INTERVIEW: Honeysuckle Weeks from Foyle's War

YOU may have seen her on stage in Worthing performing in a musical as a child.

If not, you will definitely know her as Sam, the driver and would-be investigator in the much-loved TV series Foyle's War.

Now Honeysuckle Weeks is heading for Worthing, playing the governess in a stage version of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.

Two children have been mysteriously abandoned by their previous carers and a young woman is appointed as governess in the Victorian era.

The governess sees a strange figure at the country mansion and starts investigating the ghostly goings-on.

"You know the Nicole Kidman film The Others? It's basically that story in its original form," said Honeysuckle. "It's all about who was the ghost and who wasn't but in the play it's more nebulous whether there is a ghost or it's in her mind.

"It's a challenging role getting the tension going with the audience. A lot depends on the atmosphere. I want the audience to hate the character but at other times to feel sorry for her and love her. Audiences are loving it. They've been terrified – we can hear them gasp."

The cast includes Emmerdale's Helen Weir and youngsters Sophie Osbourne and Paul Sandys, who Honeysuckle deems "fantastic".

"The children are played by young adults who look young, which is good for the parts they are playing. But you're never quite sure in the play if the children are 200 years old."

Honeysuckle, who hails from Petworth, has been acting herself since a young age as a member of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

She thinks she might have graced the stage at Worthing at the age of nine in Annie Get Your Gun.

The Roedean student had Sylvia Young as her agent, who also worked for the likes of Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams.

Her first TV appearance was with Goggle Eyes, adapted by Deborah Moggagh (Pride and Prejudice) from the novel by Anne Fine.

Honeysuckle's character (who was babysat by Dame Thora Hird, incidentally) in the comedy show was desperate to kill off her mother's boyfriend.

A fruitful career continued while at Roedean, including Catherine Cookson's The Rag Nymph and playing a young Helena Bonham-Carter in A Dark Adapted Eye.

She wrote and directed her own play, Waiting for Vaporetto, whilst a student of art in Italy and continued to direct and act while studying for an English literature degree at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Foyle's War happened about two weeks after completing the degree. "I was very lucky to get that part," she said. "The part of Sam Stewart was written for a Welsh girl and they had a Welsh actress but she couldn't do it – I think she was pregnant – and the pilot was due. I have quite a plummy accent and they asked me to do an even plummier one for the audition.

"I have been the luckiest of lucky devils to get that part. The crew and cast, the writers and directors were just fantastic. Michael Kitchen is a great guy as well.

"There are two more episodes to be shown in May. I will have a lump in my throat when they are shown.

"I miss the car and the uniform (although she kept the gloves), everything. The old Wolseley smells of leather inside."

And what comes next? Well, it's hard to believe but she's aiming for Bollywood! "My husband and I are thinking of going there to revive the singing and dancing bit of my career," she said. "And the weather's a whole lot better."

The Turn of the Screw is at Worthing's Connaught Theatre from March 11 to 15 at 7.30pm, with matines at 2pm on Wednesday and 2.30pm on Saturday.

Tickets are from 13 from the box office on 01903 206206 or click here

For more on Worthing shows click here

Nikki Jeffery