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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Finlay Robertson plays Oggy

What initially attracted you to the role of Oggy?

I thought he was interesting and I liked the way that he didn't seem like a typical scientist or a typical detective. In some ways he kind of best embodies the dilemma that the team as a whole go through, which is: do we want to be doing this work with the police? I also thought that he was funny and I wanted to know more about him – what his condition was and how that affected his work. It was clear to me that this was someone very passionate to the point of an obsession with his work. As I found the idea of the work in the show very interesting, that really appealed to me.

What is his condition?

He is socially awkward. He's nervous in social situations and somehow doesn't fit in – we never actually see him leave the farm, but the passion that he has for his work is something that I actually identified with. The conflict that is brought up when things turn from the theoretical to the practical; and we're talking about real people. That is something that he really struggles with. In terms of dealing with the real world – sometimes people can be very strange!

What is his key role in the team?

In terms of the practical side, he is the "insect guy". When studying the decomposition of bodies and how long people have been dead for, the role played by insects in that decomposition of human flesh is critical really, and he is an expert in that field. He's also a sort of all-round technology geek… In Star Trek, he would be the Bones figure. In terms of the team, I found it really helpful early on to think of the four of them as a family, with Mike and Eve acting like the parents, and Oggy and Rosa as the children – which is why when Hale comes along it's so threatening for them. That intrusion is something that Oggy definitely finds a challenge to deal with.

How have you found working with the complex prosthetics?

It's been exciting. I'm not a naturally squeamish person, but I guess what is squeamish-making is when you're dealing with someone who isn't your gender – when you're dealing with a dead naked woman. That becomes quite challenging and awkward, and I think that's true for people who do that for a living. The minute it becomes too easy in real life is the minute you take the dignity from those people – you know, it's never a joke, it's never anything other than remembering the reality that the show is actually based on. The prosthetics were extraordinary and brilliantly done.

What research did you do?

I wrote to some of the various medical schools in London, and I went to a dissecting room and watched some students dissecting human bodies, which was fascinating and really helpful. Despite all the formaldehyde and the fact that they were preserved, you're still in a room with bodies that years ago were walking around. That was really great because it grounded me in the reality that these are human beings – this is somebody's mother, somebody's father, somebody that did all the things that we do, and now they're dead and we're looking at their internal organs.

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