Original Drama Shorts

A brand-new, two-year commission for BBC Drama Production

Interview with Alice Sykes

Category: BBC iPlayer; Drama

What were your first impressions of the script?

I thought it was so original, and totally different to anything I had ever read before. I loved the use of modern poetry to tell the story and immediately wanted to know more about the project. I found the script very emotional and I think the powerful writing truly helped me adapt to the character of Flea and portray a believable, strong and brave character.

Tell us a bit about your character

My character is innocent yet strong. Flea is in a tough situation and taking care of Mighty and Lil Sis is the top priority. Flea may not solve the problem in the best way but I hope the audience can understand Flea's suffering and see that this was the only way the teenager could see how to deal with it.

What were the biggest challenges of the part?

I felt throughout the shoot I had a huge responsibility to tell the story (and make Cat proud). I do not live a life like poor Flea so I really had to immerse myself in the story and with the help of the makeup and costume I was able to become this amazing character. I realised that the whole project was going to be a challenge for me as it was something new that I'd never experienced before so I threw myself in completely and loved it. Although the part did push me as an actor, the support of everyone made it so much easier between scenes and takes.

How did this project differ from other work you have done?

Cat wrote this short from Flea's point of view therefore I had to deliver most of the lines to camera, which was a new experience for me, but I found this thoroughly enjoyable. Although a lot of my previous work has required heightened emotion as a young girl, I enjoyed playing on the fact that the gender of Flea is never given away in the script therefore I could create this young character myself and explore different ways to portray Flea.

With this short I got to experience stunt work which was great fun. I also got to work along side our amazing director, Ness, and our fantastic writer, Cat, who were hands on and constantly helped me to develop the character of Flea during production. I was lucky enough to work with Kate Hardie again who I acted alongside on my very first job, so I hope that we portrayed a believable relationship, as I know I had so much fun working with her again. Also the project was under a very tight time schedule so shooting the whole short in three days was extremely challenging but I hope the audience can see how strong our cast and crew were, to produce such amazing work in such a short period of time.

What do you like watching most on iPlayer?

I use iPlayer to catch up on loads of television that I miss as I'm always on the go. I love the BBC iPlayer app on my iPad to catch up on TV dramas that I often miss..

What would you like the audience to get out of the drama?

I hope that the audience feel sympathy for the character of Flea and manage to see the challenges that many young people have to face nowadays. I am sure Fleas story is a stark contrast to most who will watch the drama, but that this glimpse into Fleas life will make them see people in a new light and hopefully enable them to have more empathy. I want them to love it as much as I did and enjoy the story being told in a modern way. I think Cat has written a very hard-hitting drama, Shakespeare for the 21st century.