Filming for the new series has now passed the half-way stage and Vicky took time out of her busy schedule to speak to us about being back on-set, HMP Larkhall's latest signings and what's to come for her character when series eight hits our screens in the summer.
What's it like being back on set filming after your break from Bad Girls?
"It's funny because on the first day you get really nervous, you get back to school jitters [laughs]. It's not nerve-wracking but it's a mixture of excitement and nerves because you know everybody that's back but there are also new people. It's just getting back into the routine again. You have to remember how you did everything because obviously it picks up from where you left off. It's kind of scary but really good at the same time because you know that you're going back to which is always good. As soon as you get there, the prison's got a particular smell. It's not an unpleasant smell and it's not a really nice smell – you know like when you get to your own house and it smells, the prison smells a bit like that. It's nice to get back and, of course, we have all the same crew so it's nice to see all the boys. It's brilliant, really good to get back."
Do you ever get worried as to whether there will be another series commissioned?
"Yeah, I think so. No more that anybody else does, I don't think. There's always doubt there because in the profession we're in, there are no guarantees are there? Especially with a series like Bad Girls where it could just stop straight away. There doesn't even have to be any spectacular storyline – it could just finish. So it think there is a small doubt there but I think so long as we continue to bring out the standard of drama which we are, hopefully, fingers crossed, we'll continue to be picked up by the network."
What have you been doing between the last series and this series?
"I've been doing quite a lot of things. I've actually got a comedy partner and I'm writing stuff with her at the moment. We're hoping to get out on the circuit by August time which would be really good. It's female comedy (because we're both girls) but it's not fiercely directed at just women, it's quite a mixed thing. It's taken from all of our heroes like French and Saunders, Julie Walters and Victoria Wood. It's in the same vein as that. I also did the play 'Stepping Out' in Lincoln which was really good - tap dancing again which I haven't done for a long while [laughs]. I also did a Christmas musical as well called 'Snow' which was really good because I got to sing 'Fairytale of New York' which is my favourite Christmas Song. And then, of course, it was time to come back to Bad Girls."
As we all know, you're all back on-set now filming for the new series, how do you all get on on-set?
"Really, really, really well. I think it's probably a bit cliché to say 'oh we're like a family' but it's really good. We've got lots of new people and it's lucky as we've all just gelled so well. We have fun and have a good laugh on set because it is a long day and sometimes it can just be like 'please let the scene end'. You'll have breakfast in front of you at 7 o'clock and by the time it gets to 7 o'clock at night it's not as its best [laughs] and you still have to pretend you're eating it which isn't so good."
Do you think that the chemistry the cast has off-screen helps in the series?
"Yeah, definitely. The thing is, in a real women's prison - as far as I can say because I haven't been! I'm planning to go, not by my own actions [laughs], but I'm planning to visit one in October for an open day they've got in Darlington. I think it is a very close place in terms of solidarity because when a bunch of people of the same sex are thrown together, I think you do form an alliance. I think it does come out on screen, I'd agree with that 100%. It does help to make it all the more authentic."
Do you all go out for after show parties and booze-ups?
"Yeah, we do. As mush as we can as, obviously, we are at work a lot so any free time we do get is precious. We do try and go out about once a month, just go out for drinks and catch up with everybody's real life. "
What's it like working with Sid Owen?
"Sid is realy lovely but he's a big practical joker. He's always trying to catch you out. I'm a huge Morrisey fan and he tried to convince me the other day that they were reforming but I knew it wasn't true but he did it with such conviction. I found myself saying 'are they? No they're not!' He kept it up for ages then started laughing. He's lovely, he's a really good asset to the set. He's brought a whole new dynamic in which is brilliant."
What about Colin Salmon?
"Lovely, is Colin! It's just amazing to have someone like Colin working with us. We've been really lucky. We've got some amazing people on the set. We're gutted he's not Bond. I love Daniel Craig but I think Colin would have made a wicked Bond."
And what about Amanda Donohoe?
"She's a really nice lady. It's fantastic to get the chance to work with people who you've seen on the television when you were younger. You get to learn their tricks and see how they approach things. It's just a learning expeience for me really. It's been really, really good."
Where did we last see you character, Tina, at the end of series seven?
"Let me think… She was worried about Big Julie because she had gone a bit mad because she'd killed Fenner and nobody believed her. I think Tina was fussing around a little bit and hanging with the girls in the four-bed dorm. She was in the background a little bit towards the end of the last series because I came back in at the beginning of the series after setting fire to the shop, which was really fun (laughs). The producers are good like that - everybody gets a turn at having a storyline. I was winding down really for the Christmas special with my appearance as one of the dwarves. I think we'll see some action from Tina in this series, though…"
What is in store for Tina this series?
"You know what Tina's like. She's always a bit of an accessory but she's part of something quite big around episode six, so you'll just have to watch this space I think… "
What was it like filming the Christmas special?
"Mad – absolutely mad. We actually filmed the snow scenes outside on the hottest day of the year [laughs]. So we'd all got coats, hats and scarves on while 'cold acting' where you shiver and pat yourself - we were all boiling! In-between takes, we were taking our coats off and we just had tiny vests on underneath. Also, it was really confusing to your eyes because it was a closed set - nobody was allowed in because they couldn't upset the snow. They opened the doors of the greenhouse at the back of the lot for us to go through and it was just weird and so confusing because it was so hot and there was snow everywhere. It was real fun, though, and I think we're filming another one this year."
The storyline was a bit surreal wasn't it?
"I don't think we've seen the last of Fenner. I'm not convinced. I think he'll be back as a ghost somewhere along the line, come on (laughs)."
Claire King was a fantastic actress, do you think she should make a return?
"She's brilliant. You know, though, Amanda's part is as good as Claire's. I think you'll be really pleased. She plays a character called Louise Stoke and she's very similar to Karen Betts – no messing, straight-down-the-line wing governor."
Who's your favourite Bad Girls character?
"At the moment, I think it's probably Pat Kerrigan jut like I loved Yvonne. The characters, that will fight when they have to but it's justice they're really out for. They look after the weak ones and put the strong ones in their place."
Who’s your best mate on set?
"Nicola Stapleton who plays Janine Nebeski – the one with the outrageous outfits. I think you're going to see even more outrageous outfits as Darlene's had a bit of a makeover this series. There are some classics coming from her. Everyday we wait to see what she's got on because she's been shopping with the costume lady!"
What's the funniest thing to happen to you on set?
"In the first episode, there's a scene where we've got a Muslim girl and I had to come around the corner with a load of breakfasts on it and say to her 'oh, I've saved you some breakfast' and she said 'I don't eat bacon'. I had to go 'it's all right ' and put the whole load of bacon in my mouth and gave her the rest. It was the nastiest, driest bit of bacon ever. I couldn't swallow it and couldn't even get the rest of my lines out. In the end, they made me do it about 10 times!"
What about any memorable bloopers?
"I did a scene with the Julies the other day and one of them had to say 'the bride and groom' and 'a cup of punch' and, needless to say, 'a cup of punch' came out a little bit funny. It just kept happening and we were wanting to get the scene done really quickly because we had a lot to do that day."