The Other One. Image shows from L to R: Tess (Rebecca Front), Cathy (Ellie White), Cat (Lauren Socha), Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran).

The Other One (2017)

BBC One and BBC Two sitcom about two sisters who had no idea the other existed. 7 episodes (pilot + 1 series), 2017 - 2020. Stars Ellie White, Lauren Socha, Rebecca Front, Siobhan Finneran and Amit Shah.

The Other One. Image shows from L to R: Tess (Rebecca Front), Cathy (Ellie White), Cat (Lauren Socha), Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran).

The Other One cast interview

The Other One is a comedy about what happens when you discover your dead Dad has a secret family and you now have a brand new sister. Below, we hear from stars Ellie White (Cathy), Lauren Socha (Cat), Rebecca Front (Tess), Siobhan Finneran (Marilyn) and Amit Shah (Marcus)...

What can you tell us about your character?

Ellie: I play Cathy Walcott. She's in her late twenties and works in re-insurance. She's uptight and neurotic but conversely quite naive and never wants to offend. I would say she's a bit of a perfectionist and wants things done her way. She's not exactly street smart, in fact probably the opposite and meeting her new sister Cat certainly opens her eyes to the world beyond her small bubble, which after the death of her dad I think she finds quite cathartic.

Lauren: My character Cat is very funny, very outgoing, she's very bubbly and she's always trying to find a way to lighten up a very bad situation.

Rebecca: Tess is a woman who has always towed the line. She's played it by the rules, and the rules matter to her. So when she discovers, after her husband's untimely death, that he has defied the rules throughout their marriage - by having a whole other family and not telling her- she is understandably furious.

The Other One. Image shows from L to R: Tess (Rebecca Front), Cathy (Ellie White), Cat (Lauren Socha), Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran).

Siobhan: Marilyn is an amazing mix of wonderful and wacky which is why I wanted to play her. She has a sweet kind soul and is the sort of person people would say "hasn't got a bad bone in her body" (if they don't know about Colin!). She is naïve, she is eccentric, she is damaged, she is fragile, and she is fun. She's honest but has lived a life of secrets and lies for years.

She is very confident with her sexuality and makes no excuses for the life she's been living for 30 years and seems to have coped with it extremely well on the surface so people may perceive her as arrogant but she's not arrogant . She has always known the facts and has felt safe, never doubting Colin's feelings for her and has been happy with the arrangement. Once a week Colin was better than no Colin at all for her, she adored him and adores their child Cat .

She is delighted to have Cathy in her life as she brings another connection to Colin and a change for them and is happy to see Cat with a new friend /confidante /sister. Marilyn lives in a medicated bubble most of the time which I think is probably her way of coping with the life she has been living.

Amit: Marcus is engaged to Catherine. He's essentially a good human being but like any human being he has some flaws. We see in the pilot episode that he's made a silly mistake that challenges Cathy's trust in him and, as the series develops, we see him attempt to salvage his relationship as he and Cathy move closer to their wedding day.

How similar to your character are you?

Rebecca: I don't think we're very alike at all. I'm much more of a pushover than Tess, and I like to think I'm a bit more laid back and self-aware. I'm not sure we'd be friends if we met.

Lauren: At the minute, incredibly similar! I do make light of an incredibly bad situation, like I can't dwell on things. I either laugh or cry and I think that's what she's like.

Ellie: A carbon copy... 'Lil joke. Hopefully not too similar, though there are some things I can relate to like serious and deep repression.

Amit: I guess we both try hard to please people. We both look quite similar too.

Siobhan: I don't have Marilyn's ability to live in a bubble, but I can imagine it's the only way she has coped. That and the medication! Too much real life is a struggle for her. Marilyn's belief in the love she shared with Colin is extraordinary considering the circumstances; she's stayed devoted to a man she saw once a week for a few hours who was married to someone else.

She's the only woman I have ever come across who has no body image issues but clearly a full range of other issues, she has just bloody well enjoyed herself regardless and appears to be guilt free, not sure how that's achievable unless living completely in denial.

I think we would all like at times to see the world through Marilyn's heavily medicated rose-tinted specs but as we know that's not always possible and to live a healthy fulfilled life not that practical!

The Other One. Image shows from L to R: Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran), Cat (Lauren Socha), Cathy (Ellie White), Tess (Rebecca Front). Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions.

What drew you to the project?

Amit: The writing is top grade. Hugely funny and then suddenly has the ability to make you really feel and care for the characters. Holly Walsh and Pippa Brown are the dream team as writers and producers. The cast was also a huge draw. I can't imagine four better actors in these roles. Siobhan, Rebecca, Lauren and Ellie are all wonderful in this show.

Rebecca: I loved the premise - it felt like something I hadn't seen before, even though stories like this pop up from time to time in the news. And I thought Holly and Pippa's script was very funny. Plus it's still relatively unusual to do something as female-led as this.

Ellie: Holly's an amazing writer and the script stood out as soon as I read it. I've never played a lead part before, and one who's funny is the absolute cherry on the cake. I think there's such a lovely tone to the whole thing: a silly sitcom with big characters but with real emotion.

