Blood, sweat and good old fashioned romance in ITV’s historical saga
Jessica Raine is a long way from Call The Midwife’s Nonnatus House in her new role. She stars as a victorian single mum who winds up in a wild-west style shanty town in ITV’s Jericho.
The eight parter opens with mother of two, Annie Quainton, being turfed out of her home following the death of her gambler husband, leaving the family penniless.
With nowhere else to go, she’s forced to take refuge in Jericho, a lawless community of navies constructing a colossal railway viaduct across a valley in Yorkshire – inspired by the real-life Ribblehead bridge.
Taking in lodgers to raise cash, she meets enigmatic labourer Johnny Jackson (Hans Matheson). Although there’s an instant attraction, the romance is a slow burn.
“They are bonded by a terrible secret, and an attraction starts to build”, explains Jessica, “i wanted it to really sizzle.”
Only 33, Jessica played a mum in Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude last year, and her character in Jericho has teenage children, including a 17 year old daughter played by former Coronation Street favourite Amy James Kelly.
“I don’t know if it’s physically possible, but Annie had them young! It’s always a bit worrying when you’ve got actors playing your children, but we were in luck.”
Episode one also introduces local prostitute Lace Polly, played by Lorraine Ashbourne and industrialist Charles Blackwood (Daniel Rigby), who’s behind the viaduct. Clarke Peters of The Wire stars as American railway foreman Ralph Coates.
“He’s worked on the railroads so he’s a man of independence and is well grounded, with a sense of who he is” says Clarke, who also teamed up with Jessica on Partners In Crime last year. “She’s got a classic face which is just right for the period, I could see her in 30 or 40 years playing one of the queens. The next Judi Dench!”
Article by Mary Comerford
TV Choice 2-8 January 2016