Did you watch Stephen Graham in the tense 2021 film Boiling Point? It received immediate acclaim, gripping viewers with its arresting one-shot style emulating both an immersive theatre experience and a car crash you can’t quite pull your eyes away from. Graham plays Andy Jones, an alcoholic and upmarket chef buckling under the pressure of addiction, divorce, debt, and a declining health and safety score. Carly is Andy’s sous chef, played by Vinette Robinson, who takes the spotlight in the film’s sequel series, beginning on BBC One this Sunday (1 October) at 9pm. We sat down with Vinette to chat all about what we can expect from the series.
Interview: Vinette Robinson On Playing Carly In Boiling Point
Hi Vinette, how’s life going at the moment?
Hi. You’ve actually caught me on a last minute holiday, so I am in a very good mood. Life back home has been busy, which I’m grateful for but it feels good to have a break.
You’re about to return as Carly in Boiling Point, with the film being continued as a TV series – can you give us an elevator pitch for the show?
Boiling Point, the TV show, picks up several months after the events of the film. Carly (the sous chef from the film) now has her own restaurant, and has taken a fair portion of the team from her previous restaurant with her. Within the high pressure world of the restaurant, we get to see a slice of life from its merry band of misfits, a window into their personal lives, the pressures they face, their relationships and ultimately how they succeed (or not) as a team.
How is Carly feeling?
Owning her own restaurant has been a long held dream for Carly, but she now has to face the reality and pressures of that. She is trying her hardest to keep her head above water in a very stressful situation. We see how she navigates that world, as a woman in a male dominated industry, and how she tries to avoid the pitfalls of her former mentor and boss Andy (played by Stephen Graham). He is an addict of one kind, but Carly is another, and she isn’t as far removed from him as she hopes.
What was it like transforming the world from film to TV?
The process of making Boiling Point has been like no other project I’ve worked on. It is a very actor-led process and we were given the space to create our own characters and stories, so we were really able to build and expand on the backstories we created for the film. One of the things that audiences really responded to about the film were the characters. They had these little windows into various people that they connected with, and they wanted to know more. Within the series, we get to explore their lives both in and out of the restaurant.
The tense film was filmed in one shot – was the TV series filmed in the same way?
It was not, because we wanted to be able to leave the restaurant to delve into the character’s lives. Unless we wanted to spend half an hour on a bus, we had to leave the one shot behind! Though there are still some extended shots which echo the feeling of the film.
How would you describe Carly?
Carly is extremely dedicated and focused in one area of her life – her work, and consequently her team, often to the detriment of herself. She is neglecting huge areas of her life and the consequences of this are threatening to boil over (excuse the pun!). Her drive in her work masks a deep insecurity – the harder she works, the less time she has to face herself. Her need for success is paramount, but it is built on fragile foundations.
What is it like playing her?
I loved it. It is a very personal connection because the process of making both the film and the TV show allowed us such ownership over our characters and stories. It wasn’t always comfortable (in a good way), but I feel very protective of her.
How did you get into character/prepare for the role?
A lot of the show is devised: we had a guide script and although the big events were solid, the detail and content often changed on the day and all the dialogue was improvised, so a lot of my character work was done from building her from the ground up. I spoke very early on with the creators about my backstory from the film and they incorporated that into the show. I also shadowed a brilliant chef called Pip Lacey from Hicce.
Any funny stories from rehearsals or filming?
I mean, we laughed a lot, but my mind has gone blank! We were together in an enclosed space for very long hours, so hysteria sometimes set in. Gary Lamont has just reminded me that we all put our faces into an ageing app and mine was so hideous and my reaction to it was so outraged that everyone thought it was hilarious and promptly made it the image that flashes up when I call them. Which just goes to illustrate the high esteem they hold me in.
What is the cast dynamic? Who was your fave person to work with?
Oh, you can’t ask me to pick favourites – I love them all! We are like a big unwieldy family, but Gary Lamont and Izuka Hoyle kept me laughing. Aside from the big group scenes, I loved my chance to get some two handers with Hannah Walters and Joel MacCormack.
