Redwater, Episode 3 of 6, RTÉ One, Sunday, June 28th at 9.30pm
Life is slowly returning to normal after Lance’s funeral and Eileen (Angeline Ball) and Keiran (Ian Toner) are planning to return to the States. Before they go, the family host a barbecue on the beach, an annual tradition organised by Lance for the last 18 years to help them commemorate the anniversary of the boat tragedy.
At the barbecue, Dermott (Oisín Stack) is all too aware that Agnes has once again been meddling. He exploits his Keiran’s secret phobia for his own ends. For the first time, Eileen realises that Kieran hasn’t dealt with the death of his sister Mouse in the boat tragedy.
Kat (Jessie Wallace), happy that she has been reunited with her son after so many years apart, does her best to get to know him, unaware of the danger he presents to her and her family. As she does so, Agnes warns Alfie that other people could get hurt and caution is needed.
Later, Dermott overhears an argument between Kat and Alfie, putting the newfound bond between mother and son in jeopardy.
As Keiran confronts his demons, Eileen begins to eye up a more permanent future in Redwater. But will the rest of the family be so enthusiastic?
In this thrilling new drama, written and produced by a Bafta and Emmy nominated team, a mother travels to Ireland in search of her lost son.
The picturesque village of Redwater is a peaceful idyll on the Irish coast, untroubled by the trappings of modern life.
Twenty years ago, a boating tragedy ripped the heart out of this village’s close-knit community. The deaths of Iris Dolan and her niece Aoife appeared to be an accident – but the truth was left buried at the bottom of the harbour.
For Kat Moon, an open-hearted woman from the East End of London, Redwater could be the key to finally making sense of her fractured past. She is in search of her son, a twin taken from her at birth without her knowledge. And a cryptic postcard has led her to Redwater to find him, with her husband Alfie in tow.
Redwater is in danger of collapsing under the weight of its secrets, until Kat begins asking tough questions that finally let the village embark on a cathartic reckoning. But this cleansing of Redwater’s past will come at a great cost.
As Kat dives deeper into the private lives of the people here, she risks being fatally swept up in the storm she’s started. Is one of the young men scarred by that tragic night really her son? And, if so, what sort of man has he become?
Redwater is a BBC Studios production in association with RTÉ.
STARRING: JESSIE WALLACE as Kat Moon; SHANE RICHIE as Alfie Moon; OISÍN STACK as Father Dermott Dolan; STANLEY TOWNSEND as Peter Dolan; ANGELINE BALL as Eileen Harrington; IAN TONER as Kieran Harrington; PETER CAMPION as Andrew Kelly; FIONNULA FLANAGAN as Agnes Byrne; MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY as Roisin Kelly; STEPHEN HOGAN as Padraig Kelly; SUSAN ATEH as Bernie Kelly; EBONY O’TOOLE-ACHEAMPONG as Adeen Kelly; IAN MCELHINNEY as Lance Byrne
WRITERS: MATTHEW GRAHAM (Life on Mars); JULIE DIXON (Trial & Retribution) LAUREN KLEE (Eastenders); MATTHEW BARRY (Death in Paradise)
PRODUCER VICKY WHARTON (Casualty)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DOMINIC TREADWELL-COLLINS (Eastenders)
Jessie Wallace – plays Kat Moon
Give us some background on the character of Kat for those who aren’t familiar with her?
Kat is a very colourful person, there’s a lot of layers to her. There’s also a lot of history there… things that have happened and not all good. To play a character for 16 years and bring it to this, means there’s plenty underneath to bring to the surface. So much has happened to her and that’s what she brings with her to Redwater.
Since leaving Walford, going to Spain and then coming to Ireland to find her son she’s kind of mellowed, which you can even see in the way she dresses. It’s a softer side to Kat than we’ve seen before, but there’s definitely still that fiery side to her, just not as much as we’ve seen in EastEnders.
Where is she in her life?
She wants to find her son. She didn’t realise that she had another child when Zoe was born, and 32 years later she learns that she also had a son, a twin brother to Zoe. She finds out exactly where he is and she goes to find him. She’s at a point where she wants peace and to settle down, with no more drama in her life.
What does she find when she comes to Redwater?
