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DCI Banks: Andrea Lowe

January 2014

WE didn’t see her in the last series as her character, DS Annie Cabbot, was on maternity leave with her first child. And the Arnold-born actress, Andrea Lowe, who plays her was doing the same.
“He’s now 20 months,” says the 39-year-old, who returns in the third series of ITV’s DCI Banks next week.
While Annie is a single mum, Andrea lives with her partner, Terry Betts, who works in fashion, in London.
“We just muddled through,” she says of the balance of motherhood and filming, which took place in Leeds from August to November.
“They were back and forth. Sometimes it wasn’t worth them being with me because the hours were crazy. Some of the time he was better off being at home in London with his dad.
“In the 11th hour, my partner was given time off work so that came as a godsend really.
“But every working parent has the same difficulty with childcare. And I still haven’t got my head around it.”
The new six-part series is based on three stories by internationally successful author Peter Robinson.
Annie returns to the team to work alongside Banks, played by Stephen Tompkinson, who filmed the BBC drama Truckers in Nottingham last year.
“He did mention that” says Andrea. “I was gutted I wasn’t part of it. I was really envious.”
The series, about a city-based haulage firm and screened late last year, was written by Billy Ivory.
“I’ve worked with Billy before, so if there was a character that was right for me, he would have got me in,” she says.
“And also, you’re not going to cast Stephen and me together in a another TV series after DCI Banks.”
She adds: “If there is another series, and I hope there is, hopefully I could be involved in that. I thought it was great.”
Caroline Catz also returns to DCI Banks playing DI Helen Morton, the disarmingly blunt and often socially inept detective who joined Banks’s team when Annie left to have her baby.
“Mine and Banks’s relationship is still at the forefront,” says Andrea, whose TV credits include Monroe, Accused, The Tudors, Shameless and Where The Heart Is.
“They don’t want to be attracted to each other but they can’t help themselves. There is both antagonism and affection there. Helen Morton adds to the mix and means Annie wants to prove herself but she’s not too worried because she is a feisty character.”
The first story, Wednesday’s Child, concerns a sinister child abduction, undertaken by a man and a woman claiming to be social workers.
As a new mum, was that a difficult story to open with?
“Not everything I’ve been involved with in my career has been gruesome and dark but characters I’ve played have witnessed a lot of tragedy,” says Andrea, who appeared alongside comedian John Bishop in Ken Loach’s harrowing film Route Irish.
“You become immune to it. And with Wednesday’s Child it’s a not a young child. Although there is a scene where we tell a mother that her child is dead and her reaction... that did get to me.”
Andrea’s first film role was alongside her friend Samantha Morton – the first really successful graduate of Television Workshop – in the musical comedy drama The Token King set in a high school in Nottingham. But Andrea wasn’t a product of the city-based acting school.
“I wasn’t although I was involved in a lot of Television Workshop projects so I feel like I was,” she says.
“And I’m friends with James Hooton (Emmerdale) and Chris Gascoyne (Coronation Street). I’ve worked with Chris a few times. We did A Thing Called Love for Billy Ivory, we played a husband and wife in Casualty and I was a love interest in Coronation Street.
“He’s a really nice guy,” she says. “Nothing like Peter Barlow. Although I quite like Peter Barlow.”
Andrea’s love of acting goes right back to her childhood in Arnold, where she grew up alongside two brothers.
At Redhill Comprehensive School she appeared in a production of Under Milk Wood and in her spare time attended Lesley Reason School of Dance in Gedling.
After studying English and theatre at Goldsmiths College in London, she cut her teeth doing small parts on telly, such as Peak Practice and The Bill.
Although she now lives in London, Andrea regularly comes home to Nottingham.
“My family are up there so I come back to see them with my son as much as I can. I was last there at Christmas.”

DCI Banks begins on ITV1 on Monday at 9pm.

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