JOANNA VANDERHAM is currently starring as DI Amanda Drummond in Irvine Welsh’s Crime on ITV.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh, the plot follows two Detective Inspectors investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl.
Joanna stars opposite Dougray Scott, Angela Griffin, Ken Stott and Jamie Sives in the six-part series which is adapted from the best-selling 2008 novel by Irvine Welsh, who also penned the screenplay.
We caught up with Joanna to talk about her role in the highly-anticipated drama.
What can audiences expect from Crime?
JOANNA VANDERHAM: Crime has something for everyone; it’s a detective drama with a twist. The twist being, it was written by Irvine Welsh! So the characters are bold, the storylines are dark and unrelenting. ‘Crime’ deals with some pretty big themes, like the class politics, police protocol, toxic masculinity. it’s very much a character driven story and it’s certainly not short of snappy one-liners in true Irvine Welsh form.
What do you think is your character’s ultimate goal?
Drummond wants to start her own unit, dealing with femicide and crimes against women. But of course good drama exists when characters don’t get what they want. So instead, she ends up partnered with a ‘dinosaur’ from the old guard. It’s a classic odd-couple dynamic which Dougray and I loved playing.
Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
There have been a few! It’s very difficult not to laugh when Ken Stott is in full ‘Toal’ mode. He would make all these groans and grunts and high-pitched whines and because of the way the set as designed we couldn’t see him, but we could hear him, we were in stitches. There were certain lines which became catch phrases too, and we would just say them to each other, out of context which would also lighten the mood. The storyline is pretty dark, so we needed these moments of levity to break it up. We would hide biscuits in each others’ desks when we were filming in the incident room. I would start a cartoon drawing of a head, fold it over and someone else would draw the body and someone else the feet. It’s a classic but it did make us laugh. It’s the simple things.
As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
‘Crime’ was an interesting one because Dougray not only starred in it, but produced it too. I was really impressed with the way he could take off his producer hat and focus on the performance. I’m also producing a few things and I really admire the way he got the balance right. In terms of acting, every role is different, so it’s about making choices for that character, not just what I would do or feel. There’s a pace that comes with filming TV, so being ready to give the best performance from the minute you walk on set is something I like to focus on. I’m also still working on being less self-conscious in front of the camera, on forgetting it’s there, not worrying what my face is doing.
How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
I forget I’m reading it. I can see it in my mind’s eye. And I’m not page counting or stopping for snack breaks. When I finish reading and immediately want to start work on the character. When the story stays with me and I want to tell everyone about it.
When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
As a child, I would always tell people I wanted to be an actor. But it wasn’t until I was graduating high school that I had to make the choice for real. I only applied to drama schools. But even then, it was never guaranteed. It probably wasn’t until I booked my first job that I really thought I could do it.
How important is social media to you right now?
Honestly, I wish it didn’t exist. Or rather, I wish it wasn’t a factor in my career. I’ve always been a really private person but I enjoy doing interviews because we get to discuss interesting things. I often feel like I can’t just enjoy things, in the moment, because I’m meant to be taking pictures for the internet.
What’s the biggest realization you’ve had this past year?
That change can be good. New beginnings are challenging and progress isn’t linear. And that no one will work hard for you if you don’t work hard for yourself. I used to think everything happened for a reason, now I’m not so sure. I think being proactive is better for me than being reactive.
Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
It’s patent-pending… no I’m kidding! I don’t know. Some way that I could talk to my niece and nephew without them having to have a phone… I might have just described a landline!
What makes you feel nostalgic?
Long summer nights. Midges. The ice cream van music. Feel the Love by Rudimental.
Crime Season 1 airs at 10:05pm on Saturday on ITV 1. Season 2 will come to ITVX in September.
PHOTOGRAPHER: IONA WOLFF
HAIR: ADAM COOKE
MAKEUP: DAISY HOLBUWICZ USING MILK MAKEUP
STYLING: BERTIE TAYLOR SMITH