There's a Real Person's Life at the Centre of This Drama; Nico Mirallegro Plays the Wrongfully Executed Timothy Evans in New BBC1 Drama Rillington Place. the Young Actor Tells JEANANNE CRAIG about His Growing Sense of Social Justice, and Why He Was Keen to Get This Role Right PICK OF THE WEEK Rillington placeBBC1, Tuesday, 9pm

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), November 26, 2016 | Go to article overview

There's a Real Person's Life at the Centre of This Drama; Nico Mirallegro Plays the Wrongfully Executed Timothy Evans in New BBC1 Drama Rillington Place. the Young Actor Tells JEANANNE CRAIG about His Growing Sense of Social Justice, and Why He Was Keen to Get This Role Right PICK OF THE WEEK Rillington placeBBC1, Tuesday, 9pm


ICO MIRALLEGRO is all set to be interviewed about his new TV drama, but his head seems a little elsewhere.

NThe actor has just come out of a cinema screening of Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake, and the film's hard-hitting social message is playing on his mind.

"It's very, very emotional. It gets you angry. It's a good solid message on the failed society. I can't stop thinking about it," he says, in his softly-spoken Mancunian accent.

The veteran director is "a hero" to Nico, who cut his teeth on Hollyoaks (as angst-ridden teen Newt) before starring in E4's Bafta-nominated My Mad Fat Diary.

"I saw him on BBC Question Time the other day and I was screaming at the tell, 'Finally we have someone who's not pussyfooting around the questions!' He was giving real answers. It frustrates you when people don't answer the question. It's like watching really bad actors fight their way out of a paper bag."

The former soap starr is clearly switched on to the world around him. His Twitter feed is populated with tweets about social issues, and his recent performances on screen - from Jimmy McGovern's BBC drama Common, about the UK's controversial joint enterprise law, to this year's gay football film The Pass - display a compassion and maturity beyond his 25 years.

His latest role, in which he appears alongside acclaimed stars Tim Roth and Samantha Morton, is equally meaty.

BBC One drama Rillington Place tells the tale of Welshman Timothy Evans (Nico), whose wife Beryl and baby Geraldine were among the victims of his serial killer neighbour John Christie (Roth), who rented a flat in the same bleak house as him at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill.

Evans was charged with his wife and daughter's murders and hanged in 1950, aged 25. In 1953, however, a number of bodies were discovered at the house. Christie admitted to the crimes (but not to the killing of baby Geraldine) and was hanged. In 1966, after much campaigning from his sister and others, Evans was given a posthumous pardon.

In the three-part series we see hard-up new parents Timothy and Beryl (Jodie Comer) befriended by Christie and wife Ethel (Morton) as they struggle financially, and with their fraught relationship.

"Beryl and Tim and baby Geraldine are really struggling to make ends meet and the flat that they live in is by no means a liveable house, there's all sorts going on with it. You get a sense of the hardship of everything - work and jobs and just everything that was going on," says Nico.

In the course of his research, the actor spoke with Evans' half-sister, who gave him the impression that Evans was "a normal bloke caught up in extraordinary circumstances".

"Timothy Evans adopted a lot of personas; the family man and the sunny joker. But deeper than that, he had a lot of issues stemming from his childhood. He had tuberculosis at a young age, which left him without a real education, and from then on struggled to read and write. He struggled in school and socially, and with work after that, so it had a big knock-on effect from when he was young," says Nico. …

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There's a Real Person's Life at the Centre of This Drama; Nico Mirallegro Plays the Wrongfully Executed Timothy Evans in New BBC1 Drama Rillington Place. the Young Actor Tells JEANANNE CRAIG about His Growing Sense of Social Justice, and Why He Was Keen to Get This Role Right PICK OF THE WEEK Rillington placeBBC1, Tuesday, 9pm
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