What is it like acting with Nicola?
She’s just brilliant to work with. She makes it really easy. She’s just so good at what she does, and that makes life so much easier. She’s got the craft down to a T. I do a lot of stuff with Nicola, thankfully. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s very humble and self-effacing. We simply sail through certain scenes that could otherwise be problematic. We just nail it. We’ve got a great working chemistry that is hard to buy. I feel totally at ease with her, and I hope she does with me. We really have a great time working together.
What happens to DS Michael McAndrews during the second series?
It’s business as usual until the end of episode two where Annika does a big reveal. And then he’s obviously got a lot to think about. He’s very preoccupied with that.
I don’t mind it. It’s not something you do every day. Also, they’ve checked the water beforehand. What always scares me when I jump into water – especially when it’s Scottish water and you can’t see what’s under the surface – is that I’m going to impale myself on a stalagmite or something. But here that’s all been checked earlier by a professional diver. So you go, “Yes, let’s go for it.” When else would you do that?
What’s the most challenging sequence you’ve shot for this series?
In one scene, I’m rugby tackling someone into the water. Michael is always wanting to do that. He seems to just go and tackle people around the waist and take them in the water, where he’s at home. He’s a diver, so he feels comfortable in the water.
Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of driving the rib?
Yes. I haven’t been out in torrential conditions, but it doesn’t take much of a swell for you to feel it. It might not look like much, but that’s when it’s at its best. If it’s like a sheet of glass, it’s boring. If it’s wavy, it’s a bit more James Bond!
Was it fun filming a scene in an aquarium?
Absolutely. When you’re shooting, you get access all areas and all the people that work there come up and tell you as much as you want to know. That’s not the case if you are going there as a tourist. The place is closed for us. You get to wander around wherever you want. It’s great. As an actor, you get into these worlds with a AAA pass that you don’t usually have. It’s like working with the boats. Someone tells you, “Just take the boat out and go and do super-fast donuts on the Clyde.” You get to do that without jumping through hoops – and someone else pays for it. That’s one of the joys of being an actor.
What do you think Annika’s direct addresses to camera adds to the drama?
They are the Unique Selling Point of the drama. It takes a good actor to do it that well because it can be a real hit and miss. The actors that have done it before have all been high quality. Look at Ian Richardson in the original House of Cards. He was wonderful. As an audience member, you really felt like a villainous co-conspirator because he played it so slyly. But Nicola just has a lovely relationship with the audience via the camera. It’s a testament to how charming Nicola is. She’s just so likeable.
What do you enjoy about working in your home country?
I’ve always come back to work in Scotland, and I love it. For me, it’s far better working here than it is to work down south. I much prefer it. You get wonderful landscape here for free. It is a cliche, but it is another character in this drama because these views are so amazing. When the crew tell us, “We’re going to set up the lights, so you guys can go and chill for 10 minutes,” you look at this incredible view and just go, “Aaaah.” It’s scene-stealing stuff. If anyone’s watching Nicola and me with Ben More in the background, then something’s wrong. It’s been like that since filming began here. Scotland just steals every scene!
Prepare for an enthralling ride as Series 2 of Annika commences on Wednesday, 9th August 2023, exclusively on Alibi.