Interview extra

Jason Isaacs, Case HistoriesMay 26, 2011

Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs is tough-but-tender-hearted private detective Jackson Brodie in the new Edinburgh-based crime series Case Histories…

Surely not another detective series! What makes this one so special?
It’s more about the people and the characters. Kate Atkinson who writes the books is bored senseless by the technical stuff and so am I. I mean, there’s a place for CSI and stuff like that but it’s much more interesting to see what people are hiding and what it shows about them.

So what is Jackson Brodie like?
He’s a Yorkshireman who’s been in the army and the police force. He’s got a lot of secrets, which you gradually find out about in time. He’s incredibly tender but is also capable of taking care of himself.

And what about his personal life?
Well, his whole family fell apart. His sister drowned when he was young and he’s subsequently spent his life trying to make things safe around him. He has a failed marriage behind him and a daughter who he dotes on, but it makes him very scared of committing to another relationship.

But there’s a will/they won’t they with his ex professional partner isn’t there?
Yes, it’s classic unconsummated love really. Jackson and Louise [Amanda Abbington] have loved each other in a non-sexual way and really rate each other as police officers. To move into a romantic relationship constitutes a huge seismic shift for both of them.

Would you say this is a humorous show?
Oh God, I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t funny. I think if you tell people there’s comedy they’ll be expecting to laugh out loud all the time, but there is a richly humorous vein running through it.

The series is filmed in Edinburgh. Is that important?
Yes, I would say it’s one of the stars of the series. It’s not only a gorgeous place to live in but it looks stunning on film as well. This isn’t Trainspotting, we’re not really showing that side of the city. What we’re showing is the castle and the mountain and the beautiful old streets.

You said you didn’t think you’d ever be cast as Jackson Brodie…
That’s right. I think because I haven’t done much British TV in recent years and you kind of think, 'Well, they’ll probably use someone who’s been big in another major British series.' There are far fewer faces on British TV than there used to be. It’s always the same people.

So would you like to live here full time?
I love being in Scotland. People are so friendly here. I’m originally from Liverpool and the culture seems quite similar in fact. The reality is that I’ve been asked to do a lot more work in the States. They just produce much more TV there and so far I seem to have been pretty lucky. I don’t have to take everything I’m offered just to make sure there’s food in the fridge.

Ben Lawrence

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