Rebellion's English actress slams Britain's actions as 'appalling'
Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30
A British actress who made a showstopping entrance into the Rebellion storyline has hit out at her nation's "appalling" treatment of Ireland - and described becoming emotional on set while watching the lead-up to the executions.
Perdita Weeks, who plays Charles Hammond's beautiful wife Vanessa, has said it is "no wonder" students in the UK are not taught the events of 1916 through the school syllabus. "It was a little bit strange as an English woman cast in Rebellion," she said. "I read up about the events and, honestly, I knew very little about it to begin with it. It wasn't something that they cover in English schools at all.
"I mean, it is no wonder we don't really learn about it or why they don't teach it in English schools [given that] it doesn't paint the English in a very good light -but, you know, it's not the first time [something like this has happened]," she said, adding: "The English treatment of the Irish was appalling, it was absolutely appalling."
"My heritage is Scottish and a lot of Irish too. But it is not the first time the English thought they could just rule the way they wanted and could just go around doing as they pleased to smaller, weaker nations - but that is history," she said. "I didn't feel in any way excluded on set. It was just incredibly interesting and I am glad I got to be a part of it."
Ms Weeks, who learned about the events from other cast members, described how her fellow actors off camera were stopped in their tracks as they watched as the climatic scene unfold.
"I was hanging around waiting and they were shooting the scene where all of the rebels are being marched through Dublin to prison and, essentially, to firing squads. It was the saddest moment… it was incredibly emotional and all of us, who were not in the scene, just stood around watching it and became emotional.
"I mean, there were men, women, very young guys, all marched out and it was incredibly poignant and very, very emotional to watch. It was absolutely horrendous."
Perdita - who comes from a theatrical family - described how debates and discussions about the events surrounding 1916 were struck up between takes and many cast members shared anecdotes and their own family histories.
Once described as having the greatest television sex scene - for her role in Flight of the Storks - Perdita said her romantic moments in Rebellion were a far cry from being steamy.
In one of the lighter moments on set, the actress says that the kisses between her and on-screen husband Charles - played by Tom Turner - created some hairy moments.
"There is a scene coming up and although Tom had a moustache naturally, it was enhanced by hair and make-up every single day, and when one had to kiss Tom Turner, one would end up with hairs between one's teeth," she laughed.
"The first time we had a romantic scene together, I didn't realise his moustache wasn't entirely real and then midway through the scene, I thought, 'Oh my word, what on earth is that in my mouth?' and it was, in fact, his moustache."
The five-part drama series, the second episode of which airs on RTE One tonight, attracted an average of 619,000 viewers and a 41pc share of the available audience tuned in to watch the first hour-long episode. An additional 45,000 watched the first episode of Rebellion on RTÉ One+1 and 48,650 on RTÉ Player.
Starring Charlie Murphy, Ruth Bradley, Sarah Greene and Brian Gleeson, the plot covers Easter 1916 as seen through the eyes of a group of friends from Dublin, Belfast and London as they play vital and conflicting roles in the narrative of Ireland's independence.