When Kat and Alfie arrive it’s instantly a mysterious place. It reminds me a bit of the film Under Milk Wood – it’s got those dark tones to it and also a bit like The Wickerman [1970s horror] where they’re in this strange environment, a kind of place they’ve never been before and they’re not made welcome. They’re treated like outsiders and feel like a fishes out of water.
So the locals are suspicious of her?
Very suspicious! They rent a holiday house; but they might be on holiday, they might not – and of course it’s a small village, and everyone hears and wonders why they are really here. Everyone is asking why they say they are here for a holiday but don’t know how long they are staying, why are they asking so may questions – who are these people?
How do Alfie and Kat react to this suspicion?
Well of course they can’t tell anyone why they’re here, so they just have to try to keep quiet. At one point, Kat is blamed for something that she didn’t do and she has to take it on the chin. Whereas if they were in Walford, Kat would probably punch them in the face, or be the Kat she’s known for being! Here, she’s treading on eggshells as she doesn’t want to get chucked out the village, so she’s biding her time and biting her tongue.
How is her relationship with Alfie?
Alfie is a bit sidelined once they are in Redwater as she’s just fixated with finding with her son. So his nose is put out of joint, but as always he makes his presence felt! Also, she’s not exactly ‘neglecting’ Tommy, but she’s definitely not giving him the attention that he needs as she is so torn, so Alfie’s quite annoyed and emotional with her.
Has filming this drama been a different process to EastEnders?
It’s a much steadier pace and it’s all shot on single camera, which looks beautiful. When you’re shooting a drama like EastEnders it is such a fast turnaround, that you’re filming about 26 scenes a day. Whereas here you can spend a whole day on one scene and concentrate on another level of detail. We’ve had an amazing team to work with that have such interesting drama backgrounds, from Ripper St and Game Of Thrones to Penny Dreadful. I think they are the best team in the world; it’s been a whole new experience being here.
Any highlights from filming?
I’ve done my own stunts and my highlight would probably have to be where I jump from a boat into the sea, and the underwater sequence. Although we shot that in Dublin and it was freezing cold!
How have you enjoyed Dunmore East?
It’s a little jewel that I’d never heard of. Every corner you turn there’s something beautiful, with stunning beaches, and the people here are so friendly and welcoming.
Shane Richie – plays Alfie Moon
How did you get on board?
It kind of came about in 2015. Jessie and I were approached by the BBC and the executive producer at the time (Dominic Treadwell-Collins). There had been a whisper about a one-off episode in Spain, so we thought it would be that. Initially it was, and then during a meeting, Dominic said: “Actually, we’re not going to take you to Spain.” He’d had an epiphany and decided that we should take Kat and Alfie to Ireland. I couldn’t see the link until Kat’s storyline where we learn that years ago, her boy twin was adopted by a family in Ireland. So this story evolved while our characters are still in Eastenders.
How is Redwater connected to EastEnders?
Well, it’s not a spin off – it’s a stand-alone drama. The whole Kat and Alfie thread, looking for a son, and Alfie’s brain tumour, is just part of a large tapestry of other stories that are happening in Redwater. It really is an ensemble piece.
For those who aren’t familiar with EastEnders, who is Alfie?
Alfie is a character I’ve played since 2002. He’s a charmer, he’s a street guy, but he’s not a tough guy – he’s street smart. He’s got a big heart and wears it on his sleeve. With Alfie it really is all about family. Since he met Kat they’ve been inseparable. We’ve played this love story for the best part of 15 years – there’s only one person for Alfie and that’s Kat. He’s a one-woman man.
Why have Kat and Alfie come to Redwater?
They’ve come to Redwater to track down Kat’s adopted son, who she only found out about very recently. There’s very much a thriller element tone to it. Big secrets go with it, which I hope will keep the audience tuning in.
Alfie’s journey is to help his wife find her son, but also to have a break from Spain. They’re having problems with the bar out there, but at the same time Alfie has his own dark secret which he’s keeping from Kat. The drama is very mythical, there’s something magical here. Meanwhile he’s trying to deal with his problems on his own, which is very Alfie.
What kind of a place is Redwater?
