Sophie Rundle chats about the brave New World of Sky 1's epic period drama Jamestown
Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, is the setting for Sky1’s epic new historical drama about the lives of the first English settlers in the New World.
The eight-parter follows the fortunes of three women who have left England behind them to start new lives in the 17th-century frontier town.
Alice (Sophie Rundle), a farm girl from Norfolk, discovers that her future husband Henry (Max Beesley) is a brute hardened by frontier life, while rebellious Verity (Niamh Walsh) is betrothed to drunken innkeeper Meredith (Dean Lennox Kelly). Only the upper-crust Jocelyn (Naomi Battrick) appears to have made a good match – she is to marry the Company Recorder Samuel (Gwilym Lee).
“They are thrown into this world, and trying to keep their heads above water,” explained Brief Encounters actress Sophie. “They’re three women in this world dominated by men. There’s this amazing first line in the first episode which says: ‘You are the property of your husbands, and don’t forget that.'”
Alice’s relationship with Henry gets off to a shocking start in this week’s first episode, and the realisation of what sort of man she has tied her future to is a crushing disappointment.
“She’s shocked by him and frightened of him,” explained Sophie. “The reality of shackling yourself to a man you’ve never met before suddenly hits home. I would be terrified to turn up in a new world and be like: ‘That’s the guy!’”
Jamestown looks and feels more like a Western than a period drama and, besides dealing with Henry, Alice also has to face the threats posed by Native American Indians and the local wildlife.
“At one point I get attacked by wolves,” Sophie reveals. “Running through a forest being chased by wolves was the most fun day of my career so far!”
Jamestown premieres on Sky1 on Friday, May 5 at 9pm