This article was originally published in Radio Times magazine.


Securing the role of Emma Morley in the new TV adaptation of One Day involved a rigorous audition process that took months, recalls Ambika Mod.

“I totally get why they did it,” she says, “because they’re two massive roles and they needed to cast them right.”

Leo Woodall was the second potential Dexter Mayhew she read with and although, at the time, she was yet to see him in series two of The White Lotus, she remembers that they experienced “a really natural rhythm… a really good vibe”.

Watching the undeniable connection between the two as they film in a studio in Acton, North London, certainly justifies their selection out of the 200 or so other actors who auditioned.

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While Woodall was yet to find fame when he got the part, Mod had appeared in the BBC1 series, This Is Going to Hurt, in which she played student doctor Shruti Acharya.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodard in Netflix's One Day looking into each other's eyes.
Ambika Mod and Leo Woodard in Netflix's One Day. Netflix

“The show felt extremely important,” she tells me. “We filmed it during lockdown, so it was a more crucial time than ever for the NHS. I knew it was going to strike a chord, but I didn’t realise Shruti’s storyline was going to have the effect it did. I feel lucky and proud of that job.”

Mod, now 29, read One Day aged 13 when it first came out in 2009 and has reread it four times since. She also watched the 2011 film when it was released, but has not revisited it for the role.

“I’m very different to Anne Hathaway, so I was never worried about that. Just the fact that I’m not white and I’m getting to play Emma… I don’t think that would have happened ten years ago. That in itself is a way to modernise the story.”

Mod, who grew up in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, to Indian immigrant parents, shares a dry, sense of humour with her character. In fact, the series’ lead writer Nicole Taylor says Mod “gives a damn good script note”.

“I’m a writer and I can’t turn that side of my brain off ever,” Mod says of working with Taylor to find the best version of Emma. “I got to know her so well. I just really, really love Emma and always wanted to do right by her.”

One Day will stream on Netflix from Thursday 8th February. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.


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