Former Corrie and Strictly star Natalie Gumede tells Soaplife all about her femme fatale role in new ITV blockbuster, Jekyll and Hyde…
With her magnificent mane of curls and fabulous figure, former Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede is one fit-looking female. But drape that body of hers in clingy velvet and tame the mane into a sleek 1930s up-do, and the girl is glamour personified.
Natalie’s currently setting the screen alight playing femme fatale Isabella Charming in ITV’s Jekyll and Hyde – and she’s loving every second! “I feel rather like a 1930s Bond Girl,” says Natalie. “That’s how I see Bella. She’s a strong, feisty woman in what was very much a man’s world. She’s the landlady of the Empire drinking hall, which provides a façade for her criminal activities. She’s a good-time girl, who’s very glam. But she can look after herself. She throws a mean punch.”
How chuffed are you to be starring in ITV’s biggest Sunday teatime show in years?
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. When I heard about the drama being commissioned, I never thought it would be something I’d even get to audition for. When I did, I had every digit crossed because I wanted the part of Bella so much. She’s such an amazing character to play, plus the scripts are written by Charlie Higson.”
The guy from The Fast Show and the author of the young James Bond stories?
“That’s him. Charlie’s a genius. I grew up loving The Fast Show. It’s all I’ve been able to do not to be that person who keeps quoting back all the different catchphrases to him. But I’ve held back. I love his brand of humour – and humour’s important in Jekyll and Hyde because there’s a lot of high drama as well. There’s a slight campness to Bella, which I love indulging in. When I get a comedy line, I have little fist pump. It’s like, ‘Yes!’.”
You also get to snog the gorgeous Tom Bateman, who plays both Jekyll and Hyde…
“Tom’s so charismatic, both as an actor and a person. He’s incredibly magnetic as Hyde – and Bella normally sees him as Hyde rather than Jekyll. Most of my scenes are with Tom and we’ve got a lovely chemistry. It’s a pleasure working with him.”
Are you also loving the über-glam 1930s clothes?
“Yes. Each character has an iconic outfit, but Bella has a few more in addition to her iconic green velvet gown. Most of my costumes have jewels and diamonds incorporated. I’m very lucky. They’ve given me that 1930s glamour element and dressed me up beautifully. Always, with any character you’re playing, it really helps if you have the right shoes and the right outfits. It changes your walk, your attitude. As soon as I walked on set dressed as Bella, I felt I was her.”
We can’t let you go without mentioning Coronation Street. Kirsty Soames was a bit of a bad girl like Bella!
“They’re not in the same league. Kirsty was evil! They’re a bit alike in that both have two sides. They’re strong women with something of a dark underbelly. It’s the type of role that suits me. It’s not a reflection of me personally. It’s just when, as an actor, you understand your type, then you’re probably going to work a lot more because you can play to your strengths.”
Jekyll and Hyde, ITV.