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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Land Girls: Christine Bottomley is Annie

Christine Bottomley in Land Girls

Christine Bottomley (Hope Springs) plays sensible, cautious, but friendly, Annie Barratt.

Annie and her younger sister Bea are already living and working at Pasture Farm when Nancy and Joyce arrive. Annie is the peacemaker of the group, holding the girls together as they face the challenges of life in the Women's Land Army.

Born and raised in Leicester, Annie comes from a close-knit family. As well as Bea, she has a younger brother, Bob, and a sickly mother and a fervently religious and strict father committed to working every hour for his family.

Annie found herself looking after her siblings from an early age. This instilled a sense of responsibility in the young girl, resulting in her never really being a child and, as a result, she is quite stiff and inhibited.

Annie is married to Harry, who is fighting for his country. She desperately wants a baby, which is causing a strain on their marriage, which wasn't borne out of passion but a desperate need to get away from her father.

But they love each other in their own ways. He is a 'good man' and Annie is determined to be a 'good wife'.

Talking about her role, Christine says: "I loved the experience of working in a completely different era and the completely different look."

The land girls had to work in all conditions on the farm, and some of the filming took place during very hot weather in June. Christine says it gave her a small insight into what their lives were like and how they had to carry out really hard labour.

"We were going on about how hot it was, but they must have been sweltering doing all that grafting. It was commendable work and really interesting trying to put myself in their shoes."

Christine already knew a little bit about the land girls but did some further research after getting the part of Annie.

"I went onto BBC Online – it was very handy, with lots of references, real-life accounts, and that helped me. Helen in the make-up department brought in some brilliant books and even looking at the photos of the girls helped to bring it to life."

So how would Christine have felt if she had had to be a land girl?

"I suppose you have to get light relief out of things don't you? I think I'd be living on my nerves a bit, but in a bad situation you have to make the most of it."

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