Former EastEnders star Kara Tointon speaks about her glamorous ITV drama, The Halcyon…

Former EastEnders star Kara Tointon talks about her glamorous ITV drama, The Halcyon…

You play Betsey Day, Kara… tell us about her.
“Betsey is the singer with the hotel’s big band and so much fun. She’s no-holds-barred and she says whatever she’s thinking. It’s almost a holiday of a role because she’s such a vivacious and very forthcoming person, especially when she’s in the bar and on stage. She’s also often found in the hotel’s bedrooms!”

Tell us more!
“Betsey is definitely not a morning person. She works late, then finds a spare room or a bathroom in the hotel to sleep in. She lives quite nearby, but the hotel’s very beautiful with five stars so she thinks, ‘Why not? I’ll use it where I can!’ The head of housekeeping isn’t a fan of Betsey’s. She finds her randomly in rooms all the time.”

What’s it like when you’re singing in the ballroom and in the big party scenes?
It’s incredible. Some of the songs have been composed especially. Music is a big part of this show and you really feel like you’re in 1940. It’s electric. The musicians are always around. I just soak it all up. I love it so much. And singing is a dream.”

Is it hard to understand how people must have felt with the very real fear of being killed by a bomb?
“It’s really bizarre because you come into The Halcyon and feel so safe in this big haven. But that’s what’s so powerful. The senses are so heightened that people are living each day and perhaps making decisions based on the fact this could be their last one. People lived much more for the moment. Betsey’s attitude is, ‘If I’m going to go, I’m going to go.’”

Why do you think a hotel makes such a great backdrop for a drama?
“There’s something about it. Everyone in the hotel, from the kitchen to the manager’s office, is doing what they do. And so you get this great mix of everything. But they all have to be in this one place. That really makes for great storylines. All the sets are overwhelmingly beautiful, but the kitchen is my favourite. It’s fantastic.”

The Halcyon continues on ITV on Monday nights