss Scarlet and The Duke. We talked about her work on the 6 part series, the challenges of writing in a period setting and her plans for the future.
The British screenwriter’s impressive CV consists of a wide variety of drama and comedy series, both in contemporary and historical settings. In 2009 she wrote and co-created comedy drama series Monday Monday (starring Tom Ellis and Miranda Hart) for British channel ITV. She’s well-known for her work on The Mallorca Files (BBC), which also features a male and female detective clashing on how to investigate, and period drama Grantchester (ITV). Miss Scarlet and The Duke is the first time she serves as creator, writer and show runner.
What are you most excited about for fans to discover about Miss Scarlet and The Duke?
There is so much I’m looking forward. The characters have been so much fun to write. My protagonist Eliza Scarlet is a force of nature – an ambitious, independent woman living at a time where women had little or no rights. This creates lots of lovely conflict which you need to create a cracking story. I also think the tone of the series is quite a fresh take on the period genre. It’s a drama but punctuated with lots of comedy. I think this is something that will feel quite new and exciting to watch.
There’s no release date yet but can you maybe roughly hint at when we can expect to see it?
Great news, especially for everyone this side of the pond. Thank you!
How much research went into your work on Miss Scarlet and The Duke?
A lot. I wanted the world to feel as authentic as possible so that Eliza’s struggle could cut through. It wasn’t a chore. I love history, and curling up on my sofa with a pile of books, cup of tea (or g&t) usually with a blanket or a cat on my lap, is my idea of heaven.
That sounds really heavenly indeed! Is Miss Scarlet based on historic events? Was there a real “Miss Scarlet“?
The character of Eliza Scarlet is fiction – there were no female detectives in 19th century London – however the world she inhabits is very much an authentic one. I felt it was important to research as much as possible. The 19th century was very much a male dominated society and at its core the premise of Miss Scarlet and The Duke is a woman in a man’s world trying to stay in the game.
What was your inspiration for Miss Scarlet, as a character and as a series?
We have a female Doctor Who so I wanted to write a female Sherlock Holmes, but unlike Holmes Eliza Scarlet is more human and less super hero. And where Holmes would be celebrated for his brilliance, Eliza has to work a hell of a lot harder for any kind of respect or recognition.
Haha! There is a lot of me in Eliza – her determination, her impatience, her lack of culinary skills – I’d rather be digging in the garden covered in mud than in the kitchen baking. But Kate Phillips (who plays Eliza) has brought so much to the role that now I’m writing season 2 I just think of her. She is sensational.
Can you share anything about the casting process? What were you looking for in the actors portraying Eliza, the Duke, and Rupert?
I was looking for that spark, a connection that the actor has with the script. As soon as I met with Kate (Eliza), Stuart (Duke), Andrew (Rupert), Ansu (Moses) and Cathy (Ivy) I knew immediately that’s who I wanted. Each are very special actors. They’ve brought magic to the screen and I feel extremely lucky to have them on the show.
Standard and inevitable question: how was working with Andrew Gower?
Andrew’s funny, smart, intuitive and just a lovely person to hang out with. Rupert Parker is a complex character and Andrew did a beautiful job of playing those nuances with such subtlety. He manages to make you laugh as well as move you all at the same time. He’s a class act.
We couldn’t agree more!
How old were you when you started writing? Has writing always been a passion for you?
I always loved writing as a kid and a teen but never really thought about making a living out of it. It was later when I had my first baby (who is now almost 18!) that a stranger actually paid me for a piece of writing. I haven’t stopped since.
Do you enjoy writing historical stories or contemporary ones? And why? What are some pros and cons of each genre?
I’m a period drama junkie so that is my preference both to watch as a viewer and to write. There are many cons of writing period – it’s costly and it’s tricky when out on location to cover up the signs of our modern age – satellite dishes, telephone lines, street lights… but it’s worth the hassle. I love diving into a world that isn’t recognisable as my own. To me that’s true escapism and what storytelling is all about.
Miss Scarlet and The Duke was the first time producing your own show. How did that feel?
It was exhausting, stressful, relentless… and I loved every minute of it. Working with director Declan O’Dywer was a real career high for me. I’ve found a friend for life as well as a trusted colleague who I’ll definitely be working with on other projects. I don’t want to big him up too much or he’ll get a big head and it’s already pretty big – that and the fact that someone else might snap him up if they realise just how good he is.
Show Running Miss Scarlet has been incredible but I had an awesome team behind me. Ben Edwards who over the years has often been my writing partner on other shows (and who rather conveniently also happens to be my husband) wrote a couple of the episodes and helped me break the stories. Then there’s my formidable exec producer team headed up by Patty Ishimoto at Element 8. It was a massive team effort.
What’s your next project? Anything you can share?
I’ve got a Tudor thriller that’s an itch I’m going to scratch at some point, but at the moment it’s all Miss Scarlet. I’m in the middle of writing the first two episodes of season 2.
Thank you so very much, Ms New, for taking the time to answer our questions. We are even more excited to see Miss Scarlet and The Duke now and are loving the idea of a second season!