There are a mere 200 miles between Walford and Wigan, but for Lacey Turner they’re a world apart. Having made her name during six years playing EastEnders' Stacey Slater, Turner has traded soap’s kitchen-sink realism for something unearthly – the lead role in the second series of Bedlam, Sky Living’s supernatural drama.
Since leaving Eastenders in 2010, Turner has had a guest role in Toby Whithouse’s Being Human and played the doctor’s bride in BBC3’s music-and-dance extravaganza Frankenstein’s Wedding… Live in Leeds. This week she appears alongside David Tennant and Vicky McClure in BBC1’s True Love before her next project - ITV2’s supernatural-tinged six-part series Switch - in which she plays a witch in contemporary London.
But Bedlam marks Turner’s first lead role. So what attracted her to the part of Ellie, a paramedic who sees dead people?
“I had such a good time on Being Human because it was so different from what I was used to,” she says. “And Bedlam is completely different to EastEnders. However much I loved working there, and loved playing Stacey, I came into it so young. I was curious to see what else I could do."
“I want to try a bit of everything – supernatural dramas, period dramas, and I really want to do theatre – and then figure out what it is I like.”
Nicola Shindler, executive producer of Bedlam (along with Queer as Folk, Linda Green, Clocking Off, Unforgiven, Exile and Scott & Bailey), says Turner’s talents are manifold: “Lacey is very clever and there’s so much going on when you watch her: she’s likeable, she has such energy and she seems as if she could live next door to you. She’s got that accessibility, while at the same time being extraordinarily beautiful and glamorous.”
According to Bedlam co-creator and writer David Allison, Turner was in mind to play Ellie from the outset: “Lacey brings a real depth to the role. With our new cast (the last series starred Will Young and Casualty’s Charlotte Salt, who returns for a cameo), we were keen on really different characters. Lacey brings both an earthy, grounded feel that’s so important to Ellie, and a real intensity.”
Yet while Turner forges a path of her own, soapland isn’t entirely devoid of her influence. Three months after she departed Walford – her character Stacey escaped “abroad”, having been revealed as Archie’s killer, with nary a nappy for baby Lily or her own bipolar medication – her youngest sister Lily Harvey, 11, arrived as Shenice, daughter of Kat’s troublesome pal Martina. In addition, Daisy Turner, 21, appeared in Hollyoaks last year as the mysterious Jenny.
Does Lacey think that she inspired her sisters to tread the boards behind her? “Maybe I have, because none of them were interested in acting at all, especially Daisy. With Lily, it’s in her blood – she’s a drama queen! – and I think she’ll probably carry it on.”
The Bedlam actress also admits to visiting mediums and clairvoyants, and believes she’s had messages from her late grandmother who died when she was just four.
“I’ve been to see mediums and they’ve said, ‘Your nan’s here’ and sometimes I do think that I’ve been with her. I was at an awards do once, I felt a hand on my shoulder and there was no one there. I don’t know if you make yourself believe it, but I do think she was there.”
Bedlam is perhaps the perfect project for Turner if she’s open to such supernatural possibilities – does she believe in ghosts? “I do, but I’d rather not see one. I’d have a heart attack.”
Bedlam is on every Wednesday at 10:00pm on Sky Living