Miss Scarlet and the Duke interview - Kate Phillips

Kate Phillips is no stranger to period pieces, having made her mark as Jane Seymour in the acclaimed Wolf Hall in 2015 as well as starring in Andrew Davies' 2016 adaptation of War & Peace. She also starred in the first series of The Crown, appeared as Princess Mary in the Downton Abbey movie and is well known to fans of historical crime drama for her role as Arthur Shelby's wife, Linda, in Peaky Blinders.

Miss Scarlet and the Duke interview - Kate Phillips (Eliza S

What's Miss Scarlet and the Duke about?

It's a Victorian crime drama set in London in 1882 and it's about a young woman, Eliza Scarlet, trying to make her way as a respected private detective. After her father died, she became a detective, because that's how she knew to take care of money, but, in a way, I think it was kind of her destiny. It also follows a number of characters, most importantly the Duke, and it follows Eliza's personal and professional involvement with him.

Kate Phillips on set as Eliza Scarlet in Episode One.

Kate Phillips on set as Eliza Scarlet in Episode One.

How would you describe the Duke?

The Duke is a man of the Victorian era. He's grown up not recognising women to have any agency. They've known each other for years, her father mentored the Duke, so they sort of grew up together and there's a familial connection between the two of them. Whilst he's open-minded and adores her, I'm sure he wouldn't want to admit it.

How would you describe the relationship between Eliza and the Duke?

At the beginning, the Duke doesn't think that Eliza should be a detective. He thinks it's dangerous for her and it's not the job for a woman and that infuriates her. So, I think Eliza thinks the Duke's a good detective, that he's good at his job and she respects him, but she thinks that he's lazy and wants to close cases really quickly. What's great about her is that she kind of whips him into shape and that's the kind of the tussle that they have throughout the whole series - where she's trying to prove to herself, and to him, that she's capable.

Kate with Stuart Martin as

Kate with Stuart Martin as "The Duke" in Episode Five.

What drew you to the role of Miss Scarlet?

What's so brilliant about Eliza is that she gives this appearance of being a very refined Victorian lady and, to some extent, she is that. But she's as scrappy and feisty as any woman today and I totally love her for that. She's so resilient and strong spirited and she's making her way in a world where the odds are stacked against her. She has no family to guide her and William is really the only person that can really offer her any hand of support.

That's what's so lovely about their relationship, that whilst they find each other very frustrating, he's always there to lend a hand of guidance which is what's so beautiful about their connection. There's also this sexual chemistry that lies between the two of them, but a lot of respect and they'll always come together at the end of the day.