Business - Elizabeth Berrington plays Jessica Brooker
Fans of the hit BBC comedy The Office will remember Elizabeth Berrington
as heavily pregnant Anne in the 2003 Christmas Special, treating
us to a graphic description of intercourse with her husband.
has been a very busy year for Elizabeth.
finished playing Beverley in Abigail's Party in the West End last
year, played Cherie Blair in Stephen Freer's The Deal, starred in
Mike Leigh's latest film, made an East End gangster movie with Nick
Moran and Ken Stott called Spivis, and I'm about to begin filming
a sitcom called Shane with Frank Skinner for ITV - so it's all go
at the minute," she says.
the mother of a family on the edge of chaos was particularly moving
for Elizabeth: she lost her mother three weeks into shooting Family
she found filming a source of comfort. "My mum died early into
filming so it was very strange to be playing a mother - which I'm
not - and shooting in a family home," she says.
was a very poignant experience and such a sad time, but I was very
lucky to be working. It helped me to be creative and deal with all
the issues that Tony was writing about. It was really cathartic.
I was very much thinking about family at that time."
can identify with some of the family situations her character Jessica
finds herself in, particularly the disappearance of someone close.
I was in my early twenties my brother would disappear for about
eight months at a time to go off with New-Age Travellers, and we
wouldn't know where he was. I suppose it was a kind of rite of passage
when he came back to the family we'd all changed in a little way
in order to embrace the new brother and the new son.
the Brookers, those sorts of things do happen in families and we
all deal with them in different ways," she says.
think Marky could deal with it better. A significant part of the
storyline is that as an adopted and abandoned child his son running
away is a huge deal for him, and releases all sorts of demons."
role within the family changes as Marky fails to deal with their
big change for Jessica is that Marky is a man that has always made
the decisions. She's been happy to go along with him but suddenly,
when their son leaves home, she becomes the matriarch and struggles
to try and keep things normal for their teenage daughter, Lauren.
a time of discovery for them all as a family," she says.
Grounds' trademark is writing truthful dialogue that people can
relate to. For Elizabeth his scripts are full of very honest portrayals
of families around the kitchen table and she admires his original
approach to family life.
fascinating about the story as television is that it's very truthful
with very beautiful writing. Tony is a genius with language and
the Brookers are beautiful characters to get hold of and get to
grips with very quickly.
Family Business you've got three generations living in one house
and you think everything should go well for them. You have a husband
and wife who are in love, a couple of kids and great grandparents.
when they think everything is rosy the bombshell of their son disappearing
hits and they have to deal with the fallout," she observes.
beauty of the drama is that it's very real, very human, very warm
and very moving. There isn't any sex or violence, but I don't think
audiences want that anymore. This is compelling viewing because
it's true family drama."
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