Interview with Mathew Baynton who plays Elliot Ward in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Interview with Mathew Baynton who plays Elliot Ward in A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

PHOTO: Elliot Ward (Mathew Baynton). (Image: BBC/Moonage Pictures)

June 21, 2024 – Interview with Mathew Baynton who plays Elliot Ward in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Who is Elliot Ward?

Elliot Ward is Pip’s English teacher and Cara and Naomi’s father. He believes in Pip and wants to help her do well, and he’s attempting to be everything to his girls after they lost their mother. He is trying to hold things together for their sake. It is that complexity that drew me to the role.

What is A Good Girls Guide To Murder about?

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is about an ambitious and curious young student, Pip, who decides to re-open an old case in which Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh, who then killed himself. She suspects the police might have got it wrong. In doing so Pip re-opens old wounds in the community and puts herself in danger in the process. What’s cool about it and what really sets it apart is that it’s as much a coming of age story as it is a murder investigation. There’s this procedural element, but the protagonist is not a professional detective and not even fully an adult yet, she’s someone emerging into adulthood and going through all of the things that you go through at that age. This young woman, Pip, is facing adulthood and all the excitement and terror that comes with it. New relationships, new experiences, both thrilling and scary. It’s as much about the realisation that people can hurt you, and that as you go out into the world, you need to be careful who you trust.

How would you describe the dynamic between Elliot and his children, particularly Cara?

You get the feeling that he’s really genuinely trying to keep a happy house. He’s conscious of the loss that they’ve all been through, that he loves his daughters and that he wants them to be happy. It doesn’t fully delve into how open they are with each other about discussing that grief and so maybe there’s more than meets the eye. I feel like he tries to be light with them and there’s a bit of humour in the way that they interact with each other.

Had you read the book before you got the role of Elliot?

I hadn’t but as soon as I was on board I started seeing it everywhere and everyone I spoke to who had teenage kids had read it so I quickly realised what a big deal it was. Once I got the part I read the book in order to find out how it ends, because when I was offered the role, there were only scripts for the first few episodes and I was desperate to find out what happened. Does Pip find the truth? Where does my character end up, and where do his daughters end up? I wanted to know more. It was exciting as Holly had written a character with real depth and shades, which Poppy, Dolly and the team translated perfectly to the script and then to screen.

What can we expect from the other casting?

For me I am most interested in Pip, Cara and their group of friends because I think groups of characters can often end up mirroring that. I was watching this bunch of people all become and behave like a really tight group of friends.

What was it like working with Dolly Wells (Director)?

I had worked with Dolly Wells years ago as an actor in Spy and was very excited to work with her as a director. It was a privilege to see her supporting this young cast, and fostering a really positive atmosphere in front of camera, one that ensured we could all do our best work.

What are you most excited for the fans to see?

With a book, it’s your own imaginative world, you picture everything in your head and you get really close relationships with those characters. There can be a bit of a process when you get a TV or film version of something where you have to let go of your imagination and then take on the idea, oh, that’s what that character looks like. I didn’t picture them that way, or whatever. So hopefully there’s added dimension to this and people can still go away and enjoy the books and their images in their head, too.


Complete Series Paperback Boxed Set available here:

It’s the Summer holidays, but teenager Pip Fitz-Amobi is focused on an unusual school research project. In Little Kilton five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell went missing. Her boyfriend Sal Singh sent a text confessing to the murder before being found dead, seemingly taking his own life. Andie’s body was never found. Case closed. However, Pip isn’t so sure and is determined to prove Sal’s innocence.

The six-part series is based on Holly Jackson’s smash hit novels and stars Emma Myers (Wednesday), Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, A Spy Among Friends), Gary Beadle (Rye Lane, Small Axe), Mathew Baynton (Ghosts, Wonka) and newcomer Zain Iqbal.

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was filmed in and around Somerset, England. Commissioned by the BBC, the series is produced by Moonage Pictures (The Pursuit of Love, The Gentlemen, Bodies) in co-production with ZDFneo and Netflix.

All episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from Monday 1 July.

BBC iPlayer

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