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She’s Brilliant and British

Vicky McClure close up head shot looking red carpet ready

By Lauren Edwards

To part celebrate the long awaited return of the BBC corrupt cop drama Line of Duty, and because we think she’s pretty awesome, we would like to pay homage to Vicky McClure this week.

Nottingham born McClure first hit our screens in the British film This is England in 2006. The gritty drama from Director Shane Meadows centred around a group of young skinheads in the Midlands in 1983. The story was then serialised on Channel 4 with This is England ’86, This is England ’88 and This is England ’90. McClure won best actress awards at Bafta and at the Royal Television Society for her portrayal of single mother Lol Jenkins in This is England ’86, whom suffered with PTSD following an abusive relationship with her father.

In 2008, McClure was cast in Madonna’s directorial debut comedy film Filth and Wisdom and although it wasn’t well received by critics, McClure described it as whirlwind experience where she was told to address Madonna as ‘M’.

You couldn’t be told off. There was no judgment. It was free, so you had everybody from all walks of life, all ethnicities, all classes. It was the most incredible place because you were judged purely on your talent.”

Aged 14, McClure was offered a place at London’s Italia Conti Academy but had to decline their offer as her parents were unable to afford the tuition fees. Instead, McClure learnt her craft at the Central Junior Television Workshop where she was mentored by fellow actor Samantha Morton and which she described as ‘brilliant’. At aged 15, she was offered a part in the independent film A Room for Romeo Brass, directed by Shane Meadows and thus paving the way for her role in This is England.

From what I hear, they are cutting drama and arts in schools. It’s hard to afford last-minute trips to London for an audition and people are struggling to join drama schools because of their financial situation.

McClure is proud of her working class roots and, after a brief stint living in London, she has set up home back in Nottingham with her fiance, actor and director Jonny Owen. In 2019, the couple set up their own production company aimed at commissioning working-class talent. McClure has spoken out about her interest in creating stories that people can relate to and, to do this, she needs to source directors and actors from a similar world to help understand the narrative and to give opportunities to those that may struggle to find interesting and relevant roles.

I have experienced some right twats, as in men who treat men differently to how they treat me.

The cast of Line of Duty, including McClure, had no idea of how enormous the series would become and she credits the writing talents of Jed Mercurio for much of it’s success. If you follow McClure on Instagram (as I do) you will see that there is a lot of camaraderie between her and the two main actors Martin Compston, who plays Steve Arnott, and Adrian Dunbar, who plays Ted Hastings. The trio have become close over the six seasons and have even appeared together on Celebrity Googlebox.

Following her Nan’s battle with Alzheimer’s, McClure became an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and presented the two part BBC documentary Vicky McClure: Our Dementia Choir. I would urge to watch you this, it is heartfelt and inspiring and left me ugly crying right to the end. McClure has a gentle approach with each person she meets who are dealing with their own battle with courage and dignity.

I love British TV, I love British film. I like where I live and the work I get.

McClure’s quotes are from The Guardian

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