Friday, 27 March 2009

Freema On The Paul O'Grady Show

Freema was a guest on yesterday afternoon's The Paul O'Grady Show.
You can watch her interview below:

Friday, 27 February 2009

Manchester Evening News Interview

DOCTOR Who star Freema Agyeman ended up in court when she researched her latest role.

But the actress managed to avoid a spell in the dock during a tour of the Old Bailey, which included sitting in on a trial.

“It’s like a theatre. They’re up there and performing,” she smiles. “Watching a real case with a real victim and a real perpertrator, it almost felt like I was watching it on television.”

Freema takes the law into her own hands as Crown prosecutor Alesha Phillips in new 13-part drama series Law & Order: UK (ITV1, tonight, 9pm).

She’s a “massive fan” of the original American show, now in its 18th series. “I remember seeing it for the first time in the early nineties and I just love it.”

The British version keeps the same format with a story of two halves told in each episode from police investigation through to court case. “It’s retained all the things that I think are really great about the show. It’s got a real pace to it,” adds Freema.

A police team played by Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber and Harriet Walter provide the law side of the equation, with Freema, Ben Daniels and Bill Paterson supplying the order.

Our legal system is, of course, different to America’s, so that has to be reflected in the UK drama. Even so, some may be surprised to see solicitor advocate Alesha out in the field alongside detectives during a police operation.

Those familiar with the way our courts work may also question the odd jarring script line. But then this is a drama, not a documentary and most viewers won’t notice.

“This is the most straight, oldest character I’ve played to date,” explains Freema, best known as Time Lord companion Martha Jones, who finishes filming her legal role next month.

How would she get on as a real life lawyer? “Maybe that kind of want for the spotlight in me could cope to some degree standing up there.

“But actually just doing it on the set is quite scary. You stand up there and you’ve got all of the people in the jury, all of the crew, all of the other actors, and you think, ‘It is really all eyes on me.’

“There’s a lot of theatre actors that are coming through, doing guest parts in the show and I guess it lends itself well because they are just stood, literally holding court.”

Freema’s sister Leila has a real life law degree. “I remember when we were younger and I said, ‘I want to be a doctor,’ and she wanted to be a lawyer. She proceeded further than I did with that childhood dream.

“For financial reasons, she couldn’t really go on. It was difficult. But she’s obviously retained all that knowledge and it’s useful. She’s great and really patient at explaining thing to laymen, because I was coming at it completely blind. She’s been a good source.”

Looking like a legal professional on screen was easier, thanks to the costume and design departments. “I never dress like that ordinarily, these city dresses. It’s all quite neat and grown up. I love wearing things that I wouldn’t. Also when you wear clothes like that you feel a little more grown up.

“I was once told I gravitate towards strong, independent characters and thinking about it there are a fair few similarities between Martha and Alesha. They are both confident, mature women who are really quite resilient.

“But Alesha is an even bigger step for me as I felt I had to be more contained and controlled. I probably identity more with Martha’s exciteability which gave the performance a different energy. I’ve been really lucky to have amazing opportunties come my way.”

With David Tennant now filming his final episodes, there’s speculation that Freema may make another return appearance. “I know there’s been talk of the Doctor Who stuff but nothing’s been confirmed on that front.

“My head and my heart is completely absorbed in Law & Order at the moment. I would love to do this as long as I can. I’ve had such an amazing time on the job and I’m really sad that it’s gone so quickly and is coming to an end.

“One of the unique things about this show that I like is that you never really get into the personal lives of the characters. You don’t go home with them. It’s all about the workplace. You only learn about them through their job. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Read Ian Wylie's TV Blog The Life Of Wylie

Law, Order And Strictly Freema

Ask most actors about reality TV and you’ll get a similar answer.

They hate it.

It pushes more expensive drama off the screen and results in fewer job opportunties for them.

But some, including Law and Order: UK star Freema Agyeman, have a different view.

There wasn’t room to include her thoughts on reality television in this week’s MEN TV feature interview.

So for those who are interested, here’s what Freema had to say:

“I love reality telly. I must confess, I do watch it,” she told us at the launch of the new ITV1 series.

“That’s all I pretty much watch.”

So would Freema go on Strictly?

“Oh no, I’d be too scared.

“I’d be stood in the wings, you know when they announce your name to go on – I don’t know if I could.

“Right now, I’m all consumed with what’s going on in my acting.

