Following roles in Misfits and Scrotal Recall, Antonia Thomas gets serious in an episode of The Musketeers that deals with racism – and she thinks it will be a history lesson for viewers.
“Period dramas don’t often deal with that sort of thing,” she tells RadioTimes.com. “It feels like a period of history that people maybe don’t know much about, and it’s just been really great to include it in The Musketeers.”
The actress appears as a Moor from Spain who’s kidnapped after her father (Colin Salmon) falls from favour because of his race, and who must be rescued by the French soldiers.
One of the episode’s themes is the different attitudes towards ethnicity in the period. Mixed-race musketeer Porthos (Howard Charles) clashes with Thomas’ character over her expectations of where he belongs – in Africa, instead of with his friends in Paris.
“It’s not [a case of]: let’s just cast these characters ethnically and that’s not historically correct,” Thomas says. “It totally is, and is therefore an interesting history lesson for viewers too.”
She adds: “As an actress, it’s important for me to be in things that tell interesting stories, and historically there are a wealth of interesting stories to tell about race.”
“I feel like the stories are emerging more and more. For example, the film Belle [starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw], which was a really fascinating story that maybe not many people would have thought about or known about.”
Thomas was last seen on our screens in Channel 4 comedy Scrotal Recall (above) as the friend and sometime love interest of lead character Dylan (Johnny Flynn), who had to track down his past sexual partners to inform them of a sexually transmitted disease he might have passed on.
Despite good reviews (including from RadioTimes.com), a second series hasn’t been commissioned, and Thomas and her fellow cast members are in the dark about its future.
“We’re still waiting to hear. As far as I know it was received really well, though I know when it first came out there were all sorts of debates and controversies about the name. But once it had aired we had a really positive response.
“I think there’s loads more of that story to be told. I think that the way it was set up, jumping from the present to the past – structurally, there’s just so much to tell we barely scratched the surface with it.”
The Musketeers is on BBC1 tonight (Friday 16th January) at 9.00pm