| 8°C Dublin

Akram had to 'up her game' to prove herself in latest sitcom

SHE worked with award-winning Benedict Cumberbatch in TV phenomenon Sherlock, but Irish actress Yasmine Akram insists The Centre has been the most challenging job of her career so far.

The Drogheda native will be at the forefront of RTE Two's new sitcom when it kicks off tonight at 10pm and Yasmine told the Herald that working with Katherine Lynch, Jennifer Maguire and Norma Sheahan forced her to up her game.


"It was without doubt one of the most challenging jobs I've done because you had to be at your peak every day arriving on set – and you have to keep up a high level of funny," she said.

"But you were allowed to offer a lot of your own opinions and take on scenes too. If you're serious about a long-term career in this business, you need projects that challenge and make you work."

The Centre, which also features Love/Hate's Denise McCormack, follows the daily grind at St Bartholomew's Community Centre in the heart of Fieldstown, a grim local authority housing estate.

Akram plays the role of glamorous murder suspect Amanda Menton – Fieldstown's only local celebrity, having been accused of the murder of her lover, infamous west Dublin gym boss and gangster Max 'The Mandroid' Murphy.

"I'm so proud of the fact that The Centre is an Irish thing and there's a huge love for Irish comedy in the UK at the moment, obviously with Mrs Brown's Boys and Graham Linehan's The Walshes, so I think there is room for it to be seen there.Nobody does humour like us Irish," Akram told the Herald.

The Irish beauty became an overnight sensation in the UK in January when she was chosen to act alongside British superstar Cumberbatch in the third season of BBC's smash-hit drama Sherlock.


Akram played Cumberbatch's on-screen girlfriend Janine and more than eight million viewers watched the couple kiss for the cameras in the series finale. Even though Cumberbatch has starred in a string of big budget hits, Akram said that he was "incredibly nice" on set and was a pleasure to work with.