Interview: Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine on accents, Kevin Spacey and taking to the stage

The actress says she'd be laughed at if she went onto the Call The Midwife set with any 'what's my motivation?' pretensions

Tell me a bit about your character Beatie in the play Roots.

She left home in Norfolk at 16 to work as a waitress, and then moved to London to work after that, so she's 22 now and has been away from the family home for a long time and met a boy called Ronnie who's got all these ideas about socialism that are completely alien to her.

So it's about changing attitudes at the end of the Fifties?

It is: they've gone on that march against the H-bomb, the Aldermaston march, and I get the feeling they're part of quite a bohemian world in London, that she loves, with the political meetings, and they're working really hard and are really skint. But then she comes back to her family who are stuck, living very happily in deepest, darkest Norfolk.

You're good at accents, aren't you? I had a bit of a stalk…

Did you?!

I wasn't outside your door! I just saw it on your agent's website. Do you find them easy?

Not at first, but I do have an ear because I grew up in Herefordshire on the borders with Wales so it was neither one nor the other. I was always told at school I was posh, then I came to London and here I'm told I have a country accent.

Do you have a favourite accent?

I quite enjoyed doing a New York accent for [the Clifford Odets play] Rocket to the Moon. Some might argue it wasn't so good.

Have you been enjoying being in the theatre again?

I can't tell you how much I love being back rehearsing. Schedules on TV are so tight and it feels like they get tighter and tighter with every passing year. The idea of asking where your character's come from or where they grew up – you would just get a little bit laughed at.

Is it more like "Just read your lines, darling"?

"Hit your marks! Please! On the first take, and then we can move on." Kevin Spacey did a huge speech in Edinburgh, and his shtick was just because you can go fast doesn't mean you should go fast, which I think a lot of production companies should take note of. But here, I could have wept! We were sat around a table talking about our characters and the themes of the play and it's like being back in school again doing your favourite subject.

You're in Call the Midwife, the BBC's hugely popular drama; is there a lot of pressure?

I don't think there's any more pressure than there would be for any other TV thing – that's just the way it is. They want to get five to six pages down in a day, which is a hell of a lot. Personally, I think it's not good. Spend the time, you know? It's just relentless. I'm not moaning, because it is a bloody amazing job. What people's perceptions of you are when you come out of something like that, that's been the most interesting thing.

When the interview with you was confirmed, we were sent an interesting portfolio of photographs by Guy Aroche.

Oh God! Those?

Are we in for a Raine rebrand?

Ha, ha… Did you see all of them? Some of them were quite raunchy.

They were. The album should have been titled Make it Raine.

Here Comes the Raine Again is my favourite one.

**

Biography

Jessica Raine, born in 1982, is best known for playing Nurse Jenny on BBC1's Call the Midwife. She takes the lead role of Beatie Bryant in the Donmar's new production of Arnold Wesker's Roots, running until 30 November

Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games