The Control Room – Drama


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BBC1 - Sunday-Tuesday

If you’ve ever had to call 999, the person on the other end of the line is trained to be quick-thinking and calm. That’s exactly how emergency call handler Gabe reacts when we first see him, responding to a desperate dad who rings in as his partner gives birth in their broken-down car.

But the very next call changes everything, as Sam, the woman he’s trying to help, appears to know him!

‘To prepare for the role I spent time in real-life control rooms, and the people there are a kind of invisible side of the emergency service,’ says Iain De Caestecker, 34, who plays Gabe. ‘But they do such an amazing job.’

Joanna Vanderham, 30, plays Sam. ‘She and Gabe have been living these lives that feel like they’re on a set path,’ she explains. ‘It isn’t until they meet as adults that they realise they’ve got choices. Sam comes in like a whirlwind, she sort of grabs Gabe, and they go on this adventure together where they cause absolute chaos.’

This tense three-part drama was filmed in Scotland, and was a reunion for Iain and Joanna, who previously worked together back in 2011, on Young James Herriot, about the famous vet’s formative years.

That same year, Iain also starred in the supernatural series The Fades, while Joanna was in crime drama The Runaway. He went on to appear in TV shows including Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., while she led the cast of costume drama The Paradise.

Iain and Joanna are both Scottish, and were happy to be home. ‘I spent some time before that filming in America, which was cool,’ says Iain. ‘But out there, there’s more of an emphasis on being an actor off screen rather than on screen. In Scotland, there’s zero pretentiousness!’

Martina Fowler

• All three episodes also available on BBC iPlayer from Sunday

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