Interview with Lucie Shorthouse (Siobhan Clarke) from new BBC crime series Rebus

Interview with Lucie Shorthouse (Siobhan Clarke) from new BBC crime series Rebus

Series launches May 17


Image: Lucie Shorthouse as Siobhan Clarke

Rebus launches on Friday 17 May. All episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from 6am, with episode one airing on BBC Scotland on Friday 17 May at 10pm and on BBC One on Saturday 18 May at 9:25pm.

Based on the best-selling books by Ian Rankin, Rebus reimagines the iconic character John Rebus (Richard Rankin) as a younger Detective Sergeant, drawn into a violent criminal conflict that turns personal.

Shaken after a violent encounter with gangster Ger Cafferty, Edinburgh detective John Rebus finds himself at a psychological crossroads. At odds with a job increasingly driven by corporate technocrats, involved in a toxic affair he knows he needs to end, and all but supplanted in his daughter’s life by his ex-wife’s wealthy new husband, Rebus begins to wonder if he still has a role to play – either as a family man or a police officer. In a time of divisive politics and national discord, Rebus’ broke, ex-soldier brother Michael desperately crosses the line to provide for his family, and Rebus begins to wonder if the law still has meaning, or if everyone is reverting to an older set of rules? And if so, why shouldn’t Rebus do so too?

What attracted you to this production?

I love crime detective dramas. I also love the fact that everyone has heard of Sir Ian Rankin’s novels and that the Rebus novels stretch back for so long. So to be part of something like that was fantastic. Before the audition, they gave me two episodes that I could read. I was really tired and I thought, “Let me just read like a bit of one just to get a flavour and then I’ll read the rest tomorrow morning.” But I couldn’t put them down – to the point where I got annoyed at the end of episode two. I thought, “I need to get this job. If I don’t, I won’t find out what happens!”

Can you set up your character for us?

Siobhan is new to her position as Detective Constable. She has come up through the accelerated pathway scheme. For people like Rebus, who came via the more traditional route, it’s seen as the easy way. So Siobhan has to prove herself, not only because she’s on the accelerated leadership pathway, but also because she’s a woman in what is still a very male-centric institution. She is a mixed-race woman, which may be a barrier as well.

How does Siobhan fare at first?

She’s been put with Rebus who obviously takes no prisoners, so she’s got her work cut out. But I also think she’s a great match for him. She’s not willing to back down from him but she’s also inspired by him. If she is going to learn from anyone in this job and if she is going to accelerate, then Rebus is the right mentor to put her with. She’s really young and hungry for the job and she’s very curious, too. I think she surprises herself by how much she starts to really love the job.

How would you characterise her relationship with Rebus?

They’re seemingly very different in terms of attitudes, approaches, and who they are in life but they work very, very well together. She’s someone who challenges Rebus in certain things as well. She is slightly intimidated by him, but not willing to compromise the integrity of her job.

How does their partnership evolve?

In episode one, Rebus and Siobhan first meet and then they go on a bit of a rollercoaster and experience some friction and fracture but they learn to really work together. It’s like one of those love-hate, eye-roll relationships. It’s like a family thing where you think, “I love you, but I don’t like you. I would do anything for you, but oh my God, you’re annoying!” It was fun to explore that through the episodes.

How did you find it working with Richard?

He’s just great and we’re both clowns on set. What’s really good about Richard is that he can be so silly off camera, then when the camera is switched on, straightaway, he can just absolutely get into it and be fantastic. He’s really fun to be around, really charismatic, and a great leader as well. As you’re making it, a certain approach comes from the top, and I think Richard’s attitude filtered down, and that’s what made the job so great. That was largely down to him setting a precedent for everybody. Richard is also really open to trying new things. I couldn’t have asked for a better on-screen partner, we just got on very easily. I can’t wait for people to see him in this role.

What do you love about Edinburgh?

From the days of being there at The Fringe, I know there’s something really hopeful about the city. It supports creatives, just in its very essence. It’s a site of exploration for any creative or actor and you feel fully supported by it. You realise how rare that is actually. It’s just beautiful, I love that city.

What did you love most about doing this job?

The camaraderie. Everybody on the job was so sound, so great, so up for it, but did everything with so much humour and warmth. It was honestly such a dreamy job!


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