“If there’s ever a break and I decide I want to try my hand at something else, then, yeah, it would be a laugh.

“But not right now – way too scary.”

Source: Manchester Evening News

Thursday, 26 February 2009

New Freema Photo

Thanks to Lorna for this beautiful photo of Freema as Alesha in Law And Order. You can see more photos of Freema in Law And Order at now!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Freema Video Interview

Here's the recent video interview that Freema did for Digital Spy:

Law And Order UK Preview videos

Below is a quick preview of Freema in Law And Order UK

Law And Order UK Articles

Thanks to Lorna here are some scans from We Love Telly and The Daily Telegraph 23/02/09

Law And Order UK Promo Photos

Thanks to Lorna we have some fabulous new promo images of Freema in Law And Order UK.
You can view them here.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Photos Of Freema On Set

Thanks to Lorna we have some fabulous pics of Freema filming more scenes as Alesha in Law And Order UK.

You can view the full set in our gallery here.

Freema Agyeman: A Law Unto Herself | Scotland On Sunday Interview

The interview below was featured in this week's Scotland On Sunday:

In Freema Agyeman's latest role she plays a dynamic crown prosecutor in Law & Order UK. This is what has brought me to this chichi Soho hotel, to talk to her about transferring this grandaddy of long-running American series to the Old Bailey. However, another topic keeps digging its elbows into our conversation. A question hangs in the air, about as subtle as a blue box materialising between us. Ten minutes in, I can resist no longer.
Is she, or is she not, returning to Doctor Who? "There has been some speculation but nothing has been confirmed," she says firmly. The latest rumour – for in the world of Doctor Who, titbits drop daily on our tables – is that her character, Martha Jones, will go back for four specials marking David Tennant's final appearance as the Time Lord. "Talk to anyone in the world of Who and they'll say you never feel like you've left. Ask Billie Piper. David Tennant bounds on to set every day and says, 'Right people, what are we doing today? Am I getting strung up, frozen, flung about a room?' It's a lovely unique environment because people are so passionate. It goes beyond a day job. So, of course, I would resurrect her when the time is right, whether in 10 years or one." I get the impression she may have fended off this question before.Agyeman, the daughter of an Iranian mother and Ghanaian father, is a sensible, resolutely upbeat north Londoner, the type who has never supped from a half-empty glass in her life. Very petite – she takes a size two shoe – and quite beautiful in an unassuming way, she still seems shocked by how quickly she has been launched into the stratosphere by Doctor Who. Getting the part of the Doctor's companion, taking over from Piper when she was a relative unknown with Crossroads, her biggest part to date, was her big break, and on British telly it doesn't get any bigger. Despite mutterings that she wouldn't be able to fill Piper's shoes, Agyeman, then 27, made Martha Jones her own, a clear-thinking, intelligent companion for Tennant's Doctor. "I was always moving forward, but suddenly it went into fast-forward," she laughs. "I haven't even caught up yet. I'm nowhere near a position of saying 'I wish' or 'I want' because it's still happening."She knows she will never stop being asked about Doctor Who, but isn't complaining. "The Who fans are the best," she says. "The more, the better. Even after the Law & Order launch, there were a group of them waiting for me. That absolutely warms my heart. "In the early days, at award ceremonies I would get out of the car on to the red carpet, hear all the screaming, see all the lights flashing, and look for the Who fans. I'd go straight over and just stay with them." Agyeman continues to get fan mail. "I get about 20 letters at a time. They started before I was even on air, and me and my sister sort them all out. I tried to give her money for helping the other day, but she was outraged."In Law & Order, Agyeman's character, Alesha Philips, is still a novelty on British television: ambitious, high-flying, female and black. Then again, Agyeman herself is something of a one-off. She was the first black assistant on Doctor Who in 46 years, and how many non-white women do we see donning Victorian dress in Dickens' adaptations?"I used to watch period dramas and think, 'I'd love to do that but I'll just have to accept it isn't going to happen.' Bang! Suddenly, I was sat there in my corset," she recalls, when I say that watching her in Andrew Davies's Little Dorrit as the put-upon orphan Tattycoram felt like another watershed moment. "Apparently there was a debate on Newsnight about whether we should have made a character from Dickens black, when they weren't in the book, but the fact is that it transposed beautifully. Tattycoram felt alienated, she was being treated differently, as though she were the hired help. In the book that came from the fact that she was an orphan, but she could absolutely have been a black orphan."Since Doctor Who, Agyeman has started to bag parts in mainstream series, such as Law & Order (which is every bit as cheesily entertaining as you might expect) and Little Dorrit, that aren't race-specific. I wonder, though, is this necessarily a good thing? Shouldn't there be more parts created specifically for black people? Agyeman doesn't think so. Before Doctor Who, she notes, her CV featured stereotypical gangster roles. "What I love about parts like Martha and Alesha is that they could have been cast on anybody," she says. "Creating more parts for black people gets you into tokenism. Why does the whole point of a character have to be that they're black? How about more parts that can be cross-cast, that we can all go for? I don't have any gangster-related parts on my CV since Doctor Who, not that it's a genre I would avoid. But I would do it now because it's my choice, because I know I can also play a high-flying lawyer." Agyeman never felt put off at the lack of parts in the industry, which I find hard to believe. "No, no, I didn't," she insists. "The only words I could hear were my mother and father saying, 'Strive, and you'll achieve.' Maybe I was going into it slightly blinkered, but do you know what? It didn't do me no harm. But, yes, the fact is this has been a quintessentially white industry and so I'm okay with people labelling me as a black actress. I'm hoping, though, if my children's children went into the business, that there would be a more level playing field and no need to refer to them as anything other than an actor or actress." Agyeman grew up on an estate in Hackney, and put herself through university on loans she paid back with her first Doctor Who pay cheque. When she got the part in Doctor Who and the tabloids swooped, much was made of her rags-to-riches story, with claims the estate was riddled with guns and crime. Totally untrue, she says, and totally unfair. "I knew they would take that angle," she sighs. "It was annoying because I wasn't able to defend myself. What was really hurtful was the thought of all the people on the estate thinking I'd said those things. I was straight round to the neighbours." The reality, she adds, was playing with the other children on the estate and being called in for her tea and homework. "I never saw a gun in my life."Refreshingly, she didn't even decide to pursue acting until later on. "I thought I'd give acting a go but I fluctuated all the time," she admits. "I was the type who wanted to be a doctor, then an architect, then a marine biologist. I watched films and loved all that but then I would see a cat and want to be a vet." She glances around the hotel. "I try to keep my eyes open and see it while it's happening so I appreciate it more. I feel like I'm looking into my own life and I'm aware all the time of how much everything has changed."