It’s a wonderful community and not a million miles away from Walford. Everyone knows each other and are in and out of each other’s pockets and houses. But if you thought that EastEnders had some dark secrets, they’re nothing compared to Redwater! Kat and Alfie are dropped in the middle of this great big family feud that’s being going on for years. It’s a bit like Brigadoon, the mist comes in and out – every time it comes in it leaves another secret, and when it goes out in it dumps its dirty laundry right there on the beach for everyone to see!
Is there a similar sense of family life to Albert Square?
I think Kat and Alfie get it here. There’s no sense of them staying, they are just renting a holiday cottage here for a couple of weeks. They want to tap into the local community and hopefully find who they are looking for, have a bit of a break from everything that’s going on in Spain. They’re not looking to stay here permanently but there’s a twist of fate – something happens that means they might not going anywhere for now…
Are you are familiar with this part of the world?
I’m from a big Irish family – my real surname is Roche. My Dad used to run Irish clubs in London – I was known at school as a second hand paddy. My Mum who still lives in London came over while we were filming to visit her family. Why I don’t come over more I don’t know as it literally is a whisper away. Now I’ve spent the last three or four months here it really does feel like home.
What’s been your favourite part of filming?
There’s a real circus-feel to everyone on this show, from the cast, to unit drivers, make-up, sound, wardrobe, catering, cameras, everybody. It’s like we’re a circus on tour around Ireland, we all meet in the evening and after a couple of weeks we all pack up again and go down to Dublin. We feel like we’re creating something new, surrounded by quality team.
Do you think you’re creating a world that people will identify with and grow to love?
I hope so. I hope when this goes out it will certainly put Dunmore East on the map! I just hope it runs and runs and Redwater goes on forever.
Maria Doyle Kennedy – plays Roisín Kelly
Tell us about Roisin’s character
Well, she’s like most people in real life; she’s quite complicated and completely different outwardly to her inner self, which she keeps hidden. Like a lot of people that I’ve encountered that have chosen, or in her case, been given farming as a life, she’s very practical, very stoic and keeps a lid on most of her dreams and passions as there’s not much room for them in her life. She’s quite dutiful – there’s not that much time left for other things.
What role does she have in the family?
Roisin feels that she’s the next in line to Lance and Agnes. She’s the one who’s chosen to stay on the farm, whereas her sister Eileen left, so most of the responsibility has been left to her. Especially now that Lance and Agnes are getting older and her own husband seems more interested in his artistic life. Her son Andrew helps her and is a huge support, but she bears most of the responsibility for keeping things going, moving the farm forward and financially supporting them all.
What kind of relationship does she have with her husband Padraig?
I guess they were in love once. They married and had a child very young but you get the feeling it was a sort of youthful, possibly impetuous courtship and decision to marry that maybe hasn’t worked out quite the way they thought it would. She probably chooses to stay in the marriage as that seems the thing to do. He’s not a bad person in any way and every so often you get flashes of how they might have been and see some tenderness between them, but mostly they seem quite irritated by each other and tend to avoid each other to avoid conflict or confrontation.
How is Roisin’s relationship with her sister Eileen?
Her relationship with her sister is very interesting and it’s particularly lovely for me to get to play it with Angeline, who’s a friend. We’ve worked together before but it’s really lovely to be doing it again. There’s an added dynamic of having known each other for 25 years, so we have a strong bond and tease each other almost like sisters, so its fun to have that extra layer of understanding and a shorthand between us.
There’s a certain amount of resentment on Roisin’s part; she’s here and has always been holding the fort and while’s there’s a valid reason for Eileen to have left, at the same time I suppose she feels that Eileen got the chance to do something new. Roisin never had that opportunity – not that she would have necessarily ventured far – but I think she would have liked just a little peek outside to make the world a bit bigger. They spark off each other in that way that sisters do – they’re very sharp, very sarcastic. They’re akin to a match and kindling, but there’s something strong between them.
Is Roisin close to her son Andrew?
Roisin seems very close to Andrew and his family, but is almost overprotective of him in a way. He’s a young man with his own family and she seems a little too involved and close to them – I wonder if that comes from a shared tragedy in a a family like the one they experienced. She relies on her son in a way that she doesn’t rely on her husband. She’s imagining the that the farm will go on through the line from Lance and Agnes to her and then on to Andrew.
