Former Coronation Street and EastEnders star Jill Halfpenny swaps her soap past for a supernatural drama set in the past!
How would you describe ITV’s new supernatural drama Lightfields?
”It’s a mystery drama with a supernatural element set in Lightfields farmhouse. There are a lot of eerie and spooky elements, which I think viewers will like. It unfolds as we go from different time periods – 1944, 1975 and 2012. And shows how one event can affect the lives of many different people in many different ways.”
You play Martha Felwood, a farmer’s wife in 1944. What kind of person is she?
“Martha’s what I’d call a very normal, hardworking mother. She’s married to farmer Albert (Sam Hazeldine) and her children are 17-year-old Lucy (Antonia Clark) and 8-year-old Pip. Martha doesn’t have any sides. She’s an untroubled soul and leads a simple life. She’s a woman who is rooted and without vanity.”
All that changes however, after teenage daughter Lucy dies in a suspicious fire. Does Martha suspect her daughter’s been murdered?
“As far as Martha’s concerned, her daughter’s death was a tragic accident – she doesn’t even want to consider that someone might have killed her deliberately. This causes a real friction with her husband Albert. There’s an investigation into their daughter’s death and Martha just wants it over and done with so they can get on with the rest of their lives.”
Lucy’s spirit haunts the house long after her death. Are you a fan of ghost stories?
“Ghost stories like this I am fine with. I also like watching horror but I have to be with someone else when I do. It’s pathetically girlie I know! I have to be careful not to watch something too dark though as I don’t like where it can take my mind.”
Lightfields follows the format of ITV’s successful 2011 drama Marchlands. Did you watch Marchlands, and is this a sequel?
“I hadn’t seen Marchlands so when I heard I was up for the part I asked about and the general vibe from people who’d watch it was that it’s an entertaining, eerie drama. Lightfields isn’t a sequel but it does follow the same format – one house, three different time periods.”
What do you think it the appeal of something like this?
”It’s interesting if you’ve ever moved into a really old house and pulled up the carpet only to find tiles underneath; or taken off wallpaper and see someone’s written on the wall. Of course we know that other people before us have existed completely in this space – but when you actually see their identity stamped there, there’s something amazing about it.”
Why do you think we continue to be thrilled by the supernatural?
“People have always been interested in the supernatural, although sometimes it’s more fashionable than others. I think everyone, from the beginning of time till the end of time, will always be interested in the people who have left us. It’s human nature.”
Do you enjoy doing period drama pieces like this?
”It’s always nice doing period stuff because the transformation is a just a little bit more exiting. More often than not, when you’re doing contemporary stuff you tend to just look like normal. But in something like this, once you have your hair set in rollers and get the costume on, it does feel a little bit more like dress-up! Also, the house in this is fantastic. When I first went on set I wandered around for an hour picking everything up. I love all the kitchen utensils, pottery and ceramics. It’s strangely comforting. I wanted to keep all of it but I couldn’t as it’s all on hire!”
Lightfields begins on Wednesday February 27 at 9pm on ITV.