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Film: Route Irish

March 2011

The latest Ken Loach film, the Iraq War-themed thriller Route Irish, co-stars Nottingham actress Andrea Lowe.
The name may not be familiar but the face should be. Over the past decade, she has appeared in countless TV dramas, among them including Cracker, Shameless, The Tudors, Murphy’s Law, DCI Banks and New Tricks.
Last week, you may have seen her opposite James Nesbitt in ITV’s new hospital-based series Monroe.
“I played a weeping mother,” laughs the 36-year-old.
Isn’t she always playing characters in distress.
“I told my agent ‘no more, please’,” she adds.
“I have done all sorts, including comedy.”
All sorts indeed. Andrea, who now lives in East London with her fiance, even cropped up in Coronation Street as a love interest for Peter Barlow, played by fellow Notts actor Chris Gascoyne.
“I was a nurse and that was quite good fun. I’d worked with him before in A Thing Called Love, which was set in Nottingham. And I played his wife in Casualty. He’s a top lad.”
She’s just made the leap on to the big screen in Ken Loach’s latest film, Route Irish.
“Ken and Paul Laverty, the writer, had wanted to do a film about Iraq for a long time. They wanted to highlight how much it has been privatised and show the devastation that’s been caused.”
She plays Rachel, the girlfriend of Frankie, a contractor working for a private security firm who is killed along a dangerous road dubbed Route Irish.
Frankie is played by arena-filling comedian John Bishop.
“When we filmed it two years ago, he wasn’t as famous as he is now,” she laughs.
“Ken didn’t even know who he was. Now he says ‘I wish I’d known how popular he was’”, she laughs.
Has she seen Bishop in stand-up?
“I have and he’s really good. But it wasn’t in an arena, it was quite a small place. That was a while ago. I need to catch up with him again for some more free tickets to see his latest show.”
Frankie’s best friend, Fergus, played by Mark Womack, doesn’t believe the official explanation for his death and sets out to uncover the truth.”
Although it was partly filmed in Jordan, Andrea’s scenes were all in Liverpool.
“They were shooting each other out there while I was back in Liverpool doing yoga,” she laughs.
“I wouldn’t have minded being out there in the midst of all the action and doing the boot camp beforehand.”
It was a six week shoot, filmed in sequence.
“It’s the way Ken works and it’s unique. We were given the script a bit at a time.”
The former Redhill Comprehensive pupil studied English and theatre at Goldsmith’s College in London but her first acting role was back in Nottingham during her teens, alongside Samantha Morton in school drama The Token King.
“For a lot of us it was our first job and we had a riot,” she says.
“We were a nightmare for the crew.”
Andrea also appeared in Morton’s directorial debut The Unloved.
“Sam is a friend of mine and she’s a brilliant actress,” says Andrea, whose parents live in Woodthorpe.
“They’re both retired now and they come and visit me on set to keep me company.”
This week she’s in Leeds filming the next series of ITV’s crime drama, DCI Banks, opposite Stephen Tompkinson.
She plays DC Annie Cabbott.
“It’s nice to play a copper, particularly one with plenty of fire. You won’t find her weeping.”

Route Irish is in cinemas now.

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