‘Hollington Drive’ – The trenchcoat made the character for Rachael Stirling

Why British actress took character home

Rachael Stirling of ‘Hollington Drive’ on Acorn TV

Q: How much did the trenchcoat help you get into your character of tightly wound suburban teacher Helen in Acorn TV’s “Hollington Drive”?

A: Yeah, the white trenchcoat was the first piece of (costume) that we found and went “Oh my gosh! This is it!” Because it’s sort of brilliantly impractical as well as being luxurious. What was that wonderful series, was it called “The Fall” that Gillian Anderson had with sort of silky shirts and that sort of thing? So she’s got this sort of silky kind of slightly hinted-at sexual thing but then this magnificent, very impractical white trenchcoat which I absolutely adored and didn’t get to take home, I’m sad to say. Actually, it became so symbolic as the character, that coat, that I sort of didn’t want it by the end because I just would have been putting on Helen (laughs).

Q: There is an intimidation factor that goes with a trenchcoat.

A: Exactly, isn’t there, yes. And sort of a sumptuous amount of material and a sort of … virgin version of a kind of Army trenchcoat in that magnificent white. But yes, I loved it. I really love putting her together with costumes.

Q: Was Helen a character you had to breathe out at the end of the day?

A: Yes, I did. Oh my gosh! Very much so. And in amongst the sort of whole tussle of the end of the show, we had a long, tired day at the end filming … the thing that everyone’s waiting for at the end of episode four. And with various stunts that had been going on, I had a fractured rib at the end of it and I couldn’t work. I’m starting a play in February and I’ve been in crippling (laughs) pain. Yes, stunt gone wrong; there’s a bit too much of that nowadays.

So yes, Helen came home. I don’t do that. I learned that from my mom (legendary actress Diana Rigg). I don’t on the whole take characters home with me.

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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