The Power of Parker

The Power of Parker’s cast reveal all about the “suspenseful, awkward, funny, sad and engrossing” new series

The Power of Parker comes to BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Friday 28 July

Rosie Cavaliero as Diane Parker, Conleth Hill as Martin Parker and Sian Gibson as Kath in The Power of Parker

It’s Stockport 1990 and Martin Parker, a man with the ambition of Alan Sugar and the looks of Robert Kilroy Silk is slowly waking up to the fact that things are changing.

With a chain of electrical stores, a wife, kids and a flash car, he has the perfect life. But in reality he’s swimming in a sea of debt and lies, and it falls to the two women in his life, Kath and Diane to plot his downfall.


Interview with Conleth Hill (Martin Parker)

Conleth Hill as Martin Parker in The Power of Parker. He stands leaning against a column outside a front door, wearing a grey coat and sunglasses.
Conleth Hill as Martin Parker

Tell us about your character in the show?

Martin Parker is a man who seems to have it all and more; beautiful wife and family, beautiful long term mistress, impressive detached home, successful chain of electrical goods shops, the confidence, the suits, the cowboy boots and car. But all is not as happy and successful as it seems, he has made bad business decisions and is against the clock to sort the whole mess out.

What was your first impressions of the script and what made you want to be involved in the show?

The script and the writing is what made me want to be a part of the show. Paul and Sian did all the work creating the story and we got to play wonderful scenes with great lines and excellent actors.

Do you have a highlight from filming?

Filming was really hard work but great fun. All departments in the crew were at the top of their game and that helps so I genuinely enjoyed every scene but Kath’s nightmare scene at the beginning of episode two is one of the highlights, it’s just very silly!

Is there any similarity between you and your character?

We both have great hair.

Did you draw any inspiration from any existing characters, fictional or real when embodying the character of Martin?

No, I never do, but I’ve never played anyone quite like Martin Parker before. Paul and Sian presented such brilliant scripts, I honestly feel they did all the work and gave us lots of cracking characters.

What is your favourite thing from the late 80s/early 90s?

All of it. I was in my twenties and started acting in 1986/7 so I loved it all; football, music, movies, and great TV!

What were you doing in 1990?

In 1990 I was working in theatre in Belfast and funnily enough filming in Manchester on a series called Medics. Love Manchester, me.

How would you describe the show?

Brilliant, suspenseful, awkward, funny, sad and engrossing!

Interview with Sian Gibson (Kath)

Sian Gibson as Kath in The Power of Parker. Her hair is tied up in pigtails with red scrunchies and her eyes are tearstained, with mascara running down her face
Sian Gibson as Kath

Tell us about your character in the show?

Kath works as a mobile hairdresser in a retirement home, she loves her job and gets to spend her day gossiping with the residents and her best friend Gladys, played by Sheila Reid. She is an eternal optimist, full of life and definitely wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s not had the most blissful upbringing and is prepared to fight for what she wants. She also loves a bit of double denim.

How was the writing process with Paul and how did the idea come about?

Paul Coleman is a great friend of mine and a very talented writer. He came up with the idea of the show and asked me if I wanted to co-write it with him. Obviously I jumped at the chance.

Do you have a highlight from filming?

Too many highlights. It was a dream job. However, one day that really sticks out is a day when I was filming a scene in Kath’s flat with Conleth and Rosie. The three of us got such bad giggles it was embarrassing and the more we tried not to laugh the worse it became. We ended up all having to film the scene separately and had to get split up like naughty children. I was delivering my lines to a wall, as I couldn’t look at their faces without laughing. Our lovely director Joe Roberts has a lot of patience.

Are there any similarities between you and your character?

We are exactly the same height and we both love Spandau Ballet

What is your favourite thing from the 80s/90s?

The music and the fashion. I was 14 in 1990, when the show is set, and I still have exactly the same hair do and taste in music, but sadly I gave away my ra ra skirt to a Blue Peter bring-and-buy charity fund.

What were you doing in the 80s/90s?

I was in school in the 80s in North Wales, and mostly doing dance routines badly in my bedroom.

Diane and Kath are great characters, how was it writing a character knowing you’re going to end up playing her?

There aren’t masses of juicy roles for women our age in comedy so it was lovely to write a role that I’d love to play. Rosie was always our perfect Diane, she’s a brilliant actress and loads of fun, so knowing she would be alongside me hopefully proved that women of a certain age can still be feisty, funny and fabulous.

Why did you chose to set it in the 1990s?

I was a student in Manchester in the 90s so obviously I love the music, the fashion and liked the idea of making something nostalgic with lots of big hair, shoulder pads and a cracking soundtrack.

However, for our story, the time period was also the perfect setting for Martin Parker and his dodgy dealings. In a pre-digital age, with no google, texting or email trails it would have been much easier to hide his secrets.

It was pre ‘ladette’ and #MeToo so women were also viewed a bit differently in relationships and in the workplace and probably wouldn’t have called out the bad behaviour so much. Hopefully our audience can enjoy watching Kath and Diane stand up for themselves and regain their power in love, in the family unit and in the workplace.

Have you ever done anything in a moment of revenge?

I’m quite hot-headed, like Kath, so any acts of revenge have been spur of the moment and inevitably quite naff with lack of thought. I once opened a load of cans of beer in an ex’s fridge so they would go flat…not quite Fatal Attraction.

How would you describe the show?

Ultimately it’s a love story about romantic love, family ties and the love of status and money. It’s about what happens when people get greedy and the lengths they’ll go to in order to cover up lies and bad behaviour and keep up appearances.

Interview with Rosie Cavaliero (Diane)

Rosie Cavaliero as Diane Parker in The Power of Parker. She stares down the lens of the camera, looking serious.
Rosie Cavaliero as Diane Parker

Tell us about your character in the show?

Diane is a wife and mother with a strong personality who loves her kids. She hasn’t really had her own career but supports Martin with his and is ambitious for their children. She likes the financial security that Martin provides so she can have a lovely house, kids at private school, a nice car and smart clothes. 

She isn’t very happily married as she is bullied by Martin and undermined by him on a daily basis. She is fond of her father Dougie but is embarrassed by his shabby appearance. She wants everything ‘just so’ but ultimately her life is a bit empty and she knows it. She has buried the past and her feud with Kath and doesn’t want to face up to the truth. 

Despite her pride and upwardly mobile intentions she has a kind heart and is very funny.

Do you have a highlight from filming?

I loved every day of filming. The first scene of episode 2 was tough to film as we couldn’t stop laughing. It was impossible to get through the very funny and surreal scene. Conleth and Sian are both hilarious, bubbling hysteria was always lurking; I basically spent most of the shoot laughing. I also loved the dinner party scenes in episode five, we had lots of brilliant actors in that day and all the costumes and the set were so ‘80s, it was a trip down memory lane and I felt like I was in an episode of Howards’ Way!

Is there any similarity between you and your character?

I think Diane and I are both a bit OCD and self-doubting, but also loving.

What is your favourite thing from the late 80s/early 90s?

My favourite thing about that era was probably the clothes and the music and being young and free.

What were you doing in 1990?

In 1990 I was at drama school in London, making lifelong friends. I’d finished my degree at Manchester University and was doing my post grad year training to be a proper actor, whatever that is!

Have you ever done anything in a moment of revenge?

I remember cracking an egg over my poor little sister’s head before tearing down her Shakin’ Stevens posters. I can’t remember what she’d done for me to take out such cruel revenge but she likes to remind me of it every few years. She is still traumatised. 

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