New TV show Belgravia is here to fill the period-drama shaped hole in our lives. Alice Eve takes us behind the scenes…
Right now there’s nothing we need more than an escape into the scandal and glamour of a period drama. Belgravia, written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, begins on the night of a glamorous ball in 1815, transporting us into the world of Mayfair’s elite. Thrust into this new bourgeoisie is the Trenchard family. Alice Eve (Black Mirror, Sex And The City 2) plays social-climbing daughter-in-law Susan Trenchard who is struggling within the confines of her marriage. Here she takes us behind the scenes to a world of stunning locations and beautiful, albeit rather heavy, costumes.
What was it like playing a woman from this period?
I like Susan; she built a world that people were trying to stop her building and she had to move a lot of forces aside, male and female, to do so. That feels like a universal story to me: making space to create the life you want.
The costumes look exquisite but what was it like to wear them all day?
I was wearing shoes that added an extra foot to me, Spanx, and seven petticoats. It was heavy and it hurt my back, but there was a joy in it. I won’t complain but I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to as the corset was so tight, and I like a burger. It also took 20 minutes to pee.
Julian Fellowes is the king of period drama. What was it like to work with him?
He was the highlight for me because he’s not only a lovely and measured man, but he’s a bit of a feminist, Julian. As a woman you often read a scene and you think, well she wouldn’t say that but that doesn’t really happen with him. He gives real power and real strength to female characters.
You filmed in amazing locations across the UK – what were they like to spend time in?
The historical houses were so cold! But they all had incredible paintings, so we were exposed to a lot of beautiful art. I loved walking around the Scottish countryside – it’s wilder than England’s, really magical.
Belgravia continues on Sundays, 9pm, ITV