The former Coronation Street star - pictured here back in 2007 at the British Soap Awards - joins the raunchy historical drama for its final series...
Prepare to head through the golden halls of Versailles one more time as this lavish drama, stuffed with sex, scandal and spectacular costumes, goes out with a bang in its third and final series!
As we return to the royal court of Louis XIV, the 17th century French King is more powerful than ever after defeating the Dutch in a grueling war, but his victories come at a cost and new enemies are soon gathering.
George Blagden returns as Louis XIV, with Alexander Vlahos at his side as his Prince Phillippe, but this week’s opening episode is the first appearance for Jeanne, [played by former Coronation Street star Jenny Platt, who was Violet Wilson in the soap] who tells us her character will shake the royal court and the whole of France. We caught up with her to find out more…
WOTV: What can you tell us about Jeanne?
Jenny Platt: “The first two seasons of Versailles have been all about the royal court, but Jeanne and her brother Guillaume (played by Matthew McNulty) are shoemakers from Paris who give us a glimpse of the other side of life in France during Louis’s rein. While the King has been spending money on foreign wars and a luxurious palace, the people are suffering.”
WOTV: She causes a stir when she’s invited to Versailles though?
Jenny Platt: “She certainly does. After her Guillaume’s heroics during the Dutch war, the siblings are made royal shoemakers, but when she visits court Jeanne tells Louis the effect his taxes are having on his people. Louis is shocked because he’s never had anyone talk to him like that before, especially not a humble shoemaker. As the series progresses Jeanne becomes the muse of a popular uprising, which is an early precursor to the French revolution!”
WOTV: This sounds like a great part, you must have been thrilled to get it!
Jenny Platt: “I’m so pleased the writers gave such a rebellious role to a female, because women are usually just trotting along following the men in period dramas. The King was seen as a god, so to question him is so brave. Filming that scene with George was nerve-racking, because it was my first day on the set of the palace with everyone in costume, so it was a bit intimidating.”
WOTV: What are the other themes of this year’s final series?
Jenny Platt: “There’s so much going on! Apart from discontent among the people, there’s a religious rift in Europe and Louis comes under pressure from the Pope to persecute France’s Protestants. There are also whispers spreading through court about a mysterious prisoner whose face is covered by an iron mask. The King has new enemies everywhere!”
WOTV: Were you a fan of the show before you joined the cast?
Jenny Platt: “My mum and dad were massive fans and watched every episode so I caught a bit of it, but I watched it properly when I got an audition. That’s when I realised how much sex was in it and every time I got a script I was terrified, thinking I would have to do something steamy, but it never happened thank god. Having my mum and dad watching that when it was on TV would have been horrific!”
WOTV: What was the atmosphere like during the final days of filming?
Jenny Platt: “I was there on the very final day of filming and was actually in the very final scene ever filmed. It was just incredible, the crew were going nuts, everyone was drinking champagne for the hour before we wrapped!”
WOTV: Do you still watch Coronation Street when you get a chance?
Jenny Platt: “If I’m in and it’s on then I’ll watch it, I don’t keep up with it. It’s weird I think once you’ve been in it, it’s really hard to watch it , it feels like you’re too close to it – but I especially enjoy watching people I know in it and watching their storylines. If I know someone who’s got a big storyline, or I know they’re going to be leaving or anything like that I try and tune in and watch them.”
WOTV: Do you miss it?
Jenny Platt: “I do miss it, mainly the camaraderie of it, it’s just a really lovely show, I had a brilliant time on it, I didn’t at any point think, I don’t want to be here. I loved it and really enjoyed it. When I decided to leave it was nothing to do with not liking the job. It’s brilliant. Sometimes I do miss it but then, I don’t know, it’s a funny one because I’ve got two children, I also know that if I was doing something that was that regular again you just miss out on a lot at home. But I love it, I still think it’s a great show, it’s still my favourite of the soaps without a doubt.”
The third series of Versailles begins tonight on BBC2 at 9pm.
Main pic: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment