The Rebel Interviews: Anna Crilly

An interview with Anna Crilly who plays the character Cath in The Rebel.

Anna Crilly as Cath

Why were you so taken by the offer of a part in The Rebel?

The idea of playing Simon Callow's daughter was an absolute draw. You're not going to turn that down. He's just wonderful!

Anything else?

Yes, the prospect of working with Simon, Bill and Anita was irresistible. They are an absolutely wonderful bunch to work with. Everyone was so up for it, and there was a lovely atmosphere on set all the time. You might assume that working with an older generation of actors would create a more sombre atmosphere, but far from it. It's lovely to see that actors in their prime still have a great sense of fun and mischief.

Please talk us through your character.

Cath is uptight. When I read the script, I thought she has probably had anger management counselling. She's pretty furious with life. She is highly strung and a real panicker. It's quite common when you have a parent who swings in a particular way that the kids will go in the polar opposite direction. Cath has grown up with a dad who won't conform in any shape or form. So she has swung completely the other way. She's like Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous.

How does Henry affect Cath in this series?

Over the course of the series, you see a sea change in the relationship between Cath and her dad. In fact, you start to see a change in everyone around him. Henry's influence rubs off on Jeremy, and Cath starts to soften in her attitude towards her dad and the world and see things from his point of view.

What has made Henry so rebellious?

As you go through life, you're bombarded with red tape in every aspect of life. You have to deal with parking tickets, filling in forms, call centres - all the usual gripes. You either conform to that or, like Henry, decide to rebel. Henry has decided he doesn't care what people think of him and he's going to rail against everything. In your 30s you think, "When I'm 80, I'm going to start smoking and drinking all day." Henry has decided that's what he's going to do. It's very liberating.

Tell us about working with Simon.

It's been a joy. Simon is one of the funniest and the silliest people I've ever met. We had a real giggle working on this. He is thoroughly delightful.

What about Anita?

Anita is an absolute hero of mine. I remember watching her in EastEnders and being blown away by her performance as Angie. She was such a strong character that I had in my brain that she had been in East Enders for 20 years, but in fact she only did it for three years. When you talk to her, it's like chatting to a 21-year-old as she's so young at heart. She is just great fun.

What riles you about modern life?

Whenever you try to hire a car or book flights or buy insurance, you have to do it online these days. You can't to speak to anyone on the phone. I've started to use local companies for everything. I now avoid websites because I want to be able to speak to a person. When a friend was filling in form for a US Visa recently, he accidentally clicked on the section marked, "Have you ever been refused entry to the US?" He had been offered a lead in an American film, but he didn't even get to the screen test because they wouldn't let him into the country. That's because he couldn't speak to anyone - he had to do it online.

What did you rebel against as a child?

Everything and anything. My school days were the worst years of my life. I hated them. I hated the fact that you had to do everything at a certain time. On the bell, you had to leave one classroom and go to another one. That drove me insane. I was always the one sneaking across the hockey pitches and hiding behind bushes smoking. One of my school reports from my chemistry teacher said, "Anna's sense of fun makes her a danger in the laboratory towards herself and others." I was always in trouble - just like Henry!