With her lead part as gutsy DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty, Vicky McClure is beloved by many TV viewers around the country. In her latest role, a woman called Nicola who’s experiencing an extremely toxic relationship, she’s sure to earn even more praise.
That’s because in I Am Nicola, McClure and her co-star Perry Fitzpatrick (who plays her partner Adam) portray a dysfunctional, abusive relationship with impactful subtlety.
“In some ways, you might think it could come across [as] quite mundane because it's not like somebody is having an affair and there aren’t big scenarios. It's all the little things that really cut deep when they happen to you,” Vicky explained to Goodhousekeeping.com/uk and other press ahead of the drama’s launch.
As we follow Nicola and Adam going back and forth between their quiet home and their jobs in a hair salon and office, there’s an apparent lack of trust, lots of jealousy, and a tussle for control that isn’t healthy.
We see Adam question Nicola about her intentions constantly, even as she tries to go to the gym to de-stress, resulting in her feeling trapped and creating heart-wrenching moments. This kind of abuse isn’t about shouting and fighting, but it’s equally as dangerous and crucially important to discuss within TV and film – something McClure believes in strongly.
The actor, who was involved in steering the project from the off, spoke about why she wanted to do so, referencing her personal experience.
“It's not by any means carbon copy of an experience that I've had. It’s moments that I've experienced in past relationships, it's moments that I've seen my friends go through. You hear stories, you read stories, whatever it might be. It's a real amalgamation of being in a relationship that's not working,” she explained.
The episode, while created, written and directed by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Dominic Savage, wasn’t based on a dialogue script, allowing McClure and Fitzpatrick to use long, improvised scenes to explore what Nicola and Adam would really be feeling.
The result is an hour of raw, honest, at times difficult to watch, drama that will, it’s hoped, encourage viewers to think about how abuse within a relationship can manifest in many different, equally damaging ways.
I Am Nicola, the first of a three-part drama anthology series, airs at 10pm on Tuesday 23rd July on Channel 4.
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