Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Script Is the Key for Home-Grown Star Melanie

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Script Is the Key for Home-Grown Star Melanie

Article excerpt

IF all a man needs is the love of a good woman then Selina Rutherford should have them queuing at her door. However, Selina, played by Melanie Hill, is a war widow who has never had another man cross her doorstep - until Joe Maddison is caught out by an air raid warning.

Hill clearly has respect for the character she plays in Alan Plater's drama, though admits the name, at first, gave her pause for thought.

"I wasn't very happy with the name. I thought 'I don't get this'. Selina seems odd - a modern name."

She decided to ask Plater about it at a read-though of the part. She'd never met him before and says of the late writer: "He wasn't very well at the time. It was just an honour to meet him. He told me the name came up in his past and, at the time, it was very modern, forward-thinking. He wanted the character to be forward-thinking and that's what struck him about the name."

His words made all the difference to her understanding of a decent character who, bravely for those days, didn't pay heed to neighbours' gossip. Hill says: "She's lost her husband at Dunkirk and she lets a strange man into her house.

"I just think she's a brave, warm person." But then, she says, people in the North East are warm-hearted and supportive.

Filming in the region where she grew up seems to have been a lot of fun, with many on-set laughs thanks to Trevor Fox: "I think he's an amazingly talented actor."

She's worked with both lead actors before, including with Whately in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Green in Close and True.

Green's character introduces her to Kevin Whately's Joe, "whose wife has just done a bunk".

And calm and kind Selina, who works at a Co-op bacon counter - filmed at Beamish with Hill under strict orders to go nowhere near the bacon slicer - is like a rescue remedy in a time of hurt. …

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