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24 September 2014
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Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit
Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit

Little Dorrit, a major BBC One Dickens adaptation

Claire Foy plays Amy Dorrit


Claire Foy remembers exactly where she was when she heard that she had landed one of the most desirable female leads in recent TV drama: the title role in Little Dorrit.


The actress recollects: "I was walking through the foyer at the National Theatre when I found out, so I couldn't really jump up and down as people would have looked at me a bit strangely!


"I was utterly delighted. But I also couldn't believe it. Even when we started filming, I kept thinking, 'they'll take this off me and name the series after another character!'"


The actress, whose only previous job since leaving drama school was in the BBC Three drama Being Human, need not have worried.


She is perfect for the role of the sweet girl at the core of the tale. Amy's family have lived for years in Marshalsea debtors' prison.


This marvellously altruistic girl has spent years looking after her dysfunctional father William (Tom Courtenay), self-absorbed sister Fanny (Emma Pierson) and wayward brother Tip (Arthur Darvill).


Even when their fortunes change overnight, Amy still finds herself having to hold her family together.


Claire explains that there is more to Amy than meets the eye.


"Outwardly, she's a very timid, mouse-like creature, who is very quiet compared to all these other exuberant figures in the drama.


"But on the inside she is this wonderfully strong, driven and practical person. She is also ridiculously kind and the most selfless person imaginable.


"She knows exactly what needs to be done and only ever does things for the right reasons. The amount she gives in proportion to what she receives is simply unbelievable!"


At the heart of Little Dorrit is the achingly tender love story between Amy and Arthur (Matthew Macfadyen).


Claire thinks that her character "truly appreciates people's good natures, and that's why she falls for Arthur. She can't believe someone would be so nice to her, but eventually she accepts him for the good and gentle person that he is."


Claire relished working with Matthew.


"We hit it off from the very first rehearsal. He's a recognisable face, but it was never odd doing scenes with him because he is such a lovely, lovely man."


She was equally bowled over by appearing with Tom.


"He has been my dad's idol since he saw him as Hamlet years ago in Manchester.


"My greatest joy was the days when it was just the two of us working together. Tom has such a deep understanding of his character and he's such a brilliant actor, that it made my job so much easier.


"When a colleague is giving you so much, you have to pay extra attention and raise your game."


Finally, Claire reckons that Little Dorrit will chime with contemporary audiences.


"All the things that Amy has to deal with - poverty, the past, family and relationships - are the very things that we all have to deal with now.


"This is not just another period drama. It will really speak to viewers today."



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