A sign that a TV show might have an issue, is when the cast are even reluctant to discuss it. For Netflix series Lovesick, it was resolved with the simply changing of its name – as the show began life as Channel 4’s ever-so-slightly-divisively titled Scrotal Recall. A funny name, certainly, but one that did it few favours. Not least with its cast.
Antonia Thomas, who we had the pleasure of speaking to over the phone, plays Evie, and she explained, “It is a massive relief for me in terms of talking about the show and telling people about the show. It was very difficult when you were sitting there and people were asking you what you were doing and you had to mention something that had scrotal in the title. The looks on people’s faces were just like ‘oh god, things aren’t going well for you’. It was a shame because we really loved the show and you felt like you didn’t want to talk about it because of the name.”
The premise of the first season revolved around Dylan (Johnny Flynn) discovering he had an STI and in each episode revisiting a different former sexual partner to inform them. Now renamed Lovesick, Thomas told us the second season builds satisfyingly on the first.
“What is nice is that everybody is already established. You don’t have to worry about any build up in that way – you’re straight in from where it left off in the first season. It follows the same format but the flashbacks become much more personal. You get to really understand us as people and why we are the way we are in the present day.
“In Evie’s life you learn about things that happened with her family earlier on that means she is a bit more closed off emotionally. It obviously addresses the will-they-won’t-they with Evie and Dylan much more. There’s more of a through line.”
After Channel 4 aired the first season, Netflix picked it up and made it available globally. Much to the delight of the cast, it was Netflix who decided they wanted to press ahead with a second eight-episode series.
“We sort of put it to bed when we heard Channel 4 weren’t doing it. Then there were murmurings about Netflix but we didn’t hold out any hope. And then suddenly they were doing it and it was amazing, ” she continued. “We had such a good time making it and we have genuinely become really good friends. We’re dying to do a third [season], just so we can all go back to Glasgow and have a really lovely time.”
“As much as the time jumps are a blessing in terms of being really fun, they are also a bit of a head fuck. We made this huge, huge timeline for every episode and scene. When you shoot each episode you shoot it out of order too so that made it even more like ‘where am I?’. Though I would say equally that is what made it so fun and so challenging.”
Thomas’s warmth towards her character is obvious. She even refers to Evie like a close friend. “I have such a fondness for Evie. I love playing her. I sometimes wish she would be less stubborn and emotionally closed but she really tries. She is scatty and all over the place but in the present day she is sort of getting her shit together a bit more. I love her. I think she is brilliantly complicated and that is so fun to play.”
Thomas admits that Evie was easier to associate with than the role which made her name, Alisha in Misfits. She hadn’t even graduated when she was cast in the BAFTA-winning E4 show, which she starred in for three series.
“It was amazing. You take a job as an actor because you like the material and the work but you never know if it will be a hit or not as a show. It just happened in a way that was quite incredible – suddenly it has got a BAFTA – and being a part of that set me up. Instantly it gave me a bit of a profile boost and opportunities opened to me.”
Since Misfits, Thomas’s other projects have included the co-lead in Sunshine on Leith, for which she was nominated for an Empire Award for Best Female Newcomer. Away from Lovesick, Thomas is about to star in Avril Russell and Orson Nava’s road-trip thriller Rearview – a film she made some time ago that is finally getting a release in the new year.
Then you’ll see Thomas in medical thriller FirstBorn alongside Poldark’s Luke Norris and veteran Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji). Following that she has some top secret projects up her sleeve whose names she is (frustratingly) unable to mention.
“Hopefully there are lots of things I will be able to talk about quite soon,” she laughed.
LOVESICK season 2 is available now on Netflix