Orla Brady set to play convict sent to Australia in new BBC 2 drama 'Banished'
Irish actress Orla Brady is to star in a new BBC2 drama about the first convicts sent Down Under.
Set in 1788, Banished tells the story of the first convicts exiled from the UK to Australia on the First Fleet.
The drama follows the criminals as they begin their new lives in a penal colony in New South Wales.
Brady (53) plays the part of Anne Meredith – a woman sent to Oz after she was caught stealing.
The series was shot on location in Australia and Brady says she has plenty of fond memories from her time there.
“There are so many [highlights] like paddle-boarding in the harbour before work,” she said.
“Also volleyball games on the beach. It was ‘establishment’ versus ‘convicts’.
“So soldiers, housekeepers, governors, made up one volleyball team and all the convicts [were] the other,” she explained.
“Obviously the convicts won – we’re tougher!”
The series has been penned by acclaimed writer Jimmy McGovern who previously worked on Cracker. “Jimmy writes these great female characters,” Brady said. “He seems to be inside the mind and heart of a woman and know what’s going on in there.”
The seven-part series also stars MyAnna Buring – best known for playing Long Susan in Ripper Street and maid Enda Braithwaite in Downton Abbey.
“I play Elizabeth, a Cockney girl,” Buring said. “I am the filthiest on set. They’ve made me look bloody and bruised so I am a proper convict.”
It’s been a busy few months for the actress. She also plays iconic Irish designer Eileen Gray in The Price of Desire.
Singer songwriter Alanis Morissette plays the part of Gray’s lover Marisa Damia. The film will be screened as part of this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival which runs from March 19-29.
“Eileen was never celebrated in her lifetime,” Brady said. “Yet here was a woman who was a true modernist.”
Brady will also feature in martial arts drama Badlands from US network AMC.
The series is based on the Chinese tale Journey to the West and follows a ruthless warrior and a young boy who “take a dangerous journey together”.