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Siân Brooke

Sian Brooke (Sherlock, house of the dragon) sits down with Cutler Magazine. We discuss acting, her return as “Grace” in Season Two of "Blue Lights" and advice for actors.

Sian Brooke. Photographed by Scarlett Warrick
Sian Brooke. Photographer Scarlett Warrick

How do you connect with your characters emotionally and what helps to ensure authenticity in a performance?

SB: Every character is different and with each one I probably connect quite differently - although I’m not sure I could tell you totally how or why! In terms of an emotional connection, I think it always comes from the writing. If the writing is good and the characters are fully formed and rich, there’s always more to be mined and to connect with. With every character you have to walk in their shoes and that can be very challenging especially when it’s a character seemingly void of empathy or compassion, like Euros in Sherlock. That was so difficult, especially as my emotions are always bubbling away under the surface. Ultimately I believe it's the work that goes on before you step on set or stage that adds a level of authenticity.

How does Grace evolve in Season Two of Blue Lights and what new challenges does she face?

SB: In this season we see that she’s no longer an idealistic, wide-eyed new recruit and has become more realistic in terms of what’s achievable in this job. She’s possibly slightly more hardened which, from chatting with police officers, is not surprising in such a relentless job. In terms of challenges, in this series she feels like she’s slightly at sea, especially in her private life. Her son, Cal, has left for University and she’s living in rented accommodation with Annie. Maybe not where she thought she’d end up in her mid 40’s. She ends up in some extreme situations work-wise which, combined with the 'will they won’t they' aspect to her friendship with Stevie, has been a lot of fun to film.

What's the hardest transformation you've undergone for a role and did it change you as a person?

SB: The hardest transformation was playing someone who suffered from an eating disorder in the film “Body of Water’. Taking up the role and the responsibility of telling that story with care and consideration was not a decision I took lightly but I feel it was done for all the right reasons. It was a film that explored how this disease can impact people of all ages and backgrounds. In terms of a physical transformation, it was quite extreme but we did this with the help of a nutritionist and Personal Trainer as it was critical that I didn’t make myself ill in the pursuit of highlighting this issue. I worked with a wonderful Writer/ Director Lucy Brydon and it was a truly collaborative process which I learnt so much from and I think I’ve carried with me in terms of how I work now.

What challenges does an actor face in playing a role?

SB: For me it’s always about making the characters as believable as possible. You need to be brave, risk getting things wrong, if you don’t you might never discover what’s right.

What advice would you give to emerging talents striving to develop a career in acting?

SB: Keep grafting and stick with it. There will be ups and there will be downs but you’re there for the long haul. I feel so fortunate to have started out in theatre, it was where I discovered what type of actor I was. There is nothing like being in a rehearsal room and sharing a stage with other actors in order to learn your craft. If you get the opportunity, go on the stage!

Looking ahead, are there any roles or genres you aspire to explore?

SB: I never try to plan as I’ve learnt that this business has a habit of surprising you. I only hope that I can continue to work with great people who will push me and teach me along the way.

Siân Brooke (Grace) and Martin McCann (Stevie) in Blue Lights. BBC/Two Cities Television/Christopher Barr
Siân Brooke (Grace) and Martin McCann (Stevie) in Blue Lights. BBC/Two Cities Television/Christopher Barr

Season one and two of Blue Lights is available now to stream on BBC iPlayer.








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