Law And Order Is A Ratings Hit

The Guardian have reported that last night's debut episode of Law And Order UK was ratings hit:

ITV1's British version of the US drama franchise Law & Order launched successfully last night, Monday 23 February, winning its slot with more than 6 million viewers.
The final of University Challenge, which saw Gail Trimble and her Corpus Christi team crowned champions, also pulled in more than 5 million viewers, according to unofficial overnight figures.
Law & Order: UK, which has a large ensemble cast including Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber, Freema Agyeman, Ben Daniels and Harriet Walter, drew 6.4 million viewers and a 26% share in the 9pm hour.
BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are? pulled in 5.7 million viewers and a 23% share in the 9pm hour, while the third series of BBC2's US drama Heroes resumed after a break with 2.4 million and 10% between 9pm and 9.45pm.
Channel 4's The Real Casino Royale picked up 1 million viewers and a 4% share in the 9pm hour, with a further 100,000 on Channel 4 +1 an hour later.
Channel Five's movie repeat The 6th Day drew 900,000 viewers and a 5% share between 9pm and 11.25pm.
University Challenge, which saw Oxford college Corpus Christi beat Manchester by 275 points to 190, drew 5.3 million viewers and a 21% share on BBC2 between 8pm and 8.30pm.
The BBC said last night's ratings were the highest for University Challenge since 2002 and 2 million up on last year's final. The quiz came second in its slot, beating ITV1's The Feelgood Factor, with 3 million viewers and a 12% share in the same slot.
BBC1's EastEnders came out on top in the 8pm slot with 9.4 million viewers and a 37% share over half an hour. Channel 4's Dispatches, looking at the public roles adopted by Princes William and Harry, drew 1.1 million viewers and a 5% share over an hour, with a further 164,000 on Channel 4 +1.
Five's motoring show Fifth Gear picked up 800,000 viewers and a 3% share over an hour from 8pm.
BBC2's MasterChef continued to go great guns at the start of its final week, with 4.5 million viewers and an 18% share between 8.30pm and 9pm. BBC1's Panorama had 2.7 million and 11% in the same slot.
ITV1's Coronation Street won the 8.30pm to 9pm slot with 9.3 million viewers and a 36% share.
Sky1's Oscars highlights drew 357,000 viewers and a 2.7% multichannel share between 10pm and 11.30pm, while 24 had 494,000 and 2.3% on the same channel in the 9pm hour.
BBC3's new episode of Heroes claimed 782,000 viewers and a 6.4% share between 10.30pm and 11.15pm. BBC4's Storyville documentary Maradona – In the Hands of the Gods picked up 69,000 viewers and a 0.5% multichannel share between 10pm and 11.30pm.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

