Jo Joyner Interview

Jo Joyner

Q: Why do you think the first series of Marley's Ghosts was so popular?

A: It's a lovely, gentle show. Marley's Ghosts is not rude or shocking. It has a really approachable quality that appeals to a really wide audience. That has helped it sit very well with viewers.

Q: Audiences really connected with these characters in the first series, didn't they?

A: Yes. People love these characters. They're very easy to like in a love/hate way. As annoying as the Vicar is, she's also very sweet and innocent. Michael's arrogance cracks me up, as does Adam's desperation. The irony is that Adam is a much better husband dead, and Marley can no longer have him. He is the husband she should have had.

Q: Have you enjoyed being back on the set of Marley's Ghosts?

A: Absolutely. Sarah, John, Nick and I had a great time getting to know each other in the first series. So one of the loveliest thing was coming back to working with these guys. They're all really generous actors who often suggest things that benefit others. The point is we're all trying to make things better. If we have a problem, we go to the group first and say, "Guys, can you help me with this?" You don't always get that generosity on jobs. There is a really lovely atmosphere on the show.

Q: What happens to the Vicar in this series?

A: A character called the Reverend Rose appears, so there's a Vicar-off between her and the Vicar. When Rose starts quoting the Bible, the Vicar says, "Yeah, I know that." But of course she doesn't. The only part of the Bible she knows is a tiny bit about Job! She's always misquoting the Bible - I love that!

Q: Tell us about the experience of working with all three of your co-stars?

A: Sarah is just brilliant. She has a wonderful energetic attack which lifts everybody. Working with Nick can be difficult because he's so funny. Sometimes I have to do scenes with him without having any eye contact because if we look at each other, we'll burst out laughing, ruin the take and have to apologise to everyone! John is a joy, too. He brings an energy that picks you up every morning, no matter how tired you're feeling. It's very easy to create a friendly dynamic with these three.

Q: How does the Vicar get on with the other two ghosts?

A: She's very fond of them. She empathises with the fact that they are both still in love with Marley and can't be with her. But the Vicar is also having an awakening of her own. She has moments where she has a flutter with Marley, Michael and Adam. She is anybody's, which is in fact nobody's because she can look, but she can't touch!

Q: So is the Vicar somewhat self-deluded?

A: Yes. For instance, she thinks she and Marley are best friends. The Vicar is incredibly annoying in that she thinks everyone wants her around. Also, she doesn't take into account the fact that she is dead. So when Marley is on a date, the Vicar thinks she's on a date, too. She wants to chat to people even though, apart from Marley, they can't hear her. But the Vicar is ignoring that fact as it is much more fun to pretend she's part of everything. That is really irritating for Marley.

Q: Marley's Ghosts focuses on a potentially dark subject. Why do you think it works so well as comedy?

A: Because we love laughing at other people's misery! Marley experiences pain living with these people, and we find that quite gratifying. It makes our own lives feel better!

Q: You have in the past been known for hard-hitting dramas such as Ordinary Lies. Were your fans surprised to see you in a comedy?

A: Dedicated fans weren't surprised, as I've done a lot of comedy in the past. But for people who only know me from other more dramatic roles, it may be a bit of a shock. But I've had great feedback. Lots of people enjoy it because it's such lovely, harmless fun.

Q: How have you found it portraying the Vicar?

A: I love playing her. She is very sweet and fun. She is having more fun than ever now she's dead. She's allowed to hang around with cool people, which she never was before. The Vicar is actually better off dead. It's certainly better than being alone in the vicarage with lots of cats!