Jensen dons the uniform, the character emerges
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.”
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)