When I first saw the scripts for White Heat I was auditioning for the part of Lilly, but as soon I started reading it was the character of Charlotte that I identified with.

Jack (Sam Claflin) and Charlotte (Claire Foy)

I had worked with the writer Paula Milne before on The Night Watch, in which I played Helen, a blonde, quite vulnerable character - the opposite of redhead, ambitious Charlotte. So I knew I had my work cut out to convince Paula I was the right person for the job!!

Both Charlotte and I grew up in Buckinghamshire and I could really identify with her ambitions and excitement at 18 of going off to university to start her life.

Charlotte is different to me in many ways though. She is very much a product of her time, brought up in the 1950s nuclear family. Her brothers are taught to be ambitious, not her.

She's desperate to break out and change the world, and she does.

Charlotte is intelligent and is excited by people who don't want to accept the status quo but who want to challenge authority and make things happen.

Which is one of the reasons why she is so attracted to her housemate Jack. He's exciting and bold and political, and she understands him better than he does himself.

Jack (Sam Claflin) kisses Charlotte (Claire Foy)

Jack has a difficult relationship with his parents, so does Charlotte, and she wants to be close to him. Unfortunately Jack doesn't really feel the same!

It was so interesting to play a character from the age of 18 to 42 because you see how relationships (like Charlotte's with Jack) can shape the decisions you make in your life, and only with hindsight, how much they affected you.

We had one director (John Alexander) directing all six episodes so it meant we could shoot scenes from episode one (age 18) in the morning, then episode six (age 42) in the afternoon.

That was a huge challenge. Not only because our 1965 and 1989 make-up and hair was so different and complex to change but also because we were shooting across entire decades of people's lives.

We had to make sure we each knew our character's journey in the show inside and out.

For me, the most important thing to get to grips with was how Charlotte changes from relatively naive and excited to so politically-driven and independent.

I read quite a lot about women who were involved in the women's movement at the time and how their politics affected them personally.

I was surprised how little I knew about how much they sacrificed and how determined they were for change.

Music also helped me a lot to pinpoint certain moments in Charlotte's life and differentiate between the decades. From the Sixties I listened to a lot of the Small Faces and Buffalo Springfield and later moved on to Kate Bush and Kiki Dee.

The housemates: Orla, Lilly, Jack, Charlotte, Jay, Alan and Victor

One of the wonderful things about Paula's script is the friendship between the seven flatmates and how that changes with time. We were lucky that as a cast we all naturally became friends and had an amazing time shooting together.

We had a week of rehearsals before we started shooting, when we each had time to talk to John (Alexander, director) about the different relationships we had with the other characters over the decades.

We had time to get to know each other and talk about what we were nervous or excited about.

At the end of the week we all went to the local pub near where we were rehearsing in north London (very similar to the one in White Heat!). It felt like we were a proper team.

I think that helps with the dynamic of the characters on screen. Hopefully that means you will care about these characters and where their lives are going to take them.

Claire Foy plays the role of Charlotte in White Heat.

White Heat starts on Thursday, 8 March at 9pm on BBC Two. For further programme times, please visit the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Tagged with:

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 26. Posted by teresa hooper

    on 23 Apr 2012 12:39

    I was blown away by this series The using of the music that was'nt EXACTLY the right year gave me the feeling that the writer was subtly placing a year where the action takes place then adding music that was slightly forward to show us that thr times were moving on or music before that year to indicate that times were moving up to the events shown on screen. The emotions and interaction between these 7 people was touching, moving, heartbreaking, callous, sometimes
    moved on too quickly but it was never boring or trite. I lived through the Thatcher years and was just surprised that Jack did;nt hate her as much as half of thr country did after the Poll tax was introduced but by thrn I think alot of his passion had gone (as it sadly does when one grows up). I have;nt seen such good writing since Andrea Newman in the seventies with ;A Bouquet of barbed Wite' (remember that anyone?) and the other one she wrote (name escapes me) with Trevor Eve playing Felix. Both were ensemble dramas and both were written by a woman. Jimmy McGovern also springs to mind but he was a different writer altogether as o he wrote with social policy and upheaval to the foreground.

    PLEASE PLEASE BRING IT OUT ON DVD!!!

