New ITV drama After the Flood involves a deluge

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Wednesday: After the Flood (ITV1, 9pm)

As the title suggests, the new drama After the Flood involves a deluge – and actress Sophie Rundle is thrown in straight at the deep end.

The Gentleman Jack star plays pregnant PC Jo Marshall, who, when we first meet her, is busy dealing with a flash flood that sees her making life and death decisions and coming to the aid of a baby. It seems that opening sequence was a big part of why she decided to take the role.

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Rundle says: “I opened the front page and started reading and I kept going, ‘Is that me? Is that my character? Do I get to do that? That is so cool’. Especially for someone in my casting bracket.

PC Jo MarshallPC Jo Marshall
PC Jo Marshall

“I’ve done a lot of corsets and a lot of holding babies and mooning after someone in the background. To be doing the stunt and not just witnessing it was so exciting.

“I think it is so clever of Mick Ford to write that as the introduction for your protagonist. This is the world. These are the stakes. Here she is. She’s in the water. She’s saved the baby and she’s pregnant. Boom. You’re in. How could you not watch that?”

Just in case you did need something extra to hook you in, there’s also a locked-room mystery. Rundle explains: “Two days after the big flood Jo gets a call to go to an underground car park where somebody thinks there is a body. She’s first on the scene and this underground car park has flooded. The lift has jammed, and a person has been caught in the lift. Now the flood water has receded they’ve found this body.

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“They think they understand what’s happened but when the autopsy comes back it turns out that this person actually died before the flood. So, the mystery begins.”

Jo becomes obsessed with finding out what happened, much to the concern of her husband and fellow cop Pat (Matt Stokoe).

Rundle says: “Everything that Pat loves about Jo – this slight recklessness and her persistence and doggedness – is also making him very nervous now. He’s just trying to protect her, but he is a bit clumsy with that sometimes. Jo loves him for it but when they start to butt up against each other that’s where the conflict comes.”

She adds: “When you’re pregnant you are more than just a vessel for this child. There are all these things going on between them that I think so many parents will relate to.”

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He may feel even more nervous when Jo’s digging reveals there are even bigger issues at stake, especially as the flood threatens to expose the lies of local politicians and developers.

Sophie admits that she’s enjoyed being able to get her teeth into the case after one of her previous cop characters made an early exit from the first series of Happy Valley.

The actress laughs: “Yes, this is what PC Kirsten McAskill could have been maybe! It was fun to be the different person in the scene. It was fun now being the one figuring out the mystery.”

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