From jaw-dropping character exits to secret offspring, BBC One thriller Vigil has been packed to the gills with surprising twists… and it’s only just getting started.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, star Anjli Mohindra – who plays medical officer Tiffany Docherty – suggested that there are plenty more big reveals incoming.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but I think the audience is probably starting to feel a sense that they’re getting answers…. but we haven’t even scratched the surface yet,” she hinted.
Upon winning the part of Tiffany “Doc Doc” Docherty, Mohindra initially received just the first three Vigil scripts by writer Tom Edge and so was able to play the same guessing game as the show’s viewers, trying to work out who’s responsible for the murders of Craig Burke (Martin Compston) and Jade Antoniak (Lauren Lyle).
“Everybody fancies themselves as a bit of a detective – I think that’s why we love crime series in this country so much,” she said.
The Vigil cast were informed as to the killer’s identity eventually, however – with Mohindra grateful that the show didn’t ape previous whodunnit Broadchurch, which kept the culprit a secret from the majority of cast until just before filming the reveal. “I feel like maybe the control freak inside me would have a mini meltdown, not having all the facts!”
The latest episode of Vigil – aired on Sunday (5th September) – contained two big reveals pertaining to Mohindra’s character: Docherty was not only having a secret affair with coxswain Elliot Glover (Shaun Evans), but had falsified drug tests to protect her fellow naval officers.
Though she doesn’t condone her character’s actions, Mohindra has a special insight into the unflinching loyalty displayed in the armed forces. “My dad worked for the British Army, so we got posted out to Germany for four years when I was an early teenager. So I was familiar with that sort of sacrifice that people in the military and British Armed Forces take on, where they devote such large slices of their lives to work and their colleagues become their world.”
Vigil started filming in early 2020 but, like so many other TV and film projects, had to pause production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shoot later resumed with new safety protocols in place. “It was frustrating at first, for sure,” Mohindra admitted. “Because you just want to throw yourself into it and it’s like there’s suddenly a glass wall between everybody, so it was frustrating.
“But I think also we were all just pinching ourselves in excitement to be back, because there was a real fear that would this be one of those shows that we just couldn’t afford to go back to. So the frustration was quickly forgotten.”
Though filming didn’t take place on a real submarine, the authentic set created by designer Tom Sayer and his team did replicate the sense of claustrophobia experienced by Suranne Jones’ driven investigator DCI Amy Silva.
“The bunks in the female dorm were tiny,” Mohindra laughed. “I don’t even know how Suranne managed to, like, side-wheel herself into that bunk – I couldn’t have done it and I’m shorter than her! I’m not too bad with small spaces, but that female dorm gave me heart palpitations.”
There wasn’t an intense atmosphere on set, though – far from it. To hear Mohindra tell it, the cast sometimes had difficult keeping a straight face during particularly dramatic scenes. “There’s a scene in the boardroom – that we haven’t seen yet – where we just couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t one person being unprofessional, it was everybody – when one person had just managed to master their giggles, someone else would catch it. If you watch really carefully you might see people trying to subdue their smirks…”
Vigil continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One – read our latest Vigil review and our biggest Vigil questions after episode 3, plus learn more about the Vigil cast, the Vigil theme song and where Vigil is filmed.