Saturday 20 October 2018

Actress Susan to star in new TV thriller as 'EastEnders' couple settle in Ireland

LEADING ROLE: Susan Ateh returned home from Los Angeles to film the BBC drama series ‘Redwater’
LEADING ROLE: Susan Ateh returned home from Los Angeles to film the BBC drama series ‘Redwater’

Jim Gallagher

A little known Irish actress could become a major star thanks to the new EastEnders offshoot Redwater which is about to explode across our TV screens.

Susan Ateh was snapped up for a leading role in the BBC drama set in a tiny Irish coastal village full of dark secrets.

The six-part thriller, which will also be shown on RTE from May 14, revolves around EastEnders characters Kat and Alfie Moon, played by Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie, who arrive in Ireland to look for her long lost son.

Susan, 38, plays Bernie Kelly, a mother of two who is expecting her third child with garda husband Andrew, played by Love/Hate star Peter Campion.

The drama, which was filmed in Dunmore East, Co Waterford, and Dublin, also stars heavyweights Fionnula Flanagan, Ian McElhinney, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Angeline Ball and Stanley Townsend.

Susan said she was thrilled to win a part in such a big production, directed by Jesper W. Nielsen who won worldwide acclaim for the Danish series Borgen.

"The shoot was amazing and I saw parts of Ireland I had never been to before," said Susan, whose mother Teresa is from Monaghan and father is from Cameroon, West Africa.

"The locations were absolutely stunning and it was so nice to be home and actually working. Dunmore East had incredible weather and I felt very blessed to be home and working - and working with very, very gifted actors and a great crew."

Susan's previous TV experience included several episodes of Fair City playing a lapdancer, Holby City and The Clinic opposite heart-throb Aiden Turner. In 2008 she starred in RTE's Hollywood Trials, a fly-on-the-wall series which followed 10 would-be Irish stars as they tried to launch their careers in Tinseltown.

They included former Boyzone star Mikey Graham, Chris Newman who now plays a corrupt cop in Red Rock and stylist Holly White.

That resulted in Susan, who trained in drama at Dublin's DIT Rathmines, getting an American agent, Vincent Cirrincione, who looks after A-lister Halle Berry. Susan moved to Los Angeles in 2010.

She said a friend saw an advert by Redwater producers looking for a mixed race actress for a leading role.

"I sent in an audition tape and 10 days later I was invited to interview on Skype with the director, producers and casting director.

"A few days later I got the part. I was delighted. It is the biggest thing I've done and a great opportunity."

When she accepted the part she did not know the story or who was in it.

"When I read the script I was blown away. I thought it was incredible and it was such an interesting plot with so many great characters popping out of the script.

"When I saw the rest of the cast I thought 'oh my God!' I was so excited.

"I hope it will do really well. It looks beautifully shot. They had great writers and everyone worked very hard."

Meanwhile, Susan says she has no plans to leave Los Angeles where she does a lot of theatre work but hopes Redwater will raise her profile.

"I love LA. You can have a really good lifestyle and the weather is very appealing with beautiful sunshine," she says.

"I go hiking, and the beach is just a 20 minute drive.

"There are amazing restaurants and food. I have a nice close knit group of friends which can be hard to get. Once you have a place to live, car, friends, it's a great place to live.

"The only drawback is it's far from home."

Redwater starts on RTÉ One on Sunday, May 14th at 9.30pm

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