Prime Suspect is making a comeback, but don’t expect to see Helen Mirren back in the role of Jane Tennison.
The new six-part ITV series, titled Tennison, will be a prequel about the detective during her rookie years as a police officer.
Up-and-coming actress Stefanie Martini will take on the role of a young Tennison, showing how she went from Hackney copper in the 70s to one of the most fearsome officers in the Metropolitan Police.
If Mirren’s post-Prime Suspect career is anything to go by, then we can probably expect big things from Martini. Here are five things you need to know about Martini to get up to speed on the Brit actress…
She works in a pub (but probably not for long)
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Rada-trained Martini admitted she’s trying to get away from the “posh” label thrown at so many young British actors.
“I’ve had a pub job since I was 14. I’m used to working to support myself and for the first time I couldn’t when I got to Rada because you’ve got such long hours and then college work to do on top of that. I’m sure it’s easier if you have mummy and daddy there to pay rent. That didn’t happen to me so I can’t understand that side of it.”
Julian Fellowes gave her her big break
No, not on Downton Abbey. Martini’s biggest role to date was in ITV’s Fellowes scripted period drama Doctor Thorne. Holding her own alongside Tom Hollander, Alison Brie and Rebecca Front is no mean feat, but Martini pulled it off with aplomb. The critical praise for playing Mary Thorne was enough to convince the Tennison team she’s the right woman to follow in Helen Mirren’s footsteps.
She’s about to hit it big on American TV
Martini will feature in Emerald City, an upcoming NBC-produced fantasy series about linked to The Wizard of Oz. She’s playing Lady Ev, presumably a member of the Royal Family featured in L Frank Baum’s original work. With her on the show is Vincent D’Onofrio as The Wizard and Adria Arjona as Dorothy.
She grew up in Somerset
The county of cider and cheddar cheese now has something else to shout about thanks to Martini. She hails from Somerset, and acting isn’t something in the blood, as she revealed in her Evening Standard profile.
“My dad is the manager of a construction company and my mum and stepdad both work at an outdoor pursuits centre down the road,” she said. “My little brother is studying graphic design and my sister works with people with autism: they’re both awesome.”
She has Moriarty on her bucket list
“I’d love to work with Andrew Scott. There have been so many things I’ve seen recently where I’ve thought that people were amazing,” she told List For Life.
“I’d love to work with Anne-Marie Duff, and I’d love to do something crazy with Johnny Depp in – I mean, everyone would! There are so many actors out there that I’d like to work with, it’s really quite overwhelming.”