What is Roisin’s initial take on Kathleen?
Roisin is quite blasé about Kathleen and Alfie. People often come to Redwater on holiday, it’s a pretty seaside town. I don’t think she thinks too much of them except that they’re kind of unusual and Kat is a bit chattier than most. I don’t think Roisin is in any way suspicious or thinks that there are darker motives for them coming to Redwater. She wonders a little why Agnes is so hard on Kathleen – it takes Roisin a while to understand any extra motive that Kathleen might have for being there.
What impact do the events that follow have on Roisin?
I think that the whole series of events spark a realisation in her of what might have been in her life. While she’s been very stoic and dutiful and responsible, the practical one shouldering the fortune of the farm, and the whole turmoil that comes about pulls away the veneer from the life she had been living. She understands that she has not really been living, she has simply been repressing her feelings in order to get through the day/week/year. Suddenly, as a woman who is 50, she re-evaluates her life. In midlife realising that it’s now or never, she’s going to make a change now or live this way for the rest of her life. It is shocking for her to see that and what she gave up and she’s wondering if there is a still a chance for happiness left for her.
Angeline Ball – plays Eileen Harrington
What kind of person is Eileen?
Eileen has a kind of dual personality that’s not always evident. She’s a fighter and a survivor. She’s someone who made a difficult decision 20 years ago to leave Redwater and start a new life in America with a young son, which was very brave and courageous, yet she is quite fragile. What you see with Eileen is not what you get. Her exterior is very polished and designer-clad, but there’s an underlying sadness about her – I guess a grief and loneliness. She feels a bit like an outsider, having left all those years ago.
She’s had to fend for herself. She’s definitely a very strong woman, but I suppose you’ll see throughout the series when her metal is tested how well she comes out of it.
Why did she leave Redwater all those years ago?
She left because of her grief. I guess living there was a daily reminder of how she lost a child to drowning. Living next to the same ocean that claimed her daughter was too much for her to bear. Ultimately she needed to get away to start a new life and escape painful memories. Possibly it was all slightly claustrophobic in Redwater. She has a very strong mother and sister so I think it was her strive for independence as well.
Apart from visiting is there any other agenda for being home?
Possibly. She’s says that her son made her come, because when she left she thought she was never returning. However, there’s something in longing to come home. Even for myself, I live in London and there’s always something about coming ‘home’ to me.
I think she’s daunted by being home and afraid that all of those old emotions will resurface. Yet part of her wants to be in the bosom of her family.
Does she change at all by being back in Redwater?
Yes, there are some subtle physical changes; the exterior becomes less polished, less ‘New York’ She’s got her feet on Redwater soil again and it seems to seep into her. She’s naturally easing back into the family and her surroundings, the accent drops away, so does her hardened exterior.
What does she see as her responsibilities back in Redwater?
Eileen’s the kind of person that likes to jolly things along, make it all ok and show that nothing’s a big deal. She appears not to be a deep thinker, but again, I think it’s just skimming over the surface of what might potentially come to the core. She provides the entertainment and likes to think she’s the one to get the party started. You see her make a decision about Redwater and the farm and go with it, and that’s when you start to see her metal. If she’s put into a corner she won’t back down. I’m excited to see this play out as obviously she’s on a journey and you’ll see more of her come to the fore.
What’s her relationship like with Roisin?
It’s strained and competitive, very ‘big sister, little sister syndrome’. There could be a deep-rooted bitterness as Roisin hasn’t suffered loss, still has everything and didn’t have to leave. I think there’s sadness about the fact that they have just got into this flow of not getting on – it’s a love-hate relationship. Maria and I have known each other for a long time. We’ve played sisters before which works in our favour as we know what it’s like to act opposite each other so there’s a good natural rhythm between us. When you know someone that well you can go for it and not be afraid.
How have you enjoyed working with Fionnula?
She’s a great actress with this lovely air of calm and dignity. She’s a joy to watch and act alongside and a very funny lady. I’ve always wanted to work with her and now I get my chance… not only do I get to work with her, she’s playing my mother! It’s a double whammy!
