Emma Pierson plays Anna Thornton-Wilton, Head Receptionist
Emma Pierson has loved playing the part of the foxy and outspoken Anna mostly because she has been able to develop, contribute and create opportunities to take Anna to the extremes of comedy within the drama.
"Anna loves her glamour and you can imagine at home she sits around in fluffy kitten-heel slippers, surrounded by Balenciaga and Gucci," she explains.
However in series three we see a new dimension to Anna's character and as her role becomes more prominent and her character becomes more central we uncover a different side to her.
"Because Anna has more storylines this year we needed to see other dimensions and qualities to her," she says. "This would give the audience something new to watch and have fun in seeing how she acts when faced with tougher moral choices and matters of the heart.
"The reality of TV-land is that we need her to have a more balanced side but her serious side isn't as serious as we might think," she adds.
When we meet Anna in series three it is clear that she has become close to General Manager Charlie Edwards played by good friend Max Beesley.
"She has grown up a bit and changed a little but she is still naughty and irreverent underneath. Having had two years of getting to know each other Anna and Jackie have very much settled their differences and get on...despite having a new female colleague on the floor, Anna has been so engrossed in her relationship with Charlie that initially she has little to do with Emily's dramas," she explains.
"As an actor who is in a returning show with great ratings, the audience know what they want from the characters and they expect to see on screen what they know and love and have invested in," she explains.
"With every new series the characters are always changing slightly. However, when the writers take your character down a different road, the actors, as guardians of our characters, have a duty to hold on to the truth of the character. Even whilst taking them into new areas that we haven't seen before, the character must retain their qualities and not simply change because it's easier to get through a storyline. So whilst Anna has new dimensions and is evolving – it is my job to hold on to the original essence of Anna."
Thinking she has finally found her man Anna is left feeling hurt and vulnerable when she discovers Charlie has no intention of promising a commitment to her. But love strikes twice in the same series when handsome doctor Ned Wright comes to Anna's rescue when she faints in the street.
"The truth is Anna found her true love in Charlie but unfortunately, as with all good love stories, happy endings are never guaranteed. Charlie and Anna are truly meant to be together and that would have been lovely to see but the story took another direction. When he finally says he is ready to be with her Anna doesn't understand what the circumstances are surrounding this declaration – she doesn't understand that he is leaving for good and it kind of poses the question 'had she known he was going for good would she have gone with him?'...who knows?"
Actor Daniel LaPaine plays Ned Wright and he falls hard for Anna. "It's a nice situation for Anna when she meets Ned because he can offer her a bit more security; he is a grown-up. So when Ned turns up he is charming and stable (though not as exciting as Charlie) and offers Anna everything she thinks she wants. She is made to feel special, like a princess, and he ticks all her boxes but I think she is surprised when she realises even this doesn't beat true love."
Emma was adamant she wanted to perform her own stunts which literally meant shedding blood, sweat and tears.
"In episode eight an evangelical preacher comes to stay in the hotel but has collected some enemies along the way. He is taken hostage but Emily and Jack get caught up in the melee and are taken hostage as well," she explains.
"In true Babylon form we never inform the police and Team Babylon take on the situation in their own confused way. Being the smallest, Anna is elected to scale the ventilation system and have a look at what is happening in the room which leads to lots of fun for me," she adds.
"I ended up crawling through ventilation systems for hours but was totally up for doing the stunts myself. When I saw blood I was concerned that Rob, the props guy, had cut himself whilst setting up the stunt. I then realised it was actually mine! Giving me my second permanent scar from Hotel Babylon!
"Having said that I wouldn't want a stunt-double doing my work. I love the physical comedy of the role not only because of the comic timing that is required but I consider the physical element to be an important part of the performance...I wouldn't let someone else deliver my lines for me so I always insist on doing my own stunts - wherever the insurance policy allows of course!"
Glamour is never far from Anna's mind and series three is no exception. In episode one Anna is obsessed with owning the dress of the season when fashion house De Rigeur hold their show at the hotel but she quickly gives up the idea when she realises how the company exploit children in Chinese sweatshops. Nonetheless she does get a chance to dress up in series three.
"I do get to wear a few glamorous dresses this series plus my normal receptionist uniform but it's nothing like last year's fancy dress extravaganza!' she says.
"And I do admit to gazing longingly at Natalie and Alex's catwalk glamour almost on a daily basis! But I suppose Anna's daywear is more glam than the average uniform. Though what she lacks in suits and dresses she more than makes up for in shoes."
Emma had a surprise in store for her parents when they visited the set one Saturday during filming.
"My parents are really big fans of John Barrowman and they just happened to be in the day that he was filming – my mum absolutely adores him." she says.
"Then a few days later John's parents visited the set and it was lovely to meet them – they are huge fans of the show and all of the characters so it was a real treat for them to see it in full swing."