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Ashley Jensen - The Reckoning interview

Ashley Jensen as Sally in The Reckoning

Ashley Jensen stars in a new two-part ITV drama called The Reckoning about a single mother Sally who’s bequeathed £5 million if she kills someone who “deserves to die”. Here she talks about taking a serious role and her co-star Max Beesley’s driving.

Q. You’re more well-known for your comic roles what attracted you top playing Sally in The Reckoning?
Ashley Jensen:
“I decided I wanted to do a drama about finding the truth in a situation, rather than a truth and a joke and a laugh in a situation. It’s a very high concept drama as the idea of the story is two very ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. Hopefully part of the suspense will be with the audience, who will be thinking: ‘Oh no! What would I do in that situation?’

“Sally is a person who, probably like most of Britain, has never held a gun before. She has never been given £5 million before, she has never been on the run from anyone, she has never had to chase anyone, and neither has she ever been in a life or death situation in that manner before.”

Q. Did being a mum yourself have an impact on how you played her?
Ashley Jensen:
“Her daughter Amanda is the reason Sally is even remotely tempted to become involved in this. Some of the scenes were quite painful to do because, as an actor, you do use your imagination and put yourself into these situations. I don’t know how differently I would have played it, if I had not been a mum.”

Q. The role of Sally is hardly glamorous and has quite minimal look did you mind dressing down for a change?
Ashley Jensen:
“I didn’t think the character would get up and put a wee bit of foundation and mascara on. The script, as well as the make-up and the costumes are sparse. The locations include lonely petrol stations at night, and there aren’t hoards of extras. It’s two little people in this big world, having to make this massive choice. They appear to be insignificant people with massive problems to deal with. It’s all about feeling isolated and lonely within their own little bubble. I loved what they did with the design of the buildings; there was a lot of perspective going off into the distance. It was very well designed I thought.”

Q. Max Beesley plays your boyfriend Mark in The Reckoningcan you tell us a bit about him and why he encourages you to investigate how to get the money?
Ashley Jensen:
“Mark was a policeman and he is now a security guard after being caught in an arson attack. He’s had his own issues to deal with. Mark thinks life isn’t fair. He was suspended from the police force so his livelihood has gone and to be patrolling as a security guard in a shopping centre is not what he wants to do with his life.”

Q. The drama also has some fast car chase scenes with Max at the wheel – what was that like?
Ashley Jensen:
“Some actors love doing stunt sequences and Max is one of those actors. He was really good at it and I never felt unsafe in the car with him!”

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