Re­becca Front

Ac­tress Re­becca Front, star­ring in new Kay Mel­lor drama Love, Lies and Records, chats to Yours

YOURS (UK) - - Contents - By Ali­son James

‘ I’m very, very non­con­fronta­tional in real life so all the yelling is very cathar­tic’

We’re in the grand Vic­to­rian coun­cil cham­ber of Dews­bury Town Hall – on the set of Love, Lies and Records – and ac­tress Re­becca Front seems very much at home. But as we’re chat­ting be­tween scenes she’s film­ing for the drama se­ries, this very tal­ented ac­tress would be – she in­hab­its ev­ery role she takes on. Re­becca is play­ing reg­is­trar Judy Fel­lows and while she says it would un­doubt­edly be very in­ter­est­ing to work as one, she’d get too emo­tion­ally in­volved to make a good job of it. “It’s fas­ci­nat­ing as you’re there at the cru­cial mo­ments in peo­ple’s lives – as births and deaths are reg­is­tered and cou­ples get mar­ried – but I wear my heart on my sleeve too much for a job like that. “With all the deaths and births, I wouldn’t last more than five min­utes. I’d prob­a­bly cry at the wed­dings, too. I cry at every­thing! Con­duct­ing a wed­ding means you be­come part of the Big Day. My hus­band and I were mar­ried by a reg­is­trar and he’s in our wed­ding pho­tos! In prepa­ra­tion for play­ing a reg­is­trar, a group of us had the chance to go and stand around in the back of­fice of a reg­is­ter of­fice in Leeds. We met some of the regis­trars and lis­tened to them talk­ing to get a real sense of what their jobs in­volve. “It also helped me get the Leeds ac­cent right – it’s quite a dis­tinct dialect.” While Re­becca is used to play­ing com­plex char­ac­ters, her role as Judy has been a real chal­lenge but one she wel­comes. “I didn’t ini­tially know how I was go­ing to play her,” she ex­plains. “Judy’s not very like­able, you see. She has no sense of hu­mour, she’s an­ti­so­cial, judg­men­tal and pas­sive ag­gres­sive. I didn’t want to play her as the wicked witch of the west, though. She’s not a bad per­son but she does do some pretty bad things.” Tell us more! “Some­body in the of­fice is go­ing to be made Se­nior Reg­is­trar and all the in­di­ca­tions point to it be­ing Judy, so this is a re­ally exciting mo­ment for her. Episode one for Judy is a sort of ‘any mo­ment now’, and then Matthew, the su­per­vi­sor, comes in and it’s just ob­vi­ous that’s not what’s go­ing to hap­pen. “Her not-so-ex­pe­ri­enced col­league Kate, played by Ash­ley Jensen, gets the job and Judy is dev­as­tated. Her ca­reer is the one bright thing in her life, she’s very good at her job and was the ob­vi­ous choice yet she’s been passed over. Af­ter that Judy has re­ally got it in for Kate and cre­ates all sorts of prob­lems for her. She’s kind of an aveng­ing an­gel in a weird way, which is great, that’s re­ally good fun to play.” Re­becca par­tic­u­larly en­joyed film­ing the slang­ing matches Judy has with Kate and other col­leagues. “Oh, the rows are won­der­ful,” she laughs. “There are some very big blow-ups. I’m very, very non-con­fronta­tional in real life, so all the yelling is very cathar­tic. The dia­logue is amaz­ing – as it is in ev­ery Kay Mel­lor drama. What’s lovely about this se­ries is that it is rooted in the real world and these are peo­ple that you meet ev­ery day. “Kay is a leg­end – she’s been at the top of her game for a very long time and she writes se­ries that have a very broad, pop­u­lar ap­peal. She writes these very com­pli­cated, in­ter­wo­ven sto­ries and all of them have sur­pris­ing twists and turns, but at the same time they’re rooted in re­al­ity and all her char­ac­ters are recog­nis­able.” Talk­ing of char­ac­ters, Re­becca’s played some cork­ers – Mrs Ben­net in Death Comes To Pem­ber­ley, Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Jean In­no­cent in Lewis, Anna Mikhailovna in War and Peace and, per­haps most mem­o­rably, MP Ni­cola Mur­ray in the po­lit­i­cal satire In The Thick of It, a role for which she won a BAFTA in 2010. “The role of Ni­cola has had some quite ex­tra­or­di­nary reper­cus­sions,” she says. “I was asked to go on Ques­tion Time a cou­ple of times like I was a real politi­cian! I’ve been ap­proached to cam­paign for one of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties – though I’m not say­ing which one. I’ve also been asked to ap­pear in a party po­lit­i­cal broad­cast – when I turned it down I won­dered if the peo­ple who’d ap­proached me had ever ac­tu­ally seen The Thick of It. Most sur­real of all, I’ve been asked if I want to stand for par­lia­ment!” She may not fancy that, but in her own field, Re­becca (53) who has two teenage chil­dren with pro­ducer hus­band Phil Cly­mer, is as am­bi­tious as ever. “There is still so much I’d like to do,” she smiles. “I’m look­ing for a the­atre role, maybe Shake­speare. An­other cos­tume drama would be nice and there’s a black com­edy I’m in­volved with in devel­op­ment at the mo­ment. Any­thing that’s a chal­lenge – that’s what I’m in­ter­ested in.” Love, Lies and records is due to start on BBC1 on thurs­day, Novem­ber 16 at 9pm

Above, re­becca with hus­band Phil Cly­mer and be­low, third from left, with fel­low cast mem­bers from Love, Lies and records

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