The characters in Sky1’s Jamestown may be brooding, conflicted and understandably depressed by their circumstances but in real life the actors couldn’t have been more upbeat. We were lucky enough to meet the cast of Jamestown on set as well as after the preview of episode 1 from series 2 and couldn’t have met a livelier bunch of people – Steven Waddington wanted to sing karaoke as soon as we handed him the microphone which made for a great start.
In the first interview we talk to Naomi Battrick, Ben Starr, Niamh Walsh, Abubakar Salim and Abiola Ogunbiyi. Naomi spoke of how her character Jocelyn had started off protected by her upper-class husband but this changes dramatically after she loses her husband at the beginning of series 2. She gave praise to the incredible set design which helped them feel ‘part of something real;’ a small village was built, equipped with a working well and a tavern.
Ben Starr spoke of how the research he did on the history of Jamestown and the lack of available medicine at the time made him appreciate everything we take for granted today. All of the female cast defended the robust, outspoken nature of the female characters against criticism from critics who said that the women would have taken on more passive roles at the time.
Abiola and Abubakar played Africans who had been kidnapped and taken into slavery and they said it was important to focus on the humanity within the story and praised the writer Bill Gallagher for doing so. Abu also said that ‘although this is a period piece these issues are still relevant today’ and compared the lack of power that slaves had to the restrictions women had upon them at that time.
The second interview was attended by Sophie Rundle, Luke Roskell, Stuart Martin and Steven Waddington. During this interview the actors spent much time singing and spoke of their desire for a musical version of Jamestown! Sophie dismissed any criticism of the feistiness of the female characters with a ‘pollocks’ and mentioned that several historians had defended the forthright attitude of the female characters.
We’re already keen to watch the rest of series 2 after seeing the first episode, which accurately captured the restrictions that women and slaves had on them at the time and the ever-looming threat of the Native Americans (although they would have equally have viewed the residents of Jamestown as a threat). This is a gripping story of survival from a multitude of perspectives and after listening to the cast in the interviews, I can’t wait to watch the rest of series 2.
Jamestown Season 2 airs on Sky One on 9th February.