Isabella Pappas speaks to Female First all about her role in new ITV drama Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV
Isabella Pappas speaks to Female First all about her role in new ITV drama Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV

This weekend (January 17th, 2021), new ITV drama series Finding Alice will kick off, with one of the most star-studded casts the network has ever enjoyed!

Alongside Keeley Hawes, Joanna Lumley, Nigel Havers, Gemma Jones and Kenneth Cranham is the young Isabella Pappas; though she can hardly be described as a newcomer.

Entering into the world of acting at the tender age of 11, she’s got plenty of years of experience both in front of a camera and up on the stage.

We got to chat to her all about the show, the character she plays, what it was like working with such big names and more…

Can you tell us a little bit about new drama series Finding Alice and the character you play?

Finding Alice is the story of a family experiencing grief and discovering secrets left behind whilst learning to deal with it all; sometimes through humour.

My character Charlotte is an emotionally-stifled girl who feels her only way to keep sane is to bottle up her emotions to keep from falling apart. As well as losing her father she has to now watch her mother spiral trying to keep the life they once had intact.

Harry, my character’s father, had more secrets than he ever let on and that can be a lot to process, especially when you are trying to mourn the person you knew, not someone entirely different.

Isabella Pappas stars alongside Keeley Hawes in ITV drama Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV
Isabella Pappas stars alongside Keeley Hawes in ITV drama Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV

What was it like working with Keeley Hawes and the other brilliant stars of the show on this project?

It was amazing to learn from legends like her and I feel so lucky that every day I left set I was left with valuable information and knowledge. Keeley taught me the importance of being a considerate actor because that is exactly what she is.

Everyone on set was so kind and made me feel special and part of a family; I learned so much from everyone. I can’t believe I’ve got Keeley Hawes as my mum and Joanna, Nigel, Gemma and Kenneth as my grandparents! It’s unreal.

What was a typical day on the set of the show like? If indeed there were any 'typical' days!

A typical day on set in Finding Alice was in one word: inspiring. The cast and crew all got on so well and I had the most fun time working with them all. I can’t even tell you how many funny things happened on set every day!

How do you prepare yourself mentally to take on a role like this, which has the potential to be quite draining because of the emotional subject matter?

The script, while at times emotionally-draining, also maintains the brilliant element of comedy which helps people engage even more in my opinion. The whole team on set was so kind, I never felt alone not even for a moment. 

Isabella Pappas stars as Charlotte in ITV's Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV
Isabella Pappas stars as Charlotte in ITV's Finding Alice / Picture Credit: ITV

Was the series filmed before or during the coronavirus pandemic? If during, how did you find working on a set with these new restrictions in place?

We filmed half before and half after which was an interesting experience considering the massive shift covid has created worldwide. The show definitely helps people going through grief through humour.

Simon [Nye] and Roger [Goldby] are amazing for writing such a detailed yet true journey of grief, which is more relatable now than when we started filming.

How do you think the industry is going to have to continue to adapt to keep delivering these dramas and the like in the coming months?

I think the film and TV industry is adapting really well. Covid protocol really isn’t hard to follow at least from an acting perspective, so as long as everyone does their part we can continue creating.

We had regular testing, a covid coordinator on set and everyone was very mindful of the rules set in place to keep us all safe. 

You've been a part of this business since you were 11! What challenges or struggles have you faced when coming up through the ranks at such a young age?

The challenge of handling rejection was a big one when I first started out but now I look at it from a different perspective. I truly believe things happen for a reason; I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t gotten rejected by someone else, so in a way it’s a blessing.

I have learned from my friend and mentor actor Tanya Moodie not to attach myself to outcomes or what I think should happen next, which has been very helpful and keeps me level.

What advice do you have for those who may just be starting out in their acting careers, who are looking to make an impact?

It carries on from the previous answer actually, you have to handle rejection with grace because thats what really defines an actor, their ability to keep going despite setbacks.

Are there any big names you'd like to work with in the future who you haven't yet had the chance to share the screen or stage with?

I would love to work with Zendaya,  who is in my opinion one of the most interesting actors today. I would also love to work with Billie Piper and Denise Gough - seeing Yerma and People, Places and Things were life-changing for me as an actor.

Writing-wise, Martin McDonagh is my dream to work with. I was lucky to play Michael in The Pillowman at ArtsED and that was one of the most challenging roles I have ever played.

How have you been coping in lockdown; have you picked up any new hobbies?

I love to sing and I have written and released a song called Playground with Deelo Arizona during lockdown.

My best friend Zoe Brough ( who was in The Nether with me) and I have been writing two plays. We meet on FaceTime and write for hours on end. We are hoping to have our plays put on at some point in time. 

Recently, I’ve started designing and sewing my own clothes.

Finally, is there anything else in the pipeline that you can share with us?

At the moment I’m in auditions for some really exciting projects but can’t give any specifics at the moment, fingers crossed!

Finding Alice starts Sunday, January 17th, 2021 on ITV.

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