I am Nicola: Vicky McClure spills all on ‘intense’ Channel 4 drama

Vicky, 36, and her This Is England co-star Perry Fitzpatrick star in the first episode of a Channel 4 series, which depicts three different stories from the perspectives of three different women.

I Am Nicola will see the Line Of Duty star in the role of a hairdresser stuck in a volatile relationship with her partner.

All three episodes of the anthology have been co-written by the leading actresses of the series alongside BAFTA-winning director Dominic Savage, using the technique of improvisation to film each short-film.

It’s the use of this technique which has provided a unique take on the characters’ situations in the anthology series, with Vicky and Perry both coming from a background where improvisation has been a part of their work.

It was really intense

Vicky McClure

In speaking about the the use of improvisation for this kind of drama, Perry explained to press, including Express.co.uk: “It was amazing, really liberating. Having someone like Dominic, he has an amazing vision for storytelling and his process of getting actors to certain points is very carefully done.

“There is a story structure that was in place and Vicky and Dominic had developed that long before I came on board,” he explained.

“But the dialogue, we just organically found that on the day and we would shoot up to 40-minute scenes a lot of the time. The bits you see may be the twentieth minute of a scene of how we got there,” Perry continued.

With no script to adhere to, Vicky added: “We’d start the scene and all of a sudden Perry would just wander upstairs and maybe go for a wee and then I’d be waiting downstairs as you naturally would or waiting in the kitchen and you just go into the fridge.

“The camera just followed us,” the Line of Duty star said, to which Perry remarked: “We were never sure where the camera would go.”

Although the drama was in the works for some time, it only took 10 days to shoot the short-film.

Speaking about the process, Vicky explained: “For ten days, it was really intense. It was like solid ten days.

“We was in every day, every scene and you just immersed yourself in it. Whereas sometimes with long series, you get tired, life gets in the way.

“It was great to just delve into a character.”

The difficulty of filming the long takes also came with its challenges as the crew had to work around the actors whist trying to ensure they weren’t seen in the shot.

Perry explained: “Before each scene and after each scene, we’d all get together and half an hour in the garden and discuss what we’d just shot, which points we needed to hit in the next scene.

“Also, during the scenes, although it was improv, when the camera would follow Vicky upstairs, Dominic would then grab me.

“He’d pop up from behind the sofa, we had 360-degree filming so the few crew members we had were hidden behind a door or a sofa.

“He’d pop up and say, ‘Follow Vicky and say this.’ He would drive the story while we were filming.”

Vicky added due to the improvisation and the length of the takes, the drama could’ve been worked into a very different story.

The Line Of Duty star said: “There were so many versions we could have gone down. If you’d have kept that, it might have been a different film.”

I am Nicola airs tonight at 10pm on Channel 4.

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