Amber Rose Revah has landed many a young actress’s dream gig. Her recent turn in BBC1’s creepy new crime drama What Remains is opposite none other than David Threlfall, the man behind Shameless lout Frank Gallagher. In this gruesome four-parter written by Inside Men’s Tony Basgallop, she plays Vidya Khan – a heavily pregnant young woman who moves into a building of flats with her partner, Michael (Russell Tovey).
But as they move in, Vidya and Michael are the first people to discover the body of Melissa, the owner of the flat above them who has been lying dead in the attic for over two years. Stuck at home with plenty of time on her hands, Vidya becomes embroiled in the murder investigation, aiding Threlfall’s soon-to-be-retired policeman, Len Harper as he unpicks the motives of the building’s various residents.
RadioTimes.com caught up with Amber to hear all about playing opposite David Threlfall, dodging terrible scripts and the feeling of isolation within our communities…
Tell us about your character, Vidya? How does she get involved with Len’s work?
She’s a young Pakistani girl who moves into the block of flats and she’s eight months pregnant. She’s moved in with Michael, her boyfriend, and they basically shake everything up in the flat. They’re a bit of a catalyst for all the little secrets and everything that come out. So she teams up with Len who’s a little bit older, who’s very different from her, but they both find this in common – this streak of finding out what’s happened upstairs – and they team up together and go on a little journey of their own.
How would you describe Vidya’s relationship with Len?
It’s a really nice relationship. It’s obviously very platonic and at first it starts off quite awkwardly because they’re such different characters from such different backgrounds – culturally, age, where they’re at in their lives. So it’s really nice because you have these two parallels but they also come together and from the start of episode one until the end their relationship is continuously growing. Because they both have this determination of finding out what happened, they end up really jelling. I think also what brings the two of them together is the fact that they’re both such good people – they’re both the epicentre of this piece; they both have this drive to find the truth.
How did you find working with David?
Brilliant. We didn’t see him until his first day on set because he was directing the last episode of Shameless so we had the weekend and then we started on Monday. He wasn’t at the read-through, I didn’t see him at any of the fittings. It was interesting because you imagine it and really piece it in your head and a whole other thing comes on top of it when you see who you’re working with and they bring this whole other energy to it. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to work with him. With my character’s dynamic, the way I’m trying to portray her and the way he’s portraying Len are so contrasting, but then you see how they work together. I love that and I find that with Russ as well. They’re so different – mannerisms, the way they speak, everything – but you can really see that they love each other.
What first attracted you to the role?
Everything. My agent first called me and she said, “Amber, I’ve got a brilliant script.” And you read a lot of s**t scripts and then you still go and audition with a lot s**t scripts. They’re few and far between where you’ve got such a brilliant script, where it’s a brown actress or non-white actress playing one of the leads in it.
Does What Remains feel different from other crime dramas?
Oh completely, because I wouldn’t even classify it as crime drama. I wouldn’t even know what I’d call it – it’s got elements of crime, elements of thriller, it’s a drama, it’s got elements of comedy. It has so much in it – I don’t think it can be pigeonholed into one genre.
How does it reflect on the loss of community?
You’ve got so many people, you’ve got so many things, you’ve got so much great stuff to do, but it can be so lonely – so, so lonely. And I loved how in the script you really get the sense of that kind of isolation.
What Remains begins on Sunday at 9:00pm on BBC1