Broadchurch is back to great acclaim. We caught up with Sarah Parish, who plays farm shop worker Cath, to talk about keeping secrets and revisiting old haunts.
IS IT TRUE BROADCHURCH MARKS THE FIRST TIME YOU'VE USED YOUR REAL ACCENT ON SCREEN?
Yes, I was born in Yeovil, which is just up the road and I've never got to use my accent - obviously you don't get to use it that much. But I had quite a problem finding it again because I haven't really spoken like that for a long time. I moved to London when I was 17 and went to drama school when I was 19 - by the time I got there, I didn't speak like that.
WERE YOU A FAN OF THE SHOW BEFORE JOINING IT?
I'd never seen it. I'm not very good at watching upsetting things and when it first came out, I knew it was quite full-on so I just didn't. I quite like not knowing things, otherwise I get quite affected by what I've seen. When you're in it, you see the technicality of it, so you become emotionally attached to the character, but you see the puppetry of it.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CATH?
She is a big fish in a small pond, let's say that. She was the girl at school that was really good at sport and everyone liked and wanted to hang out with her. She had everything when she was younger, the good-looking boyfriend, everyone fancied her. So she's quite full of herself in a way, [she's] used to getting what she wants. It's an uneven dynamic with Trish [Julie Hesmondhalgh]. It's one of those relationships that Trish will probably do whatever Cath tells her to do. She is the one in charge. I don't think she's a nasty person, but I think she's surrounded herself with someone like Trish because she knows she's a little bit better than her.
WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HER BOSS, PLAYED BY SIR LENNY HENRY, AND HUSBAND, PLAYED BY MARK BAZELEY?
I think Ed [Henry] gets on her nerves, again because she probably doesn't like being told what to do particularly, and she doesn't want to be working at the farm shop. She thinks her husband should be doing a little bit better than he is. They've been together for a long time. They don't have any kids. They were a power couple back in the day, but that has maybe worn off and gone a bit sour.
HOW DID YOU FIND ALL THE SECRECY SURROUNDING THE SHOW?
Hard! I'm not bad at keeping secrets, I am quite good. But a lot of my friends would go, 'You got to tell me, I won't tell anyone, just tell me!' But you've got to be really careful, you can't tell anyone. And there are certain things that obviously it's better not to say because it'll spoil the pleasure for the audience.
HAVE YOU WORKED WITH OLIVIA COLMAN AND DAVID TENNANT BEFORE?
This is the fourth time I've worked with David. We did Blackpool together, a thing called Recovery, we played man and wife in that, and then I was the big, red spider in the Christmas special of Doctor Who. The first three times we worked together was all in the same year, so it was getting a bit ridiculous. We've had a good break and now we're back on! Olivia I don't know as well, but I did a thing with Damian Lewis ages ago, called Love's Labour's Lost and Olivia was in that.
WHAT DO PEOPLE ASSOCIATE WITH YOU MOST?
They love Mistresses! It was fun, and I think it just resonated with a lot of women. I'd love to do it again. I think they could come back. Cold Feet has just come back. Maybe they could do a three-parter. That's a good idea! Let's pitch it. Put that in the paper!
GROWING UP IN DORSET, DID YOU GO TO WEST BAY, WHERE BROADCHURCH IS FILMED, A LOT?
All the time. In fact the last place I saw my dad alive was in Burton Bradstock, which is just up the road. I came down from London, we walked the dogs together, and then he had a stroke a few weeks later [in 2013]. He always went to Burton Bradstock because there's a lovely cafe on the beach there, and then we went to West Bay and had an ice cream. When I go down there I do get really nostalgic.
WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM PROJECT BE?
I was always plugging that I've still got an 'action woman' in me, but I don't think I have any more. I don't think I could get away with the vest! There are always parts to play aren't there? I would like to play another lawyer again. I really enjoyed playing a lawyer in Trust. I really, really enjoyed that. I love those fast-talking, dialogue-heavy shows. I need to do a bit more theatre as well.
DO YOU FEEL THERE ARE ENOUGH PARTS FOR WOMEN OVER 40?
There is definitely room for more. I think we're expanding in that there are more parts, [and] more things are happening, especially for women of a certain age, but I do think we still, as an audience, have a problem with accepting women nearing their 50s and their 60s as holding a drama. It's a shame really because the demographic of people that watch television are in their 50s and 60S, kids don't really watch telly any more.
Broadchurch airs on Monday nights on ITV. Missed an episode? Catch up on the ITV Hub and BT TV Catch-Up.
Photo Credit: ITV Pictures