Are you still in touch with any of your co-stars?
Most definitely. We are all very much in touch on WhatsApp. The hilarious and lovely Shaun Fagan is very heavy on the meme content. I’ve just asked them what funny stories they can remember, so I’ll come back to you if there’s any we can share. I desperately tried to learn new knife skills, but I’m still a bit slow. Thankfully, we had hand doubles for the show but shhh – don’t tell anyone!
What is your favourite dish to cook?
I find picking favourites hard, but I make a mean Sunday roast. I’m still perfecting my Jamaican brown stewed chicken (which was effectively our Sunday dinner growing up), with a side of Yorkshire puddings!
What about favourite dish to eat?
A very difficult question! I just love food. Anything with a big flavour profile. Don’t come to me with your bland food, it will make me grumpy! Haha.
You’re a very recognisible face on TV and in theatre, but what has been your favourite project to date?
The film Boiling Point was a very special job for me: the ethos with which it was made, the excitement on set, the people involved. We made a tiny film with no expectations, just for the love of it, and then it blew up.
Any roles in the pipeline that you’re excited about? (If you’re allowed to tell us!)
I’m currently filming The Gathering, a six part TV series for Channel 4, written by the brilliant Helen Walsh.
Who has been your favourite actor to work with in the past?
Another impossible question! So the Boiling Point cast goes without saying, but also the Emilia and Lazarus Project casts were a great bunch. I have huge admiration for Victoria Hammilton and Paul Giammati, and felt very lucky to work alongside them. But I could name more! I’ve been very lucky to work with lots of brilliant people.
Which co-star did you learn the most from?
Like above, it’s so hard to pick just one person. I feel like there’s something to be learned from almost everyone.
What’s your dream role?
Again, there’s so many. Let’s shoot for Hedda Gabler (but just because I have to give you an answer!). I’m also yearning to play a footballer’s wife or The Only Way Is Essex type – because no one would ever think it of me.
What’s a genre you’d like to do more of?
I’ve never done a Checkov or an Ibsen play, which I’d love to do. Comedy for sure. I just want to do a range of everything, really.
Do you get to spend much time at home?
It depends on work. I’ve been away a fair bit this year, but I’m just about edging on the right side of it.
Do you live in the town or the country? Which do you prefer?
I’m a born and bred townie. I love to escape to the countryside, but I’m not sure I could live there.
What’s your interior design style?
It depends on the space, but I like a good mix of vintage, antique and modern design pieces.
How do you find balance in your personal and work lives?
Oh gosh, I’m still working on it. If you know the answer, please let me know!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A lawyer, but I didn’t really know what that meant. Just that it was a ‘good’ professional, reliable, job and my parents liked that answer. And then at 13 I found acting.
If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?
That you’re on the right track, trust yourself more, and no one else knows what they are doing either, so just go for it.
How can we all live a little bit better?
Be kind to each other, to ourselves.
Anything fun in the pipeline – professionally or personally?
I’m about to go and jump in the sea and eat my body weight in sea food, and that’s as far forward as I want to think right now!
I’m currently watching… The Last Of Us (late to the party I know)
What I’m reading… Cleopatra and Frankenstein and The Secret Lives Of Church Ladies are my holiday reads.
The last thing I watched (and loved) was… Passages by Ira Sachs
What I’m most looking forward to seeing… The Effect with my talented friend Paapa Esiedu at The National Theatre
Favourite film of all time… It’s impossible to pick just one!
Favourite song of all time… I really can’t do favourites…
Band/singer I always have on repeat… It changes. At the moment it’s Gabriels.
My ultimate cultural recommendation… A day on the Southbank: lunch at Borough Market, an exhibition at Tate Modern followed by a play at the National or a film at the BFI, and a wander across the bridge into Covent Garden/Soho for dinner and drinks.
Cultural guilty pleasure… Selling Sunset but I feel no guilt.
What’s next for me is… The sea is calling.
Watch Vinette Robinson in Boiling Point, airing this Sunday 1 October at 9pm on BBC One. All episodes will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer from 1 October. bbc.co.uk