From her early roles in The Royle Family and Spaced, to monstrous PR Siobhan Sharpe in Twenty Twelve and W1A, Jessica Hynes has established herself as a comic actress.
But in recent years her focus has turned more to drama – most notably her BAFTA-winning role as a mother facing life with a learning disabled child in There She Goes, and a key character in Russell T Davies’ stunning dystopian series Years and Years, which should sweep the board at the next round of television awards.
Similarly her directorial debut – the self-penned The Fight – is a naturalistic tale focusing on the stresses faced in modern family life. The film may be set in Jessica’s adopted hometown of Folkestone, but her Brighton childhood played an important role in getting her career underway. “I had a great drama teacher, Jenny Leworthy, who ran a class in Hove Town Hall which I went to every Saturday,” she recalls. “It changed my life. We used to do Victoria Wood monologues and put on shows at the Brighthelm Centre – it built up my confidence.
“There was also a primary school teacher at St Luke’s, Pat Holford, who would put on these incredible productions with music from Liz Taylor. They were unique and special people – they helped me and gave me my life. I can’t imagine doing what I do now without them.”
Jessica joined the Nationa