The Hour has become one of the BBC’s flagship dramas, with many calling it the UK’s answer to Mad Men. After a cracking second series of the 1950’s set newsroom drama, it’s getting a more and more fitting tag.
Lisa Greenwood is crucial part of that success as the naïve but incredibly forward looking Sissy on the show and we talked to her before the release of the second series of The Hour on DVD about the show, Doctor Who and bouncing from genre to genre.
The second series of The Hour just finished up, what do you make to all the praise it’s getting?
I’m really happy about it. I love The Hour. We had quite a lot of praise for the first series and we were hoping for the same sort of reaction. It’s really good though, I’ve not heard anyone really say anything negative about it.
The show’s nominated for a Golden Globe too. What’s that like for you?
Amazing! We were nominated last year as well, but we lost out to Downton Abbey (growls). But they’re great at Downton, but I’m looking forward to seeing if we can win this year. That would be really cool.
Are we going to see you get all dolled up and head out to LA for the ceremony?
Probably not, but Ben and Dominic might go though so I might try jumping into their suitcase and tag along.
Sissy grow up this year on the show, was it good playing her slightly differently?
It’s nice to develop the character. In a way, I feel quite similar to her. She started at the BBC, I kind of started there and at the beginning I thought I was very much like the character. So it was good to see her grow up and take a different route this year.
The outfits on the show are so amazing, do you miss them when you’re not filming?
Well, kind of yes and no. There’s so much effort that goes into the fifties style. I’m quite a casual girl, I like my baggy jumpers and my leggings, that sort of thing. There’s just so much that goes into that fifties look, there’s corsets, the shirts are so tight, you can hardly eat in the outfits! It’s very glamorous and when you put on those outfits, it makes you feel very ladylike, which is quite surprising. The makeup and hair’s so beautiful too.
This series sees Peter Capaldi join the cast. What was he like to work with?
Everyone always asks whether he’s anything like he is on The Thick Of It and the answer’s no unfortunately. I think I’d quite like him to be like Malcolm in The Thick Of It, that would have been really fun. He’s Scottish though, as is my mum, so you know when you warm to someone quite easily, it was like that. I really like Peter, he’s a lovely man.
You did Hacks between the two series of The Hour. Was it good to be a bit more light hearted in the newsroom?
Yeah, that was really fun. I loved Hacks. It was a satirical comedy and I’d love to do more comedy. It’s was nice to do spread your wings a little bit and try out different genres. That was really fortunate too, I didn’t realise who was going to be on it and everyone there was pretty amazing.
You’ve done both Do you make it a goal though of jumping from genre to genre?
Definitely, I wouldn’t want to stick in one genre. I’d love to do some sci-fi and I’d love to do a horror! I love comedy though. The thing with comedy though is that when you’ve done a bit of it, you want to go back to drama. When you’re doing drama, you always want to go back to comedy at the end of that. You want to jump from one to the other. I can never stick to one thing long enough, so it’s great to chop and change.
Talking of sci-fi, a lot of people might not know, but you’re actually a companion of Doctor Who. What’s it like being a part of that?
It’s amazing. We’ve travelled quite a bit with it, we went to LA and Chicago to these amazing conventions. They’re so cool, everyone dresses up, they’re all so friendly out there and everyone’s always pleased to meet you. Which is nice.
What’s the difference between the voice work for those audio plays and the more traditional side of acting?
It’s a lot bigger. When you do audio, you’ve got to do it in these singular booths and you have to make your performance really, really big so it conveys over to the audio. It’s quite amusing to watch everyone in their little booth go a bit crazy.
Is it true that you started acting by working as an intern?
Kind of. I went to the acting agency to apply as an intern and when I got there they asked if I’d done any acting before. I’d done a few little bits, nothing major, adverts and stuff like that. Then they asked if I had a show reel. I had no idea what one was, but said I had one anyway, so went on home and made one on my computer with just ridiculous stuff like a monologue in my garden. It was so embarrassing. But I sent it in and they took me on a trial period as a client, and it went really well so they kept me on.
You’re also doing some writing, what can you tell us about that?
I love comedy and my mum had this crazy upbringing. She grew up with five brothers and the stories she’s got are amazing, so I’m writing a lot of that down, getting some of that out and there and seeing where it goes really. It’s just really a homage to my mum really.
Any word on a third series of The Hour?
We’re hoping for a third, everyone would love to do a third and I was talking to Ruth, one of the producers who said that she’s hopeful. Fingers crossed, that would be cool, three’s a nice number to round it all off with I think.
Apart from possibly more of The Hour, what have you got planned for 2013?
Probably more Doctor Who stuff and just see where it all goes really. I’m reading a lot of scripts and I’d love to do theatre. I was the only person on The Hour who hasn’t done it yet. I’m just waiting for an amazing script to come along.
The Hour series two is out on DVD and Blu Ray now. You can find more of Lisa one Twitter at @LisaGreenwood20
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith