Friday, 13 March 2015

An Interview with...Jo Joyner!

It was the week of BBC EastEnders' 30th Anniversary where Tanya Cross had returned for a couple of episodes. I was in excited to be seeing her back on Albert Square. After Jo Joyner's short stint back in Walford, I opened my emails later that week to see that I had been invited to meet Jo and to interview her regarding her role in the new BBC television series 'Ordinary Lies'. Fast forward a few days and a lot of cups of tea, there I am. London Town, I've missed you! It almost time for my afternoon meeting with Jo. I was nervous. I've done lots of interviews but this particular one had me hyperventilating. Maybe due to the fact that I'd told Jo I was coming and I was worried in case I'd mess up? Human nature, I guess. I took a breather as I entered the building. As I sat waiting in the reception I sent out a tweet: "I'm in the building". OK. So I'm waiting. I'm ready...I think.

Jo Joyner and I at the British Soap Awards 2013.
This was good day.
A couple of moments later, as I had nearly come to terms with the fact that I'm just about to meet JO JOYNER again, it's my turn. I walk though a corridor and after the opening of a couple of doors I find myself standing face to face with her. Wow! There she is. She looks great! I hadn't seen her for almost two years. I'd last met her at The British Soap Awards 2013. This was my chance to really get to speak to her in person, rather than in a 140-character tweet or direct message. 

Anyway, so I greeted her and introduced myself. For anyone who doesn't know, I created @JoJoynerWorld on Twitter to help keep myself and other fans updated about Jo's projects. When I told her who I was she replied: "I know! I realised this! Very good! Welcome to the building! Have you had to come far?" When I told her I'd come from travelled quit a way because I really wanted to meet her, she gasped "You have? Aw, bless you!" This was going well! As hard as it was in this extremely exciting situation, it was time to switch on professional mode the best I could now. Then we began our Q&A to talk all things Ordinary Lies with the extraordinary Jo Joyner...

So, firstly, what can we expect to see from you in Ordinary Lies?
Jo: Well, Ordinary Lies is a six-part drama and in each episode we have a look at each character and we have at their lie that they've told that's spun out of control. Beth is one of the few characters that kind of feeds throughout the whole series actually, so it's not really until probably episode five or six where you get to find out a little bit more about her life and what's going on in it. But when we meet Beth, her husband has been a missing person for for over a year so she's in this very strange limbo where...he went to the shops one day and never came back. She's got two kids and she's been coping. Basically, for over a year she's still managed to keep her job - thanks to her nice boss that she gets on quite well with! (Laughs) She's managed to keep the family going. But she doesn't know if she can move on because she doesn't know if he was killed, or whether he's just left her and if he has, then why, and how could he do that to it's quite complex. So you can expect a lot of different feelings from her throughout the series and maybe a few lies of her own.

I'm quite looking forward to seeing this character! So how did this particular role appeal to you?
Jo: Because it's Red Productions, I think they make such brilliant, brilliant stuff - Happy Valley, The Last Tango...and they used to make a lot of stuff when I was first starting out in Manchester. When the company was quite young with Russell T. Davis and Second Coming and Bob and Rose...things like that. So, for me it's quite nice because I'd worked with them a lot in the past and then having been into the soap and come back out again, I feel like I have come back home, really. Working up north again and with such great company. And Danny [Brocklehurst]'s writing, it's so believable. You're gonna love it. Honestly, because he's one of those guys that one minute you're laughing and the next minute you're going "oh my gosh!" You know, it's fun. Then the cast! It's such a fantastic cast! I mean, what a mixture of people?! You don't normally get that mixture of people in one show and everybody's gonna be great in it. I can't wait to watch it, just to see them! It's good. Great stuff.

What was the best thing about being on set, during the filming process? 

Jo: Working with those people! Sally Lindsay and I used to meet on the circuit years ago in Manchester all the time, we used to be up for very similar stuff and castings and things. We never really expected to work together. Although, we'd spoken together through friends - because we've both got twins - and she started doing Mount Pleasant as I was doing Candy Cabs, so we'd been in touch with each other. But we never really worked together, so that was really lovely, getting to know her. And getting to work with Max [Beesley] who's good fun, he's a good laugh, and Mackenzie Crook who's a brilliant, incredibly talented man. And Rebecca Callard, she's just brilliant in this. It's nice. The best thing about any god job is that you do come away genuinely having made new friends from it. Some of the girls from the offices, I think we'll be really good friends now which is great. 

