Traces: Laurie Brett interview

Scottish actress Laurie is best known for her roles as Jane Beale in EastEnders and Christine Mulgrew in Waterloo Road, as well as winning the celebrity edition of BBC One's reality show, All Together Now.

Laurie Brett plays Izzy Alessi

Laurie Brett plays Izzy Alessi

Izzy Alessi is the mother of Emma’s childhood friend Skye, whose former life has taken a toll.

Can you tell us a bit about your character Izzy?

Izzy was a party animal back in the day and had a lot of fun, but that has kind of caught up with her, I think she probably did a bit too much. She was a heroin addict and kind of lost everything, but then she's a fighter, she got it back and she got her daughter back, but unfortunately her health is not the greatest.

When you were sent the scripts what grabbed your attention the most?

I was just drawn to it because I'd not done anything like that for quite some time and certainly not in television. I just felt that I understood her, who she was and the struggle that she'd had.

When getting into character, what sort of research do you like to do?

Research is 90% of it, and so obviously with the illness and that you have to research the illness. I always need a little signature tune for any character that I'm playing, and it doesn't necessarily have to be anything to do with the show but for me it was Fluffy White Clouds, The Orb, it ticks in my head when I'm thinking about Izzy, and she named her daughter Skye after it.

What have you most enjoyed about filming?

I just love being in a filming environment, I love the crew and how everybody sort of comes together and, you know, costume, makeup, all the departments, lighting, sound, etc. You all come together on that day and you commit something to camera forever. And I just really enjoy that team effort with everybody, love that feeling. We're like a circus that comes to town and then we go away again, it's great.

Why are people so enthusiastic about crime drama?

For me, I grew up with it, you know, and I remember my mum and dad loving cop shows and crime dramas and I think it's actually a part of our culture. We want to know whodunnit, we all want to sit there going, 'it's that person,' especially if you get it right you go, 'see, I knew that,' and it's a talking point for any family or people watching it, especially when you get really into it. And I think that's what draws people to it, a bit of guess work, I think it brings out the detective in everyone.

Traces has an amazing female line-up and is written by and produced by women too. Do you think this is a turning point in the future of women in crime drama?

I should hope so, I think it's a turning point but equally I hope it's a proper turning point and not tokenism just for now. I just think the whole movement towards equality is a great thing in every which way of life.

Can you describe Traces in one sentence?

Traces is a gritty, forensic, crime drama that's not for the fainthearted, and my eight-year-old will certainly not be watching it!