Blue Lights' Sian Brooke explains personal family inspiration for role
"My dad was in the force for a long time and I think, in some way, that had a huge impact."
New BBC police drama Blue Lights is not only an insight into working in Northern Ireland's police service, it's also a chance for leading actress Siân Brooke to tap into some more personal inspiration for the role.
Starring in the new police drama as Grace Ellis, the former House of the Dragon actress plays a new policing rookie who leaves her stable job as a social worker for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Now, Brooke has explained that she has some family inspiration for her upcoming role, which explores the risks of policing in Belfast.
Chatting to RadioTimes.com and other press at a recent Q&A for Blue Lights, Brooke said: "My dad was in the force for a long time and I think, in some way that had a huge impact because I think that world didn’t seem so alien to me.
"I've seen the sort of backstage of what it is to be a policeman at home. And as a daughter and seeing my dad in uniform, sometimes when you get up close to a police officer, the uniform is sort of intimidating or whatever. And with my dad, that was just like, there'd be a helmet or truncheon around or whatever…"
When talking about how different this role was compared to playing Cressida Dick in 2021 miniseries Stephen, she revealed: "It was a very different approach because obviously with a living person there's a huge sense of responsibility.
"It was something I had to think about, playing her, in terms of just everybody knows her, when you play somebody that's real there’s an immense sense of responsibility, everybody knows what she sounds like."
Brooke continued: "You couldn't get any further apart, like a police officer at the beginning of their career and then somebody who's the head of the Metropolitan Police. Yeah, it was challenging in other ways."
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Blue Lights and Stephen aren't Brooke's only foray into the world of policing, though, as she also stated: "I played a police officer in The Commander years ago, that was probably my fourth or fifth job."
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The new drama not only follows Grace but also two other rookie officers, Annie and Tommy, who are under immense pressure to perform well in their probationary period and also have to contend with the politics of policing in the area.