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Press Release: Miss Marple

1 February 2006   |   Written by Masterpiece: Mystery!

Gwenda Halliday has lived in India, where her father was a diplomat, all her life. She is 21, engaged and is coming to Dillmouth to find a house. For reasons she doesn’t at first realise, it has always been a dream of hers to live at Hillside. As far as she knows, her mother died in an accident when she was a baby and her father died of a heart attack a few years after that.

Gwenda’s relationship with Hugh Hornbeam is very beautiful. They are very good friends. He is terribly earnest and nervous and wants to do everything right. Gwenda has a lot of fun with him. We play love interests but we are also a comedic duo, which is lovely.

Miss Marple and Gwenda also have a lovely relationship, because as soon as Miss Marple meets her she sees that underneath this facade, this rather hoity-toity act, Gwenda is actually quite vulnerable and lost really. So they have a nice connection. I think Miss Marple sees quite a bit of herself as a younger girl in Gwenda.

I have never done this period before and it is so lovely, because it really embraces women’s curves and femininity. I think after the war women just wanted to celebrate and Gwenda wants to really celebrate!

What is so lovely about the Marple stories is that, even though they are whodunnits, there is so much comedy in them as well. That is part of the reason why I was attracted to the job. Another big pull was Ed Hall who has never directed film or television before, but is massive in theatre. It is just wonderful watching him work and watching his enjoyment – he is so good. I think he is going to be really, really big and I hope that he doesn’t forget me!

I had a lot of laughs filming. There is a scene right at the beginning of the film when Hornbeam picks Gwenda up and we drive around to try and find somewhere for her to live. Ed had an idea that it would be very funny to stop the car because this huge herd of cows has surrounded it. So I am sat there in the car and I feel this wetness… there was a cow licking slowly up my arm. Then they all started going to the toilet and cow wee was flying up into the car! So glamorous, this business! Actually I think that’s the stuff that I get a real kick out of, because I am never going to forget that day, the day I was licked by a cow!

Sophia’s credits include:

Film:
Tristian and Isolde, Art School Confidential, Thunderbirds, Underworld, Abduction Club, From Hell, Guest House Paradiso, Mansfield Park

Television:
Colditz, Foyle’s War, Close & True, The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, Big Women, The Prince and the Pauper

Theatre:
The 4 Alice Bakers