In the Dark

Myanna Bur­ing on play­ing a cop forced to con­front child­hood trauma as she probes the dis­ap­pear­ance of two girls in her home­town

TV Times - - News - Sean Mar­land

TUES­DAY / BBC1

Last seen in pe­riod dress as Long Su­san in Ripper Street, Myanna Bur­ing is back in the present day in a chill­ing new crime drama set in Manch­ester. Myanna stars as a de­tec­tive whose per­sonal life is about to im­plode as she re­turns to her home­town to help a child­hood friend in need. Myanna and Ben Batt, who plays her cop part­ner, tell us more on page 10.

Myanna Bur­ing sits in her trailer wrapped in a large towel as wa­ter drips from her hair. She has been film­ing a scene in the driv­ing rain, but while Myanna may be soaked to the skin, her en­thu­si­asm for her chill­ing new BBC1 thriller,

In the Dark, has not been damp­ened.

The Ripper Street star plays the part of Manch­ester de­tec­tive He­len Weeks, who re­luc­tantly re­turns to her home­town when the boyfriend of her child­hood best friend is ac­cused of the kid­nap of two young girls.

It’s Myanna’s first lead­ing role in a BBC drama and she’s thrilled with her char­ac­ter.

‘He­len can be so mercurial,’ says Myanna as she dries her hair. ‘That made her feel very real to me. Very of­ten you’re given one or two words to de­scribe a char­ac­ter, but He­len is al­ways shift­ing. She’s tough, yet also vul­ner­a­ble, and you never quite know the full story. It felt like a chance to play some­thing I could re­ally get my teeth into and be­lieve.’

And, with that, her co-star Ben Batt (Scott & Bai­ley) en­ters and flops down on the sofa with a wry smile that takes in his sod­den out­fit and the rain that con­tin­ues to beat upon the roof. ‘Manch­ester eh?’ he grins, be­fore po­litely in­tro­duc­ing him­self. ‘We had snow the other week – in the mid­dle of April!’

Ben plays He­len’s boyfriend, fel­low de­tec­tive Paul Hop­wood, yet while he and Myanna have been bat­tling the el­e­ments, it’s noth­ing com­pared to what their char­ac­ters have to face in this dark thriller.

Here Myanna, 37, and Ben,

30, tell TV Times more about

the four-part thriller…

How does the se­ries be­gin? Myanna: He­len is a suc­cess­ful de­tec­tive who comes from a small town called Poles­ford. She left 20 years ago to make a name for her­self in Manch­ester. Her mother died when she was young and re­turn­ing has al­ways seemed too painful. Then sud­denly Poles­ford is splashed all over the news when two young girls dis­ap­pear. Ben: The man who’s been ar­rested over the dis­ap­pear­ance is the hus­band of He­len’s best friend from school, Linda. So when Linda finds her­self at the cen­tre of a me­dia storm, He­len de­cides to re­turn to try to help her. Myanna: He­len isn’t as­signed to the case, she’s just there to sup­port her friend. But like any good TV de­tec­tive, she can’t help get­ting in­volved, which doesn’t im­press DI Tim Cor­nish [Ash­ley Wal­ters] who leads the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Does Paul go with her to Poles­ford? Ben: In the open­ing scenes we learn that He­len is preg­nant, so Paul won’t let her out of his sight. He knows how dif­fi­cult it is for He­len to re­turn to her home­town, so he comes along for sup­port. Myanna: As the se­ries goes on we re­alise why He­len has never re­turned home be­fore and it’s got noth­ing to do with the death of her mother… Ben: He­len and her school friend have been keep­ing a ter­ri­ble se­cret for decades and it be­comes more dif­fi­cult for them to con­ceal it. Paul starts to no­tice a change in He­len and slowly, he be­gins to ask ques­tions. Myanna: Noth­ing is what it seems and it’s quite telling that Paul is far more ex­cited about the preg­nancy than He­len is. He thinks he has every­thing but there are a few sur­prises in store for both of them.

Have you played a preg­nant char­ac­ter be­fore Myanna? Myanna: I have done a few plays where I’ve had to be preg­nant but this is the first time for TV. A cou­ple of my preg­nant friends have had to en­dure me ask­ing them all sorts of ques­tions and watch­ing them do things, so I can get the move­ments right. I’ve even asked a friend to get in and out of a bath for me so I can see what that looks like!

The se­ries is di­vided into two sto­ries, are they re­lated?

Ben: The first story is set in Poles­ford, then we fol­low He­len and Paul back to Manch­ester, but He­len con­nects every­thing. We ac­tu­ally had dif­fer­ent direc­tors for each tale. French di­rec­tor Gilles Ban­nier took charge of the first three episodes and Ul­rik Im­tiaz Rolf­sen, from Nor­way, was in charge for the sec­ond story. Myanna: They have very dif­fer­ent styles – Gilles likes dark de­tails and is con­stantly try­ing to throw the au­di­ence off the scent, while Ul­rik is very in­ter­ested in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the char­ac­ters.

Ben: It was a re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing way of work­ing and the two set­tings couldn’t have been more dif­fer­ent. One was a quintessen­tially English town and the other a cityscape. Both were very Bri­tish lo­ca­tions, but the Euro­pean direc­tors added some­thing very dif­fer­ent and it feels like a Scandi-noir at times.

Do you think fans of Mark Billing­ham’s best-sell­ing nov­els will en­joy this adap­ta­tion? Myanna: I read all the books af­ter get­ting the part of He­len and loved them. The show’s writer, Danny Brock­le­hurst, has swapped a few of the sto­ries around and Mark has been great with that. He knows that cer­tain things have to evolve so that they work on screen and he just wants the best story to be told.

The weather is ter­ri­ble to­day, and we hear you’ve been un­lucky over the past few months film­ing? Ben: We filmed the Poles­ford story in Mars­den, West York­shire, and we thought the place was cursed at one point. We had a prob­lem with the gen­er­a­tor and then we had sleet in April. The crew were tear­ing their hair out! You take ages to set up a shot and then the sun comes out! Myanna: The snow in April was crazy. I re­mem­ber a team of peo­ple was des­per­ately sweep­ing it away so we could fin­ish the scene. The per­ils of film­ing in Bri­tain!

We filmed in Mars­den and we thought the place was cursed at one point…

DI He­len Weeks

(Myanna Bur­ing) The preg­nant de­tec­tive is de­ter­mined to find out whether her old friend’s hus­band is guilty of ab­duct­ing two young girls

He­len and her child­hood friend Linda face the press He­len with boyfriend and fel­low de­tec­tive Paul Hop­wood

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