Lesley Manville has revealed that she was on standby for filming on Netflixs The Crown while shooting new BBC drama Sherwood. Manville plays Julie Jackson in the series wife of Gary Alun Armstrong who is murdered. Gary was a miner who joined the strike in the 1980s and as shown in the series he makes sure everyone knows it. His death comes after he discovers a shocking betrayal within the community.
Julies loyalty towards her husband has led to an estrangement from her sister Cathy played by Claire Rushbrook whose own husband was on the other side of the picket line. Speaking about taking on her latest role Manville showed her appreciation for the team behind Sherwood who supported her commitment to both of her ongoing projects. The cast that they were assembling was amazing really – really amazing she explains. I didnt know Lewis Arnold our director but Id watched Time which is extraordinary.
Full marks to them they hung out for me because I was on first call to The Crown.
The actress explained that the nature of the pandemic and filming schedules for The Crown in which she will play Princess Margaret in the season 5 meant that she could have had to drop out of shooting for Sherwood at short notice. Having me do it came with a massive risk for the team because they knew that any day especially in the COVID climate I could ring and say Oh I cant get there tomorrow The Crown need me. It was a great act of faith.
Plus I was doing.
The Crown playing Princess Margaret. Id done Magpie Murders playing a nice middleclass woman and I thought that this was the time to play somebody whos not just a socially different class but somebody whos got a kind of unashamed rawness about her. Somebody who is just very open and honest. Sherwood is set in Nottinghamshire and is inspired by real events. Discussing Sherwoods backdrop of the miners strike Manville recalled that she witnessed the era firsthand. Around the time of the strike in the 80s I was asked to join a group of writers and actresses all women to workshop a play for the Royal Court Theatre in London about the women behind pit closures she said.
So I actually went to Barnsley age 23. We got up and went to a picket line. It was horses and riot shields and police screaming and shouting miners. Im not good with any sort of aggression and confrontation and potential violence I can argue but as soon as things become physical something shuts down in me. When we went to this picket line it was serious. I really lost my bottle and I had to leave. And I suppose because of that experience when I was in my twenties with the strike I thought that I know this world a little bit and what a challenge it will be to play [Julie].