Clare Calbraith burst onto our screens in 1960’s drama heartbeat, she has skipped around a variety of periods, since then. Downton Abbey was her home for a short time and then she shot to fame in Home Fires. I caught up with Clare to ask her all about her illustrious career to date.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Clare. Starting with Home Fires, it was a wonderful series and I am a fan of the show, what are your favourite memories of filming it and what did you think of Steph?
I have only good memories of working on Home Fires. Genuinely the most extraordinary bunch of people I’ve ever worked with, we still spend an unhealthy amount of time together, even though the series is over!
And I loved Steph, chopping wood, shooting, driving tractors and barely ever having to wear painful high heels. The amazing Chris Coghill and Brian Fletcher in my Farrow family…dream job.
Any favourite scene that stands out?
Actually one of my favourite scenes was one I wasn’t in, when the village comes together to help with harvest. Against the backdrop of Samuel Sim’s wonderful music, I loved it, a may have shed a little tear.
Moving on to Downton Abbey, did you have fun on the show?
I had a great time on Downton, it was already a massive hit when I joined so it was a little nerve wracking but Hugh Bonneville was a joy to work with, a privilege to play a tiny part in such a wonderful show.
Heartbeat, is one of my earliest memories of your appearances on screen, how did you like playing a Doctor and did you enjoy working in and around Goathland? Any particular memories you can share with me?
Oh gosh Heartbeat was pushing 20 years ago now, it was kind of my training ground, 12 hours a day, full on for 11 months of the year. I had a ball, met one of my best friends, we had amazing guest artists every week that were far more experienced than me, a real learning curve.
You’ve also notably appeared in Doctor Who audio dramas, how does working on an audio piece compare to on-screen? What are the main differences with the way you take on a character?
Audio is honestly a gift. Its playtime without all the vanity and insecurity than being on film brings. I don’t know any actor that doesn’t love it.
Are there any roles that you have a burning ambition to play in the future?
My ambitions change with every job. After TV I’m desperate to get back to theatre and vice versa. If I can keep working I’m happy. If I get bored (or I guess if people get bored of me) I’ll stop. You need to love it. Too many people would kill to make acting their job, if you don’t love it, move aside, because someone at least as good as you is probably waiting in the wings.
What’s next for you now that Home Fires has finished?
Next I’ll be on the new series of DCI Banks which I think airs in August or possibly a little later, a very different character for me so it was really great to get my teeth into. After that who knows, I’ll miss Home Fires of course but am excited to see what comes next.
I’m so grateful to Clare for a lovely interview and look forward to DCI Banks!