Interview: Andi Osho On Returning In Blue Lights

Interview: Andi Osho On Returning In Blue Lights

One year on from series one, Belfast city centre is awash with drugs and beset by street crime. Our response officers Grace, Annie and Tommy are no longer wide-eyed rookies, and are beginning to feel the personal and psychological effects of relentless and punishing police work.

One of the stars of Blue Lights is Andi Osho, who is better known for her acting these days but has also been a successful stand-up, winning the Funny Women Award in 2007.

Watch Blue Lights series 2 in full on BBC iPlayer from 6am on Monday 15 April with the first episode on BBC One from 9pm.

Read an interview with Andi Osho, who plays Sergeant Sandra Cliff, below.

What was it like to return to the stories of Blue Lights

Coming back for season two was a real gift. You never know what’s going to happen after a show airs or if you'll get to go again so to have another shot at playing Sandra who is a character I’ve loved, has been a real joy. And because the story now brings in new characters and new tensions, its been exciting to explore all that. 

How has Blue Lights moved on from the first season for Sandra?

There’s a question mark at the top of the show for Sandra over whether or not she should stay and what the job and future look like for her after everything that happened in the first season. Gerry was the reason she was in Belfast in the first place and she’s quite close to police retirement age so she’s really having to consider what’s next.

Where do we join Sandra in the second season?

Sandra is no longer behind the custody desk. She’s been released out into the wild! She’s replaced Helen as the section skipper for the response team and that brings with it a different level of responsibility. She now has to deal with a lot of different elements in her working day but I think she probably enjoys getting stuck in and appreciates the distraction. 

What are the wider challenges the team face this year? 

In this show, I think Declan and Adam are trying to portray the grey areas and challenges of policing a major city and how a lack of resources impacts that. And so in season 2, there’s this constant tension between the realities of policing juxtaposed against policing by the book. The response officers are constantly having to make practical decisions, while the senior officers, Nicola, Helen and Canning, are thinking strategically. However, those strategic choices don’t always make sense for those on the front line and even within that, the senior officers don’t always agree on how best to execute these strategies. So basically, there’s tension in a directions with flashpoints coming up in every episode. 

Do we get to see Sandra out and about on the streets getting stuck into the job?

One of the joys for me in season two was getting out there and dealing with some criminals so I’m delighted that Sandra is out from behind the desk. Not only is that fun to play but I’ve learnt a lot about what it takes to be a police officer. I love finding the detail. That helps me build the character. How they carry themselves, the kit, the cars, the uniform all adds a level of authenticity which I think the audience responds to.

Why do you think the show was such a big success and resonated with audiences?

I could tell the scripts were special but you can never predict how an audience will react. I think people resonated with Blue Lights because it’s not a police procedural, it’s about people who happen to be police officers and the show invites you into their world from a human perspective, not a policing one. 

What can audiences expect from the second season?

It’s definitely bigger in scale and more of a pressure cooker as the response officers deal with more challenging situations but as always, it’s all about the stories, the relationships, the challenges and really how we as humans respond to all that. 

Interview supplied by BBC



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