Shane and Jessie bring an audience with them. What’s it like to fit into something that’s already so established in viewers minds?
Having worked together for so long they know each other inside out, so they are absolutely rock steady. I’ve worked with Shane before and played his wife, I know him well and I had always watched Jessie from afar and think she was a fantastic actress, so it’s exciting to work with them.
I guess we all had to merge styles and characters in this and make it work. They’re a lovely, lovely pair to work with and we all really enjoyed it. It’s great to see such established British actors come here and absolutely enjoy the way we work. We’ve welcomed them with open arms and they’ve done the same, so it’s been a two-way street. And hey, we got to shoot in stunning Irish locations all over the summer!
Ian McElhenny – plays Lance Byrne
What sort of place is Redwater?
It’s a small community. Its seems that the Byrne family is the family that dominates the village because everywhere you look there’s a connection to the Byrnes. There’s four generations that we meet in this story. You get the sense that it’s a small village and they’re all very close-knit. They all know far too much about each other, yet they all have secrets that they don’t want to reveal. You do get the feeling that they are THE family of that village.
What is Lance’s role in the Byrne Family?
Ostensibly he’s the patriarch, the daddy, grandaddy and great grandaddy of the clan, but actually I think he’s quite weak. The one who really rules the roost and is the matriarch is his wife – he’s quite happy to be a character in the town with the kind of respect that comes from having been around for quite a while being the ‘grand old man’ of the village.
What are his responsibilities?
I don’t think he has a lot to be honest. In his time he probably did have to work the farm and probably worked hard, but at this stage of the game he’s happy to be a figurehead and do his own thing. He doesn’t exactly graft as far as the farm’s concerned. He’s quite happy riding his horse and going swimming everyday, having a few drinks in the pub and being the sort of person that comes out with pieces of wisdom when he’s so inclined and has a few drinks on him.
Events will happen that make him feel now that he should take a responsible action, but as has always been the case in his life when it comes to family matters, whatever he may think or decide, if Agnes is not with him, it ain’t gonna happen! In this particular case, he confronts her about a situation where they agree to disagree but for once he does feel that he must do something. But even so, he has to steel himself to do it, you can see in some ways and certainly in relation to her he’s quite weak. He does take it upon himself to act, but having done it, it has all sorts of consequences.
What impact does the family tragedy that happened 30 years ago still have on the Byrnes?
They’ve got on with their lives for years; this is something they all remember and carry because it affected them directly, and life goes on and life would have gone on, but for the fact that the Moons’ come to town and all of this stuff comes to the surface again.
Everybody is very deeply troubled by it and most really would rather not have to go back there. There are some that feel they should leave it be and not try and deal with what happened again, and there are others that feel that since we are in the situation we are in, perhaps we are obliged to deal with old ghosts, and that’s where Lance sits. Lance more than the others does have an empathy towards the newcomers [Kat and Alfie]. He’s a good bloke, these people come in and he’s very happy to embrace them.
Lance seems to have a strong connection with his granddaughter Adeen?
She’s not the youngest, but she’s the youngest kid old enough to appreciate him so there’s a connection and special bond. She’s obviously got a bit of a character on her and I think he feels that in some ways she’s a chip off the old block. She’s a kid and a wild child and in truth Lance is a bit of a kid and I’m not sure that he’s ever grown up. Lance has enjoyed living his life and being a lad and ok, he’s been married and had children and all the responsibilities that come with that, but the real responsibility of running the farm seems to belong to Agnes and in his time he’s played around himself and I think that the kid in him likes the kid in her.
Any challenges playing Lance?
I’m a man of his age and only a couple of years younger than he is. So it’s not like I had to age up and I like to kid myself that I’m moderately fit for my years, but probably not as naturally athletic as he seems to be. One of the main challenges of this part was on getting the character breakdown, where it was very evident that there were skills involved. Like horse riding – I’m not a horse rider but I’ve done plenty of horse riding necessary as part of my history as an actor so fair enough with that. Boats – I like boats and that sounded like fun and in fact it was fun and a bit hairy at times. The one that I wasn’t really looking forward to was swimming in the sea at this time of year, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to swimming in cold water!