Downtown Abbey's Siobhan Finneran talks about her role in the lottery drama The Syndicate
IT'S EASY for an actor to get stuck playing one type of character, forever cast as the ditzy blonde or the bumbling British fool.
Not so for Siobhan Finneran, who is best known for playing two very different types.
On the one hand there's Downton Abbey's Miss O'Brien, the prickly, manipulative and, in Finneran's own words, "thoroughly despicable" lady's maid from the 20th century. On the other, there's Benidorm's Janice, a modern working-class woman.
Downton's Miss O'Brien is in fact no more, as Finneran has left the hugely successful show to pursue other openings. One new character she's chosen to play is nurse Mandy, who stars in the second series of writer Kay Mellor's bittersweet lottery drama, The Syndicate.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The show gained a loyal following during its first series and even caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who is, it's believed, making an American version.
The second focuses on a group of hospital workers who win the lottery.
Finneran's Mandy is a dedicated nurse, mother and grandmother who's stuck in an abusive marriage. She's a strong woman who relies on slipping sleeping pills into her husband's beer for matrimonial peace.
"She's coping with her circumstances and actually doing a really good job. To everybody else – her family and friends at work – there's no problem," says Finneran. "In fact if you were to ask her when you first meet her if she was a victim of domestic abuse she would deny it."
She distracts herself, Finneran says, by focusing on her job and looking after her daughter, who fell pregnant as a teenager and lives at home with her young child.
"All of those things keep her going every day. I don't think she'd get out of bed if she had nothing apart from him to deal with."
But Mandy's marriage isn't the only difficult relationship in her life. Helen is a close friend and colleague of Mandy who paid into the syndicate for many years, dropping out just six months before the win.
The group tell her that she isn't entitled to any of the winnings. As her closest friend in the group, Mandy feels awkward about this decision and their friendship crumbles.
Finneran says that if she found herself in a similar situation, she would have to give the money to her friend. "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't."
Despite becoming a millionaire overnight, Mandy continues working, something Finneran doesn't think she'd do.
"I think I would give up my job. I can understand people saying that they wouldn't and I love my job of course. Maybe I'd just stop for a bit and hope that I could come back."
If she won the lottery, she'd also take her family to see the world: "They haven't seen enough of it. I'd also go on a massive shopping spree and buy a lot of shoes, there's no way you'd get me out of the shops."
The Syndicate begins on BBC One on Tuesday, March 19