    All in all, a wonderful series. I just hope the beeb bring it out on DVD.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 26: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 26: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 25. Posted by Hieroglyph

    on 18 Apr 2012 17:19

    excellent... but - BLOODY SELFISH PEOPLE - all of us...

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 25: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 25: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 24. Posted by etridge

    on 15 Apr 2012 06:59

    Excellent! Really sorry its finished. With so much c**p on TV at the moment its truly wonderful to have such a brilliant piece of drama available. Thankyou to all.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 24: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 24: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 23. Posted by BigTonyI

    on 14 Apr 2012 21:16

    Drama at its best! Just watched the final episode (isn't iPlayer great?) and like others was moved to tears. Young cast and old cast alike were excellent. I believe talent in the U.K. Is streets ahead of anything America can offer.
    Well done and thank you to all involved.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 23: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 23: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 22. Posted by Aine

    on 14 Apr 2012 20:44

    I have just seen the last episode of White Heat and just wanted to tell the cast and writer how much I enjoyed it. I found it to be a powerful and moving story with great characters. It was a very evocative and nostalgic piece. It reminded me of my own days as a student and growing up in Thatcher's Britain. Well done.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 22: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 22: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 21. Posted by Blisterbum

    on 14 Apr 2012 20:36

    This was a piece of fiction made into a drama series where sometimes there should be allowances made for artistic licence. If you want to sit and note down all the goofs made in films and tv series then fine but there's no need to say that a programme is rubbish because a song was playing at the wrong time and someone was drinking from a bottle in the wrong decade. I am sure that the cast and crew would rather people were paying attention to the story and in this case the moral of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the ending made me think about friendships in my life that have maybe been negelcted. Well done Auntie!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 21: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 21: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 20. Posted by Kate Hampton

    on 13 Apr 2012 22:51

    I moved to London in 1969 when I was 22. I have loved this drama and couldn't care less if the music wasn't absolutely accurate or the decor authentic. I think the flats I lived in were more shabby with no central heating and I went to bed with a hot water bottle, gloves and my overcoat to keep warm in winter. I earned £800 per year in my first job. What came across was the feel of the changing times, and the challenges faced during these years, IRA bombing, strikes (lots of them!), mixed sharing in flats (my mother was horrified), the advent of contraception and legal abortion, gays coming out, mix race relationships, and HIV. The last was for me the worst as my long time flatmate died from AIDS 20 years ago this weekend. I lived through these years and what was so great about this drama was that it brought back all those memories and certainly had the feel of the times, the passion and the earnestness. It was a joy to watch! Loved it. There was one thing missing and that was the great spiritual shift that happened during those years, it was significant.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 20: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 20: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 19. Posted by gillyflower

    on 12 Apr 2012 23:10

    I am very surprised to read so many negative comments.I thought this was a superlative drama, very well handled and beautifully scripted & acted by some seriously talented young actors, as well as people like Juliet Stephenson & Lindsay Duncan who are uniformly superb in whatever they do.I was born 1954, so the early period scenes were greatly interesting:so-called 'swinging London' clearly far more fab than rural Derbyshire where I grew up.But the series caught well the social and political ferment of the times,even though it didn't always feel like that at the time.The human relationships very well done, and both moving and hopeful at the end (I was in tears!)Yes, there are minor niggles about anachronisms in language or behaviour,but anyone who thinks this isn't great drama-just go and live anywhere else for a while and watch their telly (minus BBC imports of course)Tremendous stuff,absolutely loved it!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 19: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 19: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 18. Posted by englishmaninfrance

    on 12 Apr 2012 21:39

    Wow this is probably one of the best dramas I've seen in years.No gratuitous sex,violence or bad language, brilliant cast/script/acting, so believable/relevent and to top it all Michael Kitchen in the last episode. Writers of Downton Abbey, Titanic (Downton on Sea) and Upstairs Downstairs hang your heads in shame!!!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 18: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 18: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 17. Posted by Joffy Offord

    on 9 Apr 2012 13:22

    A powerful and moving journey. This series reminds those of a certain age how much influence the politics and views of the time shaped our future. It should also be a testimony to the experiences shared by the mothers and fathers of the twenty and thirty somethings today, who's own experiences are too often assumed as new.
    The turmoil Jack faces without his fathers nurture is very intense to watch and a reminder to us all how life and relationships can so easily fall apart.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 17: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 17: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Next