How would you describe Alma’s Not Normal?
The series is utterly fabulous! Sophie has managed to write something that is hilarious and also really, really touching. She’s balanced the comedy and the drama so beautifully in this and I already know people are really excited about it. The pilot was so successful and I really think people are just going to love this whole series. It’s very character driven – there are four really strong female leads in it, and it’s spectacular.
Can you tell us a bit about your character Leanne and what you most admire about her?
Well Leanne and I are quite similar really! Sophie and I are friends in real life, we’ve known each other for over 10 years. Leanne is like myself had I not left waitressing, she doesn’t take any rubbish from anyone, she’s straight talking and a real anchor for Alma. Alma’s all over the place!
Alma’s got an incredibly good heart she just puts it in the wrong places at times, so Leanne is a force of reason. Also, what’s quite interesting over the series is that Leanne can be quite judgemental. Their friendship gets tested by Alma’s decisions over the course of the series, but they’ve a really beautiful friendship.
What attracted you to the script and that friendship between Alma and Leanne?
It really helped when Sophie said, “Hey, I’ve written a role and I think it’s for you!” She wrote it with me in mind, which has never happened before in my career. I’ve acted in stuff before but this is the first series I’ve got where she’s written it with me in mind, so it’s been a pleasure to play Leanne. And given I’m the straight guy in this too as Alma flies all over the place, it’s an absolute honour.
The pilot has had fantastic success, winning a Bafta, etc, what do you think resonated so much with viewers?
Sophie has really earned everything she’s achieved – she’s not been handed anything on a plate and that’s very relevant for the character of Alma as well. She has to work really hard to achieve the things she wants to. I think that’s what’s resonating with people, especially working-class women up and down the country that don’t know where to put themselves.
Alma’s character is very relatable, and I think that’s what surprised people. I think what resonates is her vulnerability, strength, humour – and also the soundtrack is super cool, the costume design is incredible and what Sophie has done is created an incredibly relatable working-class comedy series that is also very modern.
Do you have any standout memories from filming?
I can’t say too much, but there is an episode with fish which everyone should look out for! It was an utter joy to film; it was the last scene I filmed before I wrapped. There are some real iconic moments with Alma and Leanne that involve music, fashion, confidence and a genuine friendship as well.
What do you hope the series will bring to viewers?
I think the most inspirational thing is that Sophie is showing that anyone that has been raised in care that they can do it as well. I hope it opens up the television industry as well, as there’s a massive pool of talent in that world as everyone has an incredible back story.