Q&A with Viewpoint’s Alexandra Roach
The Welsh-born actress on her new ITV drama
Growing up in a former mining village in Wales, Alexandra Roach never imagined she’d be playing the young Margaret Thatcher in 2011 film The Iron Lady. ‘I’ll never forget meeting Meryl Streep for the first time and her making me feel like I’d known her for years,’ she tells us. Since then she’s starred in a number of TV shows, including Channel 4’s Utopia, Killing Eve and Black Mirror. Roach’s latest project is new ITV drama Viewpoint, in which she stars as single mother Zoe alongside Noel Clarke. Below Roach tells C&TH about the experience of filming during a pandemic, why she loves living in Bristol and her interior design style.
Q&A with Alexandra Roach
What can you tell us about Viewpoint?
Viewpoint is a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. A well-loved teacher goes missing and as the series unfolds, no one is safe and everyone is hiding something. I play Zoe who is a bit of an outsider in the community so decides to help the police in their investigation and allows them to set up base in her flat so that they can run surveillance on the suspects in their houses.
Favourite person on the set of Viewpoint?
That’s really hard. We were filming in the middle of a pandemic so we were split into bubbles and weren’t allowed to socialise outside of those set-ups. Luckily I had Bronagh Waugh, Noel Clarke and Fehinti Balogun. We’d have dinners together most weeks as the whole of Manchester was closed and on tight restrictions.
Favourite role to date?
I’ve been so lucky this far in my career but I would have to say Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. I was just out of drama school and the whole industry felt so new and exciting. I really feel it evolved me as an actress. I had to be brave in my choices and it required a full transformation. I’ll never forget meeting Meryl Streep for the first time and her making me feel like I’d known her for years. She was so kind and generous and I’d go to set on my days off to watch her at work. It was a very exciting, inspirational time for me.
Role you’d cut your right arm off to get?
I’ve never done an action film. I would love to push myself physically and jump off buildings, do a car chase and my own stunts.
What demands do you have on set?
That there are plenty of cups of tea and that the sandwiches are up to scratch and not soggy.
Director you’d most like to work with and why?
Andrea Arnold (American Honey, Big Little Lies) – she always gets under the skin of the characters. She seems instinctive and exciting and it would be great to work with another female director.
Film you think everyone in the world should see?
Bridesmaids. It’s so joyous and gets right to the heart of female friendship. I love how honest and hilarious it is.
What’s your relationship with social media like?
Complicated. I know I’m far happier and more productive when I take a step back from it but one moment of weakness and it sucks me back in. I’m working on it!
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
I loved dressing up and imaginative play so I guess it depended what was in the dressing up box on that particular day.
If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t sneak to that local nightclub next Friday – your Dad will find out and you will be grounded for months.
Three books you’d take to a desert island?
Notes To Self by Emilie Pine, a book that gets to the core of what it’s like to be a woman. The Complete Works of Shakespeare should keep me and my imagination occupied. My last choice would be the most used: ‘How To Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies.’
The most challenging moment or your life?
I think when I had to leave RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in my first year due to a back injury. I had to go back home to Ammanford in South Wales. All of my friends were in university and I felt like I’d let myself and my family down, I was in a very sad place. Luckily I picked myself up from that dark place with the help of my family and friends and I went back to London and RADA the next year.
Any life hacks your learnt in lockdown that you can share?
I found that keeping a journal really helped the monotony of lockdown. Every morning I’d write down three tasks that I would try to achieve. One for my mind, one for my body and one for my soul.
What’s your interior design style?
We’ve spent the last two years renovating our first house and I’ve actually really enjoyed the interior design aspect of things. My favourite hotel is The Standard in London so I spend all my time trying to re-create that bold use of colour and design. Our living room is peachy pink and I love how playful and cosy it is.
What is your current beauty regime?
I’ve always preferred skincare to make up and I think lockdown enhanced that as I can’t remember when I last wore a full face of make up! I’m enjoying Murad’s Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture.
What are your indulgences?
Eating out in restaurants with my girlfriends and having bottle after bottle of great tasting wine – which I can’t wait to do again.
What would your best friend say about you?
That she can trust me with anything, I’m supportive and always honest.
How do you relax?
By escaping the city and exploring a new walk in the countryside with my miniature dachshund Ronnie Barker, then home to nap on the sofa with him curled up by my feet.
If we’re coming to your area (where you live) for a visit, what should we do?
Bristol is such a culturally exciting city. I’d say to take a tour of the different Banksy artworks, which will show you the whole city. After that head to the river where there are so many independent restaurants and bars before hitting the many nightlife spots the city has to offer. Bristol knows how to party!
Are you a rule breaker or a rule taker?
I think I flirt with both at different times in my life. I take my work very seriously , but once I’ve clocked off – it’s anyone’s guess.
Viewpoint debuts this month on ITV. Main image: ITV. Other images: photography by Mark Gregson, hair and makeup by Caroline Menkes and stylist: Aimée Croysdill.
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