Grantchester star, Kacey Ainsworth, plays a woman who has lost her sight in the new series of Moving On. Here she reveals how the story inspired her....
Grantchester and former EastEnders star, Kacey Ainsworth, says she loves a challenge and leapt at the chance to get involved in the new BBC series of Moving On which sees her play a woman called Vicky who lost her sight twenty years ago.
Courageous, determined and with a glass half-full approach, Vicky enjoys a full and happy life, so when she’s offered the chance to take part in a pioneering operation that could restore her vision, she feels she’s got nothing to lose.
The operation proves to be a success and Vicky, who’s happily married to Gary (Ian Kelsey) and has a teenage daughter Janey (Grace Stotesbury), is at first delighted. However she soon discovers having her sight back brings new challenges and problems she could never have anticipated.
What’s on TV speaks to Kacey Ainsworth about Moving On
What’s On TV: What attracted you to the part?
Kacey Ainsworth: “Playing a character who was non-sighted was a big part of the appeal. I love any kind of challenge. Normally a non-sighted role would be played by a non-sighted actor but because Vicky gets her sight back, the producers decided to cast someone who could see. Then I read the script and absolutely loved it and met the writer Mandy Redvers Rowe who was just brilliant. The chance to play a part like this doesn’t come along very often. I’m often drawn to things that are a bit more of a challenge like when I did Call The Midwife and had to play a woman who’d been lobotomised.”
WOTV: What research did you do for this role?
KA: “I spent about three days with Mandy who is blind herself and she talked to me about losing her sight and why she wanted to write this story. It’s such an interesting premise. It’s about looking at how much you have already and in some ways being careful what you wish for. Mandy lost her sight when she was around 16 and is still blind unlike Vicky who gets her sight back. I said to Mandy, ‘Do you wish you could see again?’ And she said she’d thought about all the things she would lose if she could see and that’s basically what the story is about.”
WOTV: What challenges were there for you playing a blind person?
KA: “We didn’t want to have any kind of artificial barriers for me, so we didn’t want to make my eyes blurry or for me to wear glasses, we wanted to show how somebody who is non-sighted can negotiate their lives pretty fantastically just like Mandy does.”
WOTV: What was it like working with the guide dog called Zeb in the drama?
KA: “It was great. He knows exactly what he’s doing. I’d already spent time with Mandy’s guide dog so I got used to what it was like and Mandy showed me all the ways I had to walk and interact with her dog. I spent time at her house, we did cooking, went to the beach, we did normal every day things.”
WOTV: What do you love most about the story?
KA: “That we’re breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions. There is literally nothing you can stop Vicky from doing, just like Mandy herself. You see Vicky living this full and wonderful life. I’ve seen Mandy performing a play and you think ‘How can you do that? You’ve got to walk around on stage?’ She did it with lots of different surfaces on the floor so she knew exactly where she was: Where there’s a will there’s a way. That’s what I really love about Mandy and that’s what I love about this story.”
WOTV: Can you tell us a bit about Vicky’s relationship with her husband Gary in the drama?
KA: “They were childhood sweethearts who married and then Vicky lost her sight. They’ve been managing really well and have a daughter, Janey, who is now a teenager. But when Vicky has the operation and regains her sight, it makes her question everything, her relationship with her daughter, her relationship with Gary. It brings a whole host of setbacks and heartache she could never have imagined.”
WOTV: And of course you also star in Grantchester. Series five has recently finished. What do you like most about being in that?
KA: “Being given the chance to develop a character as each series goes along and also the fact we have such a great relationship across the board between cast, crew and the production company. Everyone is brilliant and it just feels like one big Grantchester family. We film in the same village every year so we know all the locals too. I can never wait to get started and get back into Grantchester so fingers crossed there will be another series.”
WOTV: Do you still keep up with EastEnders?
KA: “No, not really mainly because I’m so busy. Today I’ve been filming in Spain, I’ve come back home for my son’s concert and then I’m flying back out tomorrow morning. I’m literally all over the place so no I don’t keep up with it but I do keep up with the people and the friends I made working there – my EastEnders family the Slaters, Shane Ritchie, Emma Barton, Kelly Shirley and Tamzin Outhwaite. Infact I’ve just done a Radio 4 series with Tamzin.”
WOTV: What else have you got coming up this year?
KA: “I’m doing the thing in Spain that I can’t talk about yet. Then I come back and start a play that goes into London and then we’ll see what’s happening with Grantchester. I’ve got a Shakespeare play at the end of the year and another musical as well. I recently finished Sweeney Todd and there’s a possibility we might be doing more of that so all in all it’s pretty busy but I’m loving it.”
WOTV: And you’ve got a whole new look. We love your blonde hair, it really suits you..
KA: “Ah, thank you. Yes I had it cut short and bleached for Sweeney Todd and then I just decided to keep it. I always wear a wig on Grantchester so that’s fine. I guess Moving On will be the first time people have really seen it on screen, I think it suits Vicky’s character too.”
Moving On begins on Monday and runs throughout next week, the Kacey Ainsworth episode is shown on Tuesday, 1.45pm, BBC1