‘Agatha Raisin’ – Jensen embraces ‘confident, brash, forthright’ character

Jensen dons the uniform, the character emerges

Ashley Jensen

Actors have different ways of getting into a character.

For some, it’s shadowing someone who does what their character does, like a cop or firefighter. For others, it’s meeting the person they’re portraying, if possible. And for still others, donning the get-up will do it.

Ashley Jensen, who portrays the chic PR maven-turned-amateur sleuth of the title in “Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham” – the Season 2 opener of the British “Agatha Raisin” mystery series that begins streaming Monday, Nov. 19, on Acorn TV – falls into the last category.

“(It has) a lot to do the silhouette and the costumes and the makeup,” the 49-year-old Scottish actress explains. “And I think my hair wasn’t in the Agatha Raisin bob before I did this job. So as soon as I got that haircut, the very high maintenance hairdo and the full makeup, I felt different because Ashley Jensen is not hugely high maintenance. … I felt and moved and stood differently when I wore the figure-hugging clothes and the heels and held the bag and stuff.”

But in Monday’s opener, Agatha looks anything but glamorous. She’s down and disheveled after her on-again/off-again relationship with her ex is off again and she’s in need of change. This sends her to her local hairdresser, a charming man who gives her a whole new look while lending a sympathetic ear. But it turns out he’s done this with more than a few women in their small English village and he’s privy to a few dark secrets. Secrets dark enough to get him killed.

Enter Aggie to figure out whodunit.

“She’s just such a confident, brash, forthright character and she’s a woman of a certain age and stands up and is counted,” Jensen says. “… A three-dimensional character who is a woman in her 40s who is a bit vulnerable sometimes and we sometimes see her behind the mask of makeup and the heels. And I think that that helps the character resonate with an audience.”

Ashley Jensen

Full name: Ashley Samantha Jensen

Birth date: Aug. 11, 1969

Birthplace: Annan, Scotland

Alma mater: Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland

Family ties: widowed, the mother of 9-year-old Francis

TV credits include: “Roughnecks,” “EastEnders,” “Rebus,” “Silent Witness,” “The Office” (U.K. version, voice only), “Eleventh Hour,” “Extras,” “Ugly Betty,” “Accidentally on Purpose,” “Catastrophe,” “Love, Lies and Records”

Movie credits include: “Tickets for the Zoo” (1991), “Topsy-Turvy” (1999), “Nativity!” (2009), “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010; voice), “Gnomeo & Juliet” (2011; voice), “Hysteria” (2011), “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” (2012; voice), “All Stars” (2013), “Small Time” (2014), “Barney Thomson” (2015), “Indian Summer” (forthcoming)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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