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Michelle Greenidge

17th May 2024

Interview: Jordan Arthur

Photography: David Reiss

A huge ReVamp welcome to Michelle Greenidge, starring in the all-new Doctor Who, returning for the new series of Mandy, and leading in the brand-new adaptation Queenie! Veteran of both drama and comedy (and sometimes both, as we discuss in It’s A Sin), Michelle chats about all her new and upcoming roles, and there’s a lot!

Hi Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

We have to start by talking about Doctor Who – editor Owen and I are huge fans so we were positively vibrating with excitement to get ask you about your character, Carla Sunday! Carla is new companion Ruby’s mum, and we’ve already seen some of your dynamic and chemistry in the Christmas special. How is that going to develop over the upcoming new series?

Well, I can't possibly give away any spoilers, but I can say that RTD's scripts and storylines are, as you can imagine, brilliant across the board!

So look out for the Sundays!

This wasn’t your first time working with Russell T Davis, of course, as you were also in the hit It’s A Sin. I imagine it was a difficult role, though I am reminded of one great scene were your character Rosa and her husband are arranging to send her son, Roscoe, to Nigeria to “heal” him of his gay-ness, only for him to burst into the room as his true self to tell them where they can stick it, so to speak. Can you recall what the energy was like on set filming that scene?

We all had an absolute blast in preparation and shooting those scenes. Omari Douglas smashed it out the park and I really had to centre myself because, I wanted to burst out laughing during the take when he came strutting through that door! 

Omari absolutely owned that moment. It was brilliant and cracked the whole room up, because he landed it so well.

I remember after the camera rolled my makeup had to be sorted out because I was crying with laughter. That scene was so memorable for me, thank you for the reminder, it's made me laugh out loud again just thinking about it. 

I’ve always felt like the companion’s family is a really important part of the show. I think they ground the story in the present day and a familiar setting, but also provide the show with a lot of depth and gravity. The way in which Carla has to sort of stand back as Ruby goes off on these dangerous adventures with a strange man from outer-space is in one way fantastical but in another, quite relatable for parents. Did you draw on anything in particular when thinking about Carla as a mother?

I'm not a parent myself, but I do have a lot of lived experience and from my time working in homelessness, where I worked up close and personal with young people and their parents who had asked them to leave. 

My own upbringing and experiences also came into play.  

RTD penned Carla so beautifully and she's written with so much love, care, and heart, so this situation would have been particularly challenging for her. 

She was juggling the fact that Ruby is an adult and is entitled to make her own decisions and that as a parent, you have to give your children space and opportunity to make their own choices and live their lives in the way they choose. 

At some point, your children have to experience things for themselves. This helps to shape us and it’s how we grow. 

As a parent, I imagine you can only hope the choices your children make are the right ones but if they're the wrong ones, all may not be lost because there's an opportunity for lessons to be learnt and for changes to be made along the way. 

A parent never stops worrying about their children even when they're adults. It's just how it is. But I fully appreciated that for Carla. 

Ultimately, Carla wants Ruby to be happy and she has a lot of love, trust, respect and faith in her, so although it was difficult, she is supportive of Ruby. 

I think the most important factor for me as an actor is that RTD has always created very strong matriarchal characters and as a woman of a certain age I am asked a lot to play mum roles, which I totally embrace. So I have experience, but ultimately I can 100 percent trust everything that RTD has penned. 

He's a genius and nails it every time! 

You can see great examples of this in It's a Sin. The scenes between Callum Scott Howells and Andrea Doherty (his on-screen mum) were harrowing and so beautiful! So without question, I've always known I was in "the best" hands. 

I’ve got to ask you about Mandy, which is totally hilarious – now returning for a third season. What was it like returning to the… unique… world of Diane Morgan’s Mandy and your character Lola?

Yaaaaas! Mandy has just aired it's our third season and it's gone down a storm. 

I absolutely love working on the show and alongside my dear friend, Diane Morgan, who is hilarious on and off camera! Her dry delivery and comedy timing just have you in stitches, all day long. 

Honestly, I love the funny bones off that woman and have huge admiration and respect for her. She's a good egg (lol).

Diane works very hard and is much loved by all who know her. To write, star and direct in any series is no easy feat but Diane makes it look easy and it's so incredibly enjoyable. It is not work when you are working with Miss Morgan. Mandy is up there as one of the best Productions I have had the privilege to worked on. 

Everyone works hard for Di because they're right behind her. It's a fantastic place to work. 

I love my character, Lola, and our unique communication style. She's complicated and bonkers in her own way. 

The show is mad and a lot of nonsense but it's great fun and it's so refreshing to showcase silly comedy and have a good old laugh. 

Our audience often watch the episodes over and over - it's escapism TV. 

We feel very protective of our onscreen relationship because it is special. It just works! 

Finally, you’re going to be appearing in an adaption for Candice Carty-Williams’ best seller Queenie. What can you tell us about your character Aunt Maggie, and how did you approach adapting from page to screen?

The phenomenal Candice Carty Williams’ Queenie soon come! And this highly anticipated series is going to wow its audience. 

Queenie is definitely one of my favourite reads, so I'm blown away to be lead cast on the series! 

I really understood the character Aunt Maggie and I'm sure there’s an Aunt Maggie in every Jamaican family - so depicting her from the book to TV went smoothly. 

Aunt Maggie is a South Londoner with Jamaican parents. She is vibrant, bold and a God-fearing aunt of Queenie. If she has an opinion, people are going to hear about it. 

Queenie was a lot of fun to work on. A lot of things really resonated with me as a black woman of Jamaican heritage. There were so many familiarities and lol moments. 

If we had more time, I’d love to talk about Netflix’s Kaos – I’m a huge mythology nerd – but hopefully we can talk about that another time!

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