Interview: Fearless' Helen McCrory and Jamie Bamber | Virgin Media

Interview: Fearless' Helen McCrory and Jamie Bamber


This Monday night, switch off your phone, plant yourself firmly on the sofa and get ready to sink your teeth into Fearless, ITV’s gripping new thriller that’s going to get everyone talking.

Created by Homeland and 24 writer Patrick Harbinson, Fearless stars Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) as Emma Banville, a human rights lawyer known for defending the defenceless. The legal eagle’s latest case sees her try to prove the innocence of a man convicted of murdering a schoolgirl 14 years ago. But has Banville bitten off more than she can chew?

As she digs deeper in an attempt to clear her client’s name, it seems that powerful forces, like the police and intelligence services, may not want the truth to be uncovered after all.

Co-starring Jamie Bamber (Marcella), Wunmi Mosaku (Silent Witness), comedian John Bishop, Rebecca Callard (Ordinary Lies) and living legend Michael Gambon (Harry Potter), Fearless is ready to plunge viewers headfirst into a world of cover-ups, deceit and one woman’s relentless pursuit for justice.

But don’t just take our word for it. Let McCrory and Bamber tell you all about this juicy new series…

Hello! How did you approach playing your characters in Fearless?

Helen McCrory: I approached Emma as she approaches her work. She’s all about not trusting anything until she’s double-checked it. It’s really nice to play a woman where it’s always the intellectual response, not the emotional one.
Jamie Bamber: My character is a local politician, so I looked at other public figures like Paddy Ashdown. Maybe there’s a bit of Tony Blair in there, too, particularly when he still had the British electorate on his side.

Was there much method acting involved for either of you?

Helen McCrory: Well, one day this guy was chatting to another guy on the London Underground, and I got a feeling that this person was a human rights lawyer. When he got off at the Strand, I ran after him and just said I’m an actress and please can I come and talk to you. So I did. 

Do you expect the drama to be controversial? 

Jamie Bamber: Right now we’re living through a time where storylines in the news are open to conspiracy theories. The stories we’re telling in the UK are the right ones.
Helen McCrory: I don’t think it’s going to be controversial. Emma feels very current. Despite how overwhelming the world is, it’s wonderful to have this character that very quietly puts her head down and still defends and trusts in people. 

What was the mood like on set?  

Jamie Bamber: Two reasons I wanted to do this series were because it features Helen, and Michael Gambon. Both of them are such good fun and so approachable. Unlike some actors you encounter, they’re not selfish at all.
Helen McCrory: I liked the fact that we mixed the cast up – and it really worked. I think the casting is brilliant because there are so many actors in this that are excellent.

Should viewers expect a big shock at the end of the series?

Helen McCrory: I wasn’t shocked, because what’s interesting about Patrick’s writing is that the drama becomes more about the chase than the result. Emma hunts. You feel that she’s most alive when she’s hunting… that’s what she’s about. 

Exciting! Why are crime dramas still so popular?

Jamie Bamber: Dark thrillers like this play on our deepest fears and obsessions. But, while it is dark, there’s also a lot of humanity to it, too.
Helen McCrory: I don’t know – because I don’t normally [like them], and yet I like this!

What issues are you annoyed by at the moment? 

Helen McCrory: I’m interested in why people feel so disenfranchised. I’m involved in various charities; I take art to East and North London schools and try and get involved in a much more useful way.

Finally, are British dramas as good as ever?

Jamie Bamber: I’ve been working for about 20 years in TV drama and I feel like I’m in the right place, and not missing out on something elsewhere. I think it’s the healthiest it’s ever been.
Watch Fearless, Mondays, 9pm, ITV (CH 103) and ITV HD (CH 113). Also available for 7 days in Catch Up > Channels > ITV Hub