Actress Jessica Raine on her latest period drama Jericho

She has cornered the market in Tv period drama roles but glory doesn’t come without pain for actress Jessica Raine

Playing Midwife Jenny Lee in the hit drama Call The Midwife, she had to wear an uncomfortable starchy uniform. And as one half as Agatha Christie’s husband and wife sleuths Tommy and Tuppence in Partners In Crime, she was pulled into tight-fitting tailor made jackets and skirts.

But her latest role in the gritty Victorian drama Jericho has seen her most challenging clothing yet – a literally breathtaking corset that made her feel woozy in the blazing sunshine.  

Jessica, plays the central role of Annie Quainton who forges a new life for her and her family after the death of her husband, who gambled away his money.  

Left homeless she heads for a shanty town nicknamed Jericho which has sprung up to accommodate navvies working on the construction of a railway viaduct in Yorkshire.

“It’s a temporary town which will be pulled down once the work is finished but it offers the respite of a home and employment as lodgings, inns and shops are required to provide for the workforce. We filmed it in Yorkshire during the summer and had some very warm days.” Jessica tells us.  

Jessica continues, “The corset was so tight and I felt so hot that I needed ice packs strapped to my bottom and legs in between takes to help cool me down!”

The early scene where she trudges across the Yorkshire moors, carrying a tapestry bag full of her belongings was the most physically challenging. Jessica says “I had insisted that the bag should be quite heavy to make it look realistic and I rather wish I hadn’t! It was full of sheets and heavy enough so that the handles cut into my hand and my shoulders ached after carrying it for what seemed like days across the moor to Jericho, wearing a very restricted corset and getting incredibly out of breath.”

Another challenge for Jessica was getting the Yorkshire accent right. Jessica says “They wanted Annie to quite a subtle accent to contrast with the thicker ones of the navvies and I had a dialect coach which was really helpful. I really wanted authentic and it did help when we were actually filming and living in Yorkshire because I would get taxis from the station and talk to local people and I started to pick up idiosyncrasies of the accent and generally absorb it.”  

The exterior of Jericho was built on the Yorkshire moors and all of the cast were very impressed when they saw it.

Jessica says “it’s in the middle of nowhere and you drive over a hill and there it is. It looked and felt very real and really helped us get into character.”

Jessica admits that she probably would not have adapted to such tough surroundings as well as Annie in real life. “I would miss my bed and central heating.” Laughs Jessica

My Weekly 12-18 January 2016