My Secret Life: Freema Agyeman - The Independent

The flat I grew up in ... was on the Woodberry Down estate near Manor House, in north London. When I first came into the spotlight, a lot of dodgy stuff was written about it in the papers. I felt really defensive. I had a brilliant time there.

The moment that changed me for ever ... was when my brother was born. I was eight years old and had always been the baby, getting away with not doing much. Suddenly there was a small person to look after. I grew up at that moment.

My greatest inspiration ... is my mum. She's supported me in every decision I've ever made.
My real-life villain ... is any shop that sells fur.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd be able to manage my time better. I constantly make lists and itineraries, and then can't stick to any of them.
At night I dream of ... quite erotic subjects at the moment. In my defence, I do tell my boyfriend as soon as I open my eyes.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is a rapidly ageing fuzz-bucket. Sometimes I have to give myself a talking to in the mirror; about chilling out, taking life in my stride.

My style icon ... I appreciate individualism. My own style is one of not much effort.

The shop I can't walk past ... is Urban Outfitters. Whether it's for the kitchen or my wardrobe, there's so much going on in there. I've taken to shopping on their website.

My favourite item of clothing ... is an old Adidas tracksuit. I put it on way too often; my boyfriend had to tell me to change my clothes the other day.

I wish I'd never worn ... the same tracksuit, far too often.

It's not fashionable but I like ... curling up during the day and watching 'Murder She Wrote' and 'Diagnosis Murder'. Not very cool.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... being fiercely organised, in theory. I'm a serial list-maker, but it always goes hideously wrong as I never get any of it done. I have great potential organisational skills.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... losing. I've been playing pool a lot with my boyfriend recently and I'm a bit of a sore loser. I need to work on that.

All my money goes on ... the flat I bought with my boyfriend. We've been there a year and a half now, but there's always something to spend money on. It's endless.

If I have time to myself ... I go for self-indulgent, pampering stuff, which helps me relax. I only unwind at facials and massages.

I ride ... the Tube: you can't beat it for speed.

My flat is ... a duplex in a house conversion. It has black walls, with white and brown furniture. There's funky retro wallpaper upstairs, and in our bedroom. And I've kitted the spare room out like a doll's house.

My most valuable possession is ... my Filofax.

My favourite building ... I'm intrigued by Battersea Power Station. It's so incongruous, almost ugly, but it has so much street-cred. What a strange structure.

Movie heaven ... 'The Matrix' (part one), 'Labyrinth' with David Bowie, and 'Napoleon Dynamite'.
A book that changed me ... was 'The Mill on the Floss' by George Eliot. It was the first time I absolutely broke down and bawled unashamedly over a book; I was wracked with emotion. Now I seek out sad books and films for a good cry.

My favourite work of art ... is the 'Venus de Milo'. I was in Paris [at the Louvre] recently and stood staring at it for ages, and I couldn't work out why. It is fabulously odd. The best invention ever ... is the car.

The last album I bought/downloaded ...My sister's boyfriend bought me Heather Hedley's album. I became obsessed with the 'Lion King' musical and fell for Hedley's version of one of the songs.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Michael McIntyre. I saw him at the South Bank Show Awards and thought I knew him – I'd taken him into my heart. I think he noticed I was staring too much, but I didn't have the guts to say hello.

In 10 years' time, I hope to ... be in show business, doing what I love, to be a mum, and living somewhere close to my family.

My greatest regret ... It's healthy to rationalise the choices you've made but I'm more likely to regret the way I've behaved than a choice I've made.

My life in seven words ... Happy, hectic, family-orientated, challenging, unglamorous, blessed.
A life in brief

The actress Freema Agyeman was born in London in March 1979, and is best known for playing Dr Who's assistant Martha Jones, opposite David Tennant, in the BBC TV series. She lives in north London with her boyfriend and will star in the UK version of hit US cop show Law and Order on ITV at the end of the month