Psychic Panjabi Has the X-Files Factor; Archie Panjabi Tells Emma Pomfret about Her Sixth Sense and How It Helped with Her Latest Role

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma Pomfret

The phone rings and before you answer it, you instinctively know who is calling. The car rounds an unknown bend and suddenly you know exactly what you are going to see on the other side.

Some dismiss coincidence as a simple trick of the mind, a mere fluke -but for others it represents a glimpse of powers far beyond our knowledge, an entire range of extraordinary possibilities that, if harnessed, could change the world as we know it forever.

And in new series, Sea Of Souls, a mix of cult show The X-Files and thriller The Sixth Sense, Bend It Like Beckham star Archie Panjabi has scrapped her muddy football boots in favour of becoming a hotshot Scottish ghostbuster.

The BBC One drama, which starts next Monday, chronicles the exploits of a parapsychology research team at Clyde University.

Also starring Scottish actor Bill Paterson as research fellow Douglas Monaghan, and Peter McDonald as the Scully-esque sceptic Andrew Gemmill, Panjabi's character, street-wise postgraduate student Megan Sharma, is the kind of girl for whom brushes with voodoo, telepathy, clairvoyance and psychic healing are all part of a normal day at the office.

Deeply spiritual herself, the 28-year-old carries a tiny gold amulet given to her by her personal guru in Malaysia. And she says that the show has been extremely well timed to tap straight into the public's ever-growing enchantment with all things paranormal.

'Everywhere you turn at the moment there are stories about all sorts of inexplicable phenomena,' she says.

'Personally, I have always had a fascination with the paranormal but it's not something I have necessarily talked about in public because it was always considered slightly taboo.'

But what is and isn't acceptable in society changes continually, she says. And she believes many people are now beginning to search for the answers to life that they simply cannot find within the traditional spheres of science and religion.

'Sometimes coverage of a subject area like telepathy or deja vu is comforting for viewers because it helps them realise that they are not alone in their experiences.

'And what amazed me is that the people who have actually studied this are often real sceptics but even they end up fascinated by what they had previously defined as 'rubbish'.'

While her two co-stars play more straightforward academic characters, Megan Sharma is portrayed as a young post-graduate student who is fresh out of university and far more worldly-wise than the rest of the fledgling research team.

'Megan is definitely the more streetwise of the trio, which is one of the key strengths she brings to the investigation team, along with her great social skills and a very reliable gut instinct. …