Former Downton Abbey star Siobhan Finneran plays a nurse who wins the lottery in the new series of BBC1’s The Syndicate. Here, she tells us what she’d spend her own winnings on and her eagerness to return to Benidorm…
Tell us about Mandy, the character you play in The Syndicate?
“Mandy’s doing a good job of coping with her circumstances. Being a nurse, a mother to Becky (Prisoners’ Wives’ Natalie Gavin) and a grandmother are what keep Mandy going every day.”
She also has a rather aggressive husband in Steven (Steven Waddington), doesn’t she?
“Yes! And all of those other things provide a distraction. If she had nothing but Steve to deal with, I’m not sure she’d get out of bed.”
At the lottery press conference, Mandy tells reporters she might buy herself a house. Is she surprised at herself for saying this?
“Yes, it shocks her, but it’s the first thing that comes into her head. It’s a completely innocent comment – it’s only when viewers find out what’s really happening at home that that one sentence becomes so powerful.”
That’s when we discover that Steve’s anger has reached boiling point…
“That’s right. None of Mandy’s friends would suspect she has problems at home. This lottery win gives her a chance to escape – it’s just whether she’s brave enough to open the door and walk through it.”
Can you give us any hints about what we can expect for Mandy as the series progresses?
“Well, she goes through a lot in the first episode, but it’s actually quite mild compared to what she goes through the rest of the series…”
On a lighter note, what would you do if you ever won the lottery?
“I’d take my family off to see the world and I’d buy lots of shoes. There’s no way you’d keep me out of the shops!”
Are you looking forward to heading back to Benidorm?
“Steve Pemberton and I can’t stop texting each other at the moment saying how much we can’t wait to be in the sun. The show’s got such a big fan base now, we can’t sneak around the resort as much as we used to without being spotted…. Especially when it’s 6am and you’re dressed up like something out of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. Although in Benidorm that’s not that unusual!”
The Syndicate returns on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC1