THE REPLACEMENT is Joe Ahearne’s BBC One psychological thriller about female rivalry in an architects’ practice. Vicky Mcclure, who also stars in Line Of Duty, discusses female friendship, workplace etiquette and Kate Moss…
Vicky Mcclure on playing a manipulative office worker in the psychological thriller.
In The Replacement you play Paula, who’s hired as maternity cover for an architect, Ellen (Morven Christie), though she’s suspicions about Paula during the handover. How do you feel about your manipulative character?
I have sympathy for Paula. With a lot of characters I’ve played, viewers are thrown in the deep end. Yes, these characters have got a bad side, but there is always a reason for it.
Do you think society encourages women to be rivals?
No. Men fall out just as much as women. Some of the dramas I’ve heard from men! It’s the same. If you fall out with girlfriends, it can be overly dramatic when you make up – “I love you so much!” – especially if you’re drunk. So yes, women can be bitchy, but so can men.
Tell us more…
Growing up as a girl, yes, you do go through battles. You are in competition about your clothes and your hair. But then you get to an age where you don’t care and realise it was just childish banter. We can all show that sort of catty behaviour, and we can all have dramas with our family or mates. But I’m a grown woman now, and I don’t believe in competition with other people. I do things my own way, and I prefer people to do things their own way, too. I’m not judging them.
Did you enjoy filming The Replacement in Glasgow?
Absolutely. I took to the city very well indeed. It felt like Nottingham, where I grew up. It has the same sort of energy. It doesn’t like to brag, but it still knows it’s really cool. The city’s tagline is “People make Glasgow.” That’s completely true. I loved it!
Have you ever encountered office bitchiness yourself?
Yes. I worked in an office for eight years. I remember one manager who came in and tried to change the rule that we were allowed to eat at our desks. I used to bring my full Sunday dinner to eat at my desk, and she told me not to do that. She just had it in for me. So I said to her, “As we’re only allowed a snack at our desks, if I cut up my dinner and put it in a bag, is it then a snack?”
What other show encapsulates the idea of female friendship, in your view?
I grew up watching Friends religiously, and I still do. If there’s nothing else to watch, I’ll immediately put on Friends on Comedy Central. That whole show is based around friendship. Those three girls had each other’s backs from day one. I’ll always watch Friends. It’s such a feelgood show, but there is a reality to it as well because that’s how my girlfriends and I are.
Which one are you?
Is it true that you once bumped into Kate Moss at a party and she raved about your style?
She did, yes. The first thing she said was, “Oh my God, I love you”. She was good fun, and there was the odd invitation from her after that.
The Replacement is on DVD and at bbcstore.com. Line Of Duty Series 4 is set to air this spring.