Thriller Angela Black has even more twists
Casting a drama is almost as important as having a good script – put someone in a role they’re clearly unsuited to and your project is doomed to fail.
Luckily for Jack and Harry Williams, the screenwriting brothers behind Angela Black, they already knew someone who could play the central character of an abused wife looking to escape her appalling home life.
“We’d worked with Joanne Froggatt on a show called Liar and she’s just a brilliant actress,” explains Harry. “We saw how great her range was and just how brilliant and versatile she was, so she sort of just sprung to mind for that really, we knew she could really handle it. We knew she’d do an amazing job, which she did.”
“Having worked with Joanne before, we know how committed she is to everything she does and how hard she works,” adds Jack. “One of the things we really wanted to do was have as little dialogue as possible, which is not always our preference as writers, but sometimes it’s really interesting. If you’ve got great actors, let them do what they do without explaining things. We wanted to write something very Hitchcockian that’s all about subtext, and Jo is very, very good at that.”
The former Downton Abbey stalwart has tackled many difficult topics during her career, so she was never going to shy away from playing Angela. Instead, she felt it was her duty to do so.
“I think it’s incredibly important for television drama to tackle sensitive subject matters,” she claims. “I feel passionate about that because I feel that drama and entertainment can be a window into a subject matter for an audience that they may never have thought about or may never have been on their radar.
“Maybe even just one person thinking ‘oh, that person’s behaviour is odd,’ or ‘I’m going to just check in with my friend and check he or she is okay,’ or ‘maybe it’s okay if I speak to somebody about my situation’ (is a good thing).
“If any of that happens it can only be a positive. But this is first and foremost a piece of entertainment. We’re not saving lives, it’s a television drama, but just to open up a subject matter to a wider audience is helpful when it’s done in the right way.”
In this Sunday’s second episode, Angela’s worst fears about her husband have been confirmed, and she struggles to keep up a happy facade for the sake of her family – and her safety. But it’s what she does next that will enthrall viewers.
“I hope audiences will firstly take away from the show that it is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller that they’re completely obsessed with!” laughs Froggatt. “But also, obviously I would like them to take away a little bit more than that, which is thinking about Angela’s situation and how people are affected by these issues.
“It is a very intriguing and twisting plot, but it’s unnerving because it feels so close to home.”