Monday, December 24, 2012

A Very Marley Christmas

Lizzie Hopley reveals what's in store in her Christmas Dark Shadows adventure

So, what’s A Collinwood Christmas all about?
It’s a spooky but hopefully heart-warming story featuring two loners – Jamison Collins and gypsy Ivanka Romano. Jamison is a virtual recluse, shut up in Collinwood with his two children following his wife’s death. Ivanka is a gypsy – childless, spurned by her tribe and living in the Old House. The story pitches the two against each other – first as reluctant neighbours, then as a desperate team to fight an invasion of ghosts from the past, present and future.

What was the inspiration behind it?
To give us a nice Christmassy feel, the story draws from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Jamison is our Scrooge figure, a stubborn man who has cut himself off from family and friends but whose miserly heart is nevertheless injured and crying out for love. Through Ivanka’s reluctant attempt to redeem him, he is forced to confront his past, present and future. However, her gypsy spells conjure up much more than they bargained for! Moo-ha-haaaaa!!

You also star in the audio as Ivanka Romano. What can you tell us about her?
I’ve adored Ivanka since playing her in the wondrous The Blind Painter and The Crimson Pearl. She’s headstrong, funny and impulsive and nothing is ever dull when she’s around. Fortunately, the great minds behind the Dark Shadows audio series were keen for her and her wild accent to return! In this story, we get right to the heart of the woman and her effect on Jamison is deeply intriguing…

Are you a fan of Dark Shadows the television series?
I adore the TV series! The acting is far braver than you realise at times. It’s good old-fashioned heightened gothic frolicking, and who doesn’t love that? It’s an honour to be a part of the legend – there’s plenty of heightened gothic frolicking in our audios too. Each audio adventure is a great little horror story with some fabulous plots, ideas and ingenious new characters encountering old favourites. A perfect blend.

You’ve done a lot of work for Big Finish over the years. What else have you got coming up?
I’m lucky to be part of the Christmas telly scheduling this year as I’ll be appearing in the Call the Midwife Christmas special. I think we’re head to head with Downton Abbey so it’ll be fun to be part of the viewing battle. As long as I get more hits than the Queen’s speech, I’ll be happy. I’ll also be filming for Luther this winter – a very different beast to Dark Shadows so it keeps me on my toes!

(This interview was taken from issue 46 of VORTEX, published by BIG FINISH. A COLLINWOOD CHRISTMAS is now available as an MP3 download and on CD from the company's website.)

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