Cara Theobold appears as ghost chaser in TV thriller Harry Price
Actress Cara Theobold has promised viewers more than just another period drama as she pulls on her cloche hat to investigate spooky goings-on in ITV's paranormal thriller Harry Price: Ghost Hunter.
Her Downton Abbey training will be put to good use as she plays maid Sarah Grey who will join forces with Rafe Spall to expose fraudulent mediums and debunk the mystery of a haunted house in a one-off drama based on the life of real-life psychic researcher Price.
"I'm going back in time again, in the 1920s. It's obviously a period drama but it's so much about the characters and the dynamics between them all and doing a ghost story was really fun," she said.
The drama is based on Neil Spring's novel The Ghost Hunter and Theobold admitted she loved delving into the history behind the story: women's rights and the suffragette movement, as well as the rise of a charlatan spiritualist movement that offered false comfort to families after the devastating losses of the First World War and that kept ghost-buster Price in business.
She said: "I've did a lot of research about the progression of women's rights because my character would definitely have been part of the suffragette movement and that sort of emancipated, new women vibe. She cuts all her hair off, like I do here. It's not a wig, it's real!"
She added: "What got me really interested is women's rights and how things changed, because Sarah is very opinionated and does not want to be the property of a man as you would if you were married in those days. She's really strong and ballsy and that's fun to see how it manifests itself."
The war leaves its mark on her character too and she struggles to settle into a life of domestic servitude after an exhilarating stint as an ambulance driver - until she meets Price.
"She's a very strong, intelligent, free-thinking modern woman who had an opportunity to do something that mattered and then she had to get a job, she's working class and she supports her mother, so she has to take this job but she's not suited to it. So the chance to go on this adventure with Harry changes her life," Theobold said.
She teased that viewers can see if "maybe her mind changes" as she spends time with Price, a man she initially writes off a "charlatan" and "money-grabbing, false and out to trick people".
But she certainly had enough fun with actor Spall on set, plus Richie Campbell, who plays his associate Albert Ogoro, and Lewis Reeves, who stars as journalist Vernon Wall, that she said signing up to a full series of the show would be a "no-brainer".
"With this it's a no-brainer, if it's something you're passionate about and has characters you love and is something you want to explore further than just the opening script."
And there is no other option for who should continue to play Price.
"Once I read the scripts and I realised (Rafe) was going to be playing Harry Price, it was like, 'Of course, he's perfect for it'," she said. "There's such a fun vibe between Harry and Sally and the journey that their relationship goes on and how they work together, it's really fun to play."
:: Harry Price: Ghost Hunter will air on December 27 on ITV at 9pm.