So what was it like having your long overdue 'Janya' time with Laurie Brett when you returned to EastEnders?
Jo: (Laughs) Oh, it was absolutely fantastic! Because of my epic...mess-up, that night Janya carried on into the hotel, as you can imagine. Laurie and I had quite a few drinks that night, and a lot of talking. A lot of catching up to do, so we were up 'til about 2am the night that I said "how's Adam?" So, it was brilliant to work with her again and she's been up doing Waterloo Road in Glasgow, so we hadn't had a really good catch-up for a long time. It was long overdue. She's just fantastic. And weren't they brilliant Friday night, her and Adam [Woodyatt]?
Me: They were, yes!
Jo: Adam just blew me away. They were just great! 
Me: I was most looking forward to seeing you that week! I was SO excited!
Jo: It was good...then I said "how's Adam". Can you imagine?! 
Me: But you were the the most amazing thing of that week for me, cos I was so excited to see you, you were brilliant!
Jo: Bless you. Can I take that opportunity to, in your column, thank all my lovely followers because I had nothing but love that night on my feed, from people in support. People were so good about it and made me feel so much better. I just thought "I have got the best Twitter followers ever!" 
Me: We do try...!
Jo: (Laughs) 

I'd like to speak about 'The Interceptor' in which you'll be playing Lorna. What can we expect from this series?

Jo: Well, I started that March last year and I finished it two days before I started this in October so funnily enough, that one was filmed before Ordinary Lies but it's not been on yet and I don't know when it is going to be on but I have got a screening next week [of the time of this interview]. Presumably, it's on sometime in Spring. It's quite a different one for me, actually, although as a show it's quite different because it's an eight-parter. It's quite big and it's gonna be shot beautifully but it's quite high octane action stuff. But he's kind of a fallible hero - O-T Fagbenle, who plays the lead. And I play his wife. Like all good detectives, he doesn't really go home much so I'm in the show, I weave throughout it but I'm not a major part in it, really. It was a nice quiet job for me for the lead-up to the kids starting school. Lorna is...well, they [Lorna and Ash, portrayed by O-T Fagbenle] were childhood sweethearts which is really lovely. They were at school together and she knew him when he was a little bit of a bad boy and she is a policeman's daughter. So she's always kept him on the straight and narrow and like all good detectives, he's walking that fine line of the straight and narrow and the world that he touches upon is the world that he used to belong to. There's a kind of battle throughout the series of whether or not Lorna can manage to keep him on the straight and narrow or whether he's going to put himself in jeopardy all the time, and the family therefore. You'll have to watch and see!

That's exciting! Here's a Twitter question from a follower...@No_Angels_Love, Freya...

Jo: Yeah! 
Me: You know her, don't you?
Jo: Yeah! (smiles)
Me: She wants to know what the funniest moment was when you were filming Ordinary Lies
Jo: On Ordinary Lies? Do you know, I was trying to remember earlier with a journalist because these jokes are know, sometimes things make you cry with laughter, don't they? But actually you can't remember what they were because you had to be I'm not sure that any of them will make much sense really but there was a time Sally Lindsay's character in the show has a very big, huge, smelly dog. A character one, right? And she's allergic to it so that day was quite funny because Sally was kind of itching and swelling up and trying to do these scenes! (Laughs) With this MASSIVE dog that was panting away and that made us laugh, a lot! 

Finally, if you could invite any three celebrities or famous people to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Jo: Who would I have this year? I would have Caitlin Moran, because I love reading her feeds. She's hilarious and she'd have a lot to say, wouldn't she? And then, who would I have? I'd have...somebody musical...Max! Why not Max Beesley? There you go, cos he is an incredible musician and he could get on a piano afterwards and bang out some tunes for us all to dance our dinner off to. And, then...who would be a good laugh with us? I find these so hard...Max, Caitlin...who'd make a really good third for that? They'd get on great, those two. Erm...(laughs) need a comedian. Chris Addison! I could talk to him all night and he'd get on with Caitlin. That'd be great. There you go. That's a mixture, right there! (Laughs)

We then played a game titled 'How Well Does Jo Know Jo?' which consisted of quotes from characters Jo has previously played. After I read a quote, Jo had to hold up a straw puppet of each character and I'm pleased to confirm that Jo does know Jo - she got them all correct! Scroll down for some exclusive photos of Jo as Beth in Ordinary Lies, with thanks to BBC Pictures.

Ordinary Lies will be airing Tuesday 17th March at 9pm on BBC One. Don't miss this six-part series! 

Thanks for reading my blog!
- Adam!

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