Describe your character and the type of person she is.
Tuppence Beresford is an intensely curious, quick witted and adventurous character, who quite often leaps before she looks. She is happily married to Tommy, if a little frustrated at being a housewife. I’d say she has definitely reached a point where she feels ready to actively have an adventure rather than read about adventures in her beloved books. She is an enormous amount of fun to play.
Did you enjoy the 1950s costumes?
Amy Roberts our costume designer has created some breathtaking outfits, and not necessarily what you would expect. They are beautiful clothes that have a contemporary twist as we both agreed Tuppence is a modern woman, not to mention practically there is a lot of running around, climbing through windows, stunts etc, so I needed to be able to move freely too. Personally I loved wearing all of the different hats, as it’s a very ‘Tuppence’ trait, her trademark if you like! They really helped me get in to character, and they’re so stylish and fun. A nod to our makeup department too, as Konnie Daniel felt very short hair would be good, and it was the perfect look for Tuppence.
Does Tuppence like to dress up for her adventures?
A definite yes. Tuppence is inspired by her favourite authors, Dorothy L Sayers being one of many. For the first story, The Secret Adversary, she disguises herself as a maid, so we went for it with a bottle blonde wig and lots more makeup. Tommy’s quite keen on that look! And for M or N? she becomes ‘Mrs Blenkonsop’, who I thought was Tuppence’s alter ego! A very flirty look, with lots of leopard print and hair like Elizabeth Taylor. It’s a dream job for an actress because not only do you get to play Tuppence, but also Tuppence pushing herself and pretending to be other people. She relishes shocking Tommy with her new looks and dives in to each role with gusto.
How are Tommy and Tuppence coping with the post-war austerity?
They are both feeling the pinch, and scraping the barrel in terms of their savings. Tommy comes up with many schemes to make money, unfortunately 99% of them fail. Tuppence is very supportive, but ultimately knows they need to find a way to make money and fast. Their house is very run down and their son is aware that times are tough, but they put on a brave face and soldier on.
Did you have a prior knowledge and interest in Agatha Christie?
It seems to me that Agatha Christie’s body of work has really seeped in to our culture. I was aware of Marple and Poirot and have seen various stage productions too. Then I read this script and was struck by what a unique and fabulous part it was for a woman. Tommy and Tuppence are a team, and there’s no sense of her playing second fiddle to her husband. I had a look at the books and there are fantastic descriptions of Tuppence in there, but to a certain extent I relied more heavily on the scripts as some components have evolved to suit our take on it. I think it very much stays true to the essence of the original writing whilst being a fresh new take on it.
What was it like to work with David Walliams as your on-screen husband?
David is the perfect casting for Tommy, and I felt our dynamic worked really well right from the start. Just the fact that we are so physically different lent a lot to the playing of husband and wife. Tommy is certainly more reluctant to go into espionage, and is more concerned with the facts, whilst Tuppence’s intuition and imagination perfectly compliment this.
How has the overall filming experience been?
I can honestly say it has been so much fun playing Tuppence. Sometimes when you play a character they can rub off on you, and I felt more adventurous and energised while being Tuppence. I’ve had such a ball working with David, as well as the brilliant James Fleet and Matthew Steer. We had an incredible team of cast and crew and everything just worked beautifully. The locations were also a real treat, from Soho on a Sunday to Fort Amhurst caves in Chatham to Cromer in Norfolk. It was a privilege and a pleasure.
Is there room for more Tommy and Tuppence stories to be told?
I know that there are potentially more stories to be told, and Tuppence is a dream to play so who knows…
Information Credit: Thanks to BBC One and Milk Publicity