Spotlight: The DEADLY World of Child Prostitution
Byline: Roz Laws
TAKE two actresses best known for their comedy roles, and a top actor playing a policeman for the first time, and what do you get? A cracking thriller that's certainly no joke.
Caroline Quentin has recently been leaving behind her famous comedy roles in Men Behaving Badly and Kiss Me Kate in search of more serious drama. And the latest, Blood Strangers, is certainly that.
She teams up with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith, best known for her role as Anthony's fiancee Emma in The Royle Family, to play a mother whose world is ripped apart in the two-part ITV drama.
In Blood Strangers, which starts on Sunday, Caroline plays Lin Beresford, who lives happily with her two children in a picturesque town. Then her 14-year-old daughter Emma is found dying on a patch of common ground near their home. Nothing could be worst than the murder of a child, or so Lin believes until she is dealt a further terrible blow - Emma was a prostitute.
Unable to accept what she's been told, Lin embarks on a search for the truth which brings her face to face with her daughter's killer. Along the way she befriends Jas (Sheridan Smith), a young prostitute whom she is determined to save from a similar fate.
Caroline, who is mum to two-year-old Emily and is settled with production assistant Sam Farmer, says: 'This is the most challenging role I've ever taken and it's totally different to anything I've done before. It's very, very emotional.
'Lin is very tenacious and single-minded. There aren't that many similarities between us, except for how much she loves her children. My love for my own child has helped me get through this part.
'It's a great thriller with a cliffhanger ending and it's also massively shocking and disturbing. I'm sure it will open people's eyes to teenage prostitution, which I expect is a growing problem in this country.
'I wouldn't ever want to stop doing comedy, as it's been such a big part of my career. But it was great to do something so different, and with such a good cast. Sheridan Smith is one of the finest actresses I've ever worked with and I absolutely adore her - if she didn't have a mother who loved her so much I'd adopt her!'
Sheridan plays a teenage prostitute but she could see some of herself in the role of Jas.
'Especially in some of her feisty moments or when she gets angry and has an attitude with people. My mum will say I get like that sometimes. Jas isn't really as tough as she makes out and, underneath the pretence, she has a really good heart. I guess I'm like that too.
'At first I didn't sympathise with her, I just thought 'You silly girl, what are you doing?'. But once I got into character I really felt sorry for her, as I realised that the reason she was doing it was because she's completely in love with her boyfriend - who is also her pimp. She does it out of love and not for money.'
Paul McGann has been in everything from Withnail and I to Dr Who, but this is the first time he's joined the boys in blue. He plays David Ingram, a Family Liaison Officer - a relatively new role in the police, helping the families of murder victims.
'I've resisted playing a policeman for 20 years,' he says. 'But Blood Strangers is a great story so I decided to have a go and see what happens.'
TAKE two actresses best known for their comedy roles, and a top actor playing a policeman for the first time, and what do you get? …