Things are going well for Miranda Raison. Since graduating from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art around a decade ago she has never had to work outside of acting. A rare thing indeed. After early roles in Wood Allen’s Match Point and (say it in hushed tones) Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo, she landed the role of Jo Portman in Spooks and the rest as they say, well, the rest as they say is apparently just the beginning.
As well as roles in Sky1’s Sinbad and last year in the Oscar nominated My Week With Marilyn, tonight she’ll be appearing in a lead role in series 2 of BBC2’s cop-comedy Vexed. HeyUGuys caught up with her to discuss it.
With things going so well for Miranda, especially in the world of film, it seems natural to wonder why it is she has taken a lead role in a TV show at this point in her career. Well apparently Vexed appealed to her for a number of reasons, “well I’d met Toby [Stephens - her co-star] before and whilst I hadn’t seen the show before I loved the script. It’s safe to say I really wanted to do it”. Whilst she hadn’t seen the show before it seems that she was won over anyway, and on paper why wouldn’t she be? Toby Stephens who plays D.I. Jack Armstrong to her D.I. Georgina Dixon is an ex-Bond villain and veteran of both screen and stage. Further than this series creator Howard Overman is the brains behind E4 sensation Misfits.
Vexed is primarily a buddy cop drama and comedy revolving around Stephens’ arrogant, narcissistic lead and his diametrically opposed partner. In the first series the straight-woman as it were was played by Lucy Punch and now Miranda steps into the breach.
“What I liked about Vexed was that it’s hard to quantify. Whilst I haven’t done much comedy in the past I liked that the characters don’t know they’re funny. They play the humour straight, in a similar way to Community which I love. Essentially I liked that I didn’t have to be funny but that the comedy kind of comes form the characters, not the performances.”
In playing the straight-woman to Stephens’ outrageously obnoxious lead there are bound to be similarities between Miranda’s D.I. Dixon and Lucy Punch’s D.I. Bishop from the first series. When asked about this Raison freely and sincerely states that she thinks that “Lucy is absolutely brilliant” but that she thinks she definitely bring something new to the table.
“D.I. Georgina Dixon has no life. Her entire life revolves around work. She’s like the school prefect who never matured.” Watching the first episode which airs tonight at 9pm on BBC2 it’s hard to disagree. A perfectionist and smug with it too, she often finds that her hubris often gets in the way of the actual job at hand. “If she had an off switch she’d be better at her job. Her flaws she would consider her strengths”.
Worse than her though is Stephens’ Armstrong who I spent the entire first episode wanting to slowly dip into a vat of acid. Well, wanting to punch anyway. Raison took issue with my target though plumping for Dixon who she says “is probably more punchable”. If after tonight’s episode the characters wind you up she says not to worry “they’re meant to be frustrating,” ominously adding that “by episode 4 they [the audience] will want to wring my neck.”
Nevertheless, throughout you get the feeling that there could be something between the two. Maybe they’ll learn something from each other (of course) and maybe, just maybe, there might be some romance. When relentlessly harangued by me on the issue Raison remains tight lipped about any potential love, “on the one hand the audience wants a snog and on the other the viewer doesn’t actually want that.” It’s a tight rope that the series doesn’t sound scared of walking, and let’s face it, it’s kind of the point.
On her real life friendship with Stephens Raison cited him as being “a terrible giggler”, so while he stands there buffooning around, stoney faced and arrogantly resolute, spare a thought for the crew who had to put up with take after take of corpsing and laughter. And after all is that not what everyone is here for? A bit of fun.
By the sounds of things the delightful and extremely accommodating Miranda Raison and her colleagues had a lot of fun making Vexed. Whether or not it transfers into a great audience experience is yet to be seen. Why not see for yourself tonight? It certainly won’t be boring.