Maria Fernandez-Ache (Palma Police Chief, Ines Villegas)

Maria Fernandez-Ache boasts a diverse career working across Europe and the UK.

Published: 19 November 2019
It has to go out in winter, because it'll cheer people up. It will give them the light that countries in northern Europe need. It will open a window of sunshine for them. It will lift people's souls!
— Maria Fernandez-Ache

Her work includes film (Anti-Social, Epic), theatre (Lady Capulet in Romeo And Juliet) and television. UK viewers will know her best as Ramona from Holby City. She is married to actor Will Keen (The Crown) and her daughter Dafne Keen plays the lead role of Lyra in the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Q&A

Why were you taken by the idea of playing the police chief Ines in The Mallorca Files?

I really like the idea of playing a cop. I hadn't played one before, and it was a great challenge. I also wanted to explore the British idea of a Spanish female. That was really fun. Apparently, you see us as feisty Mediterranean women, and the fact that I'm always offered feisty Mediterranean women might mean that there’s some truth in it!

Do you enjoy playing fiery characters?

Yes. It's such a joy playing them. Every time my character has a row, I am allowed to really shout at someone, and that's great fun! But I also love playing softer parts. You want to play all the possible instruments in the orchestra.

How would you characterise Ines?

She's had to fight her way to the top in a man's world. Along the way, she has had to put on a no-nonsense mask. But she also loves to party. In episode ten, she's very hungover!

Have you enjoyed shooting in Mallorca?

Absolutely. It's such a beautiful place, and the light is wonderful. When I lived in England, whenever it was grey, I would wake up depressed, and whenever the sun came out, I was so happy. It's an animal thing. We need light. I love England, but the light is not its best quality! However, that light is a hugely important element of The Mallorca Files. It gives it life.

Has it been a pleasure to collaborate with Elen?

Definitely. She's amazing. She's such an artist in the true sense of the work. She is intelligent and sweet and has a great softness, but she is also a very strong woman who is really disciplined and hard-working. I'm delighted to be working with her. In episode nine, our characters have to work together, and it's great to have those scenes. Working with Elen has been such a gift. I'm so lucky.

Does Ines's relationship with Elen change during the course of the series?

Yes. Something happens in episode nine that makes Ines realise how much Miranda will rush to defend the cause of justice. That softens Ines. That's the moment she realises that in fact Miranda is an amazing woman.

How has it been working with Julian?

It's been wonderful. He's hilarious. He can't stop making jokes. I never know when he's being serious. He is a delightful man.

Do you think The Mallorca Files might help alter the image of the island in the UK?

Yes. I think this drama will help change people's minds. I certainly didn't know Mallorca was this beautiful. Hopefully the world will now see how gorgeous it is. The Mallorca Files will show a tranquillity and a beauty that people weren't aware of. The irony is that even though this show is about crime, in real life Mallorca has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe!

What you think the audience takeaway from The Mallorca Files will be?

This is a very original show. Although it's a classic cop couple, the setup, the landscapes and the eccentric team make for a very unusual cocktail. Audiences will have a ball watching this. It will be lovely to watch. It has to go out in winter, because it'll cheer people up. It will give them the light that countries in northern Europe need. It will open a window of sunshine for them. It will lift people's souls!

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