Siobhan: I love Holly's writing, it's a joy to read her scripts, I am a big fan so to get to work with her was a treat - I love Motherland. Holly's characters are beautifully written, funny and flawed human beings, so as an actress that's a joy to take on that type of role and to work out how to play it.

Lauren: The casting director sort of pushed me into doing it but I'd just had a baby and I didn't think I could do it, because I hadn't done it for so long and I don't think I am that funny. But I met Pippa at her flat and the more scenes I was reading and the more I improvised it into my own, I really built the character. And I just loved the script, it's wicked.

What's different about this series?

Siobhan: What is slightly different is this is a series led by four women, but who are all dealing with the same thing at the same time - the loss of Colin and to see if there's any reparation or comfort in doing that together. They are united by their grief but also completely divided by that because of the secret life Colin was living. As it's a comedy, we do not see the raw pain that a drama would show dealing with the same situation.

Amit: This series deals with the serious topic of carrying on with life after a loved one has died and also having to deal with a secret that is suddenly revealed after their death. What makes the series unique is that it deals with this topic in a very funny and charming way.

Have you got a favourite scene?

The Other One. Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran).

Siobhan: I enjoyed the dancing to Yes Sir I Can Boogie; I felt like I was in a pop video! Working with the other three actresses was fantastic so all the scenes were memorable. I particularly enjoyed Cathy's and Cat's responses to practically everything, there's a childlike innocence they both have which I find charming, funny and at times very moving. Tess is dealing with shock, grief, anger and every emotion under the sun and I think Rebecca is brilliant at making that heart breaking whilst also hilarious.

Rebecca: There's a moment where Tess and Marcus are sitting in the car singing the Archers' theme tune in harmony and taking it very seriously. I always harmonise when I sing along to music - it's ridiculous, but I can't help myself. So I loved having the chance to do it on screen. I also very much enjoyed my Nordic Walking - though I don't think I quite mastered it.

Amit: It would be hard to pick one but, if I had to, it would be a scene later in the series with Silas Carson who plays my father. He's someone I have admired for years. He's such an instinctive and intelligent actor and it was a pleasure to perform with him.

Ellie: There's a whole part of the last episode where Cat and Cathy take their dad's boat out. They were incredibly fun to film and playful and Cathy is much more free and loose than she has been before, so I hope people will enjoy those scenes. There was also added excitement and jeopardy when we filmed it in seeing whether or not Lauren would fall into the freezing cold water and get the entire shoot shut down.

What was the funniest moment during filming?

Lauren: There was a scene with me and Ellie driving and, instead of saying 'man' she said 'marn', and it doesn't sound funny but at the time it was absolutely hilarious because it was the end of the day and you're tired and anything can make you laugh. I was laughing so much and she was getting quite annoyed at me, which made me laugh even more. Everyone got so pissed off with me and was telling me off, and the more they told me off the more I laughed.

Amit: A memory that I will never forget from this series is the opportunity to hum/sing the tune of The Archers with the one and only Rebecca Front whilst sat in a car. The scene I hope will be very funny but only because we played it incredibly seriously!

Ellie: There was a scene where I was hanging, legs spread from a tree dressed in a monkey costume. It wasn't so much as funny as deeeeeeeeeeeeply humiliating. Still I think the people around me got a lot of laughs from my cries of agony. Looking forward to see how that turns out.

How would you react if you found yourself in this situation?

Rebecca: I'd be utterly devastated. Who wouldn't? But I think I'd get some counselling to help me process it, which Tess could really do with in my opinion.

The Other One. Image shows from L to R: Cathy (Ellie White), Cat (Lauren Socha).

Lauren: I'd love it! I'd love to have a sister, I really would. I'd reach out and do anything I could to reach out and find that. Everyone wants a sister to have as a best mate, and luckily they are.

Ellie: I think I'd find it quite fun to be honest. I've always wanted a sister so it would be interesting. I mean if we didn't get on I would disown her and pretend it never happened, but if we did, great!

How would your character react to lockdown?

Ellie: Probably a few anxiety attacks mixed with super organised shopping trips mixed with extensive sanitising mixed with trying desperately to volunteer for the NHS and making a hundred rainbows for the window. Then a mild breakdown.

Lauren: I think she'd probably be a DJ, have all the street dancing around and socially distancing.

Rebecca: Oh lord...the thought of Cathy and Tess locked down together is pretty grim. There'd be a LOT of passive aggressive post-it notes being left in the kitchen. "If you could see your way to emptying the dishwasher it would be appreciated."

Siobhan: As Marilyn is agoraphobic, lockdown would not bring about many changes to her usual way of life, she would of course have to be with Cat as she is her constant emotional support, best friend, as well as carer. I am not sure the four of them together would rub along too well but I think Marilyn would do her very best to remain positive and kind whilst also discussing intimate details of hers and Colin's relationship with Tess thinking that would maybe help????? ... NO MARILYN !!!

Amit: Marcus would be doing his best to protect Cathy in any way possible. I suspect he would be quite annoying to isolate with but nonetheless he has good intentions.

More The Other One interviews

Published: Friday 5th June 2020