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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Land Girls: Sophie Ward is Lady Ellen Hoxley

Sophie Ward, Summer Strallen and Nathaniel Parker in Land Girls

Sophie Ward plays Lady Ellen Hoxley, a glamorous-yet-brittle woman who feels perfectly at home with her position in upper-class society.

Passionate about doing her bit for the war, she enjoys organising and rallying people, and the hustle and bustle of the Manor House gives her less time to think about her sham of a marriage to local war hero Lawrence Hoxley, played by Nathaniel Parker.

Despite the much-needed vibrancy brought to the estate by the presence of the land girls, she finds them bafflingly coarse and common, and makes no effort to get to know them.

Sophie says: "Lady Hoxley is an absolute monster – quite extraordinary and incredibly rude, but great fun to play. I don't have a problem with my character being disliked, there is nothing altruistic about her – she is fierce. She has had a difficult life and is filled with boiling resentments and is very unhappy.

"Part of her unhappiness stems from the fact that her husband doesn't love her and then he becomes involved with one of the land girls. I think she would prefer to have a war hero husband who she could love from afar without having to deal with day-to-day life together."

Sophie hopes that Land Girls will ring true with people who lived through the Second World War.

"In some ways it feels such a very long time ago, but of course it is not at all. It's within living memory for plenty of people that I know. Also, I think there is a wartime attitude which we still associate with the British character. Dunkirk spirit, make do and mend, being thrifty – the sorts of things which we still very much admire. These were the qualities of the people at that time.

The drama was filmed during the recent mini heatwave.

"It was lovely to be in Warwickshire in the British summertime and not have to be in corsets and huge skirts. The costumes were all vintage and were rather beautiful and not at all uncomfortable. I wore very nice original silk stockings.

"And I was very grateful not to be playing one of the land girls as they were filming in the field all day and would come back covered in insect bites!"

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