The Version Interview... Joe Dempsie on new BBC One drama, One Of Us

Adam Elliot and Grace Douglas are childhood sweethearts, just back from their honeymoon when they are brutally murdered. Their families, neighbours in the remote Scottish Highland village of Braeston, are devastated. But their world is turned upside down when the murderer arrives on their doorstep the night after the killing. A storm has been raging, and his car comes off the road. When the two families find him, badly injured, they are faced with a terrible dilemma…

In the search for answers, skeletons are unearthed and old wounds reopened. Everyone has secrets, but when the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, true and false, become blurred, how do you cope with the lasting and deadly consequences?

One of Us is a compelling, family based claustrophobic thriller that ultimately proves that human beings don’t know what they are capable of. It’s exploring how each different character responds in an extreme situation. It’s about murder, morality, family and the nuances of relationships between each family member. Over the course of the four episodes a lot of skeletons come out of the closet. 

 

Tell us about Rob?

He is the oldest child of the Elliot family, he is stalking the man who raped his girlfriend and during that process he hears of the brutal murder of his brother too. From the beginning, Rob is someone who has a lot to deal with. Their father upped sticks and he has had to quickly assume the role of man of the house. He is smothered by his mother Louise and has had to bear the brunt of her alcoholism and work hard to keep the family unit going. Claire has had to take up that role after Rob fled to Edinburgh with Anna (his girlfriend). He is protective of his family, verging on a hero complex, and wants to be the man who fixes things. There’s a hell of a lot to fix in this.

Tell us about Rob and Anna’s relationship?

A few months prior to us meeting the characters, his long term girlfriend Anna was raped and there wasn’t enough evidence to convict anyone. As you move on with the story, you see she’s ready to try and move on and he can’t let it go. He is sat in his truck waiting for the man who did it to emerge from work. You learn revenge isn’t alien to him and as the story unfolds, that becomes a factor. He is prepared to go to extreme lengths to protect and avenge the people that he loves.

Tell us about filming in Scotland…

It’s been amazing, not least because it’s a pace I have a real affinity with. My dad’s from Edinburgh so I have family here and I used to visit a lot and reconnect. Peebles and The Borders is beautiful and when you are used to living in London there are times when it’s too frantic. Whereas as life certainly stops in Peebles if you want it to. It’s a lovely place to work with incredibly vast landscapes which can also look incredibly isolating. Approaching Scottish winter on night shoots at 3.00am with rain machines hasn’t been great but there is no other way to shoot those scenes. When you read it in the script you think how great it is, until you have to actually do it and realise your costume is essentially just a long sleeved t-shirt!

 

Why do you think the show will appeal to audiences?

I think it will have a broad appeal. It has a brutal murder which is the most testing thing they have ever had to deal with. There is shock, grief and anger and characters people will identify with and be interested in seeing them plunged them into this situation. 

 

Catch One of Us tonight at 9pm on BBC One or catch up via BBC iPlayer.