BBC four-part drama The Jetty from Firebird Pictures will release on the 15th July.

Here are interviews with creator, writer and executive producer Cat Jones, series director Marialy Rivas and Elizabeth Kilgarriff, executive producer for Firebird Pictures.

An interview with The Jetty’s writer, creator and executive producer Cat Jones

What is The Jetty about?

The Jetty is about a detective called Ember Manning, who starts to investigate an arson in the town she lives in and finds that it’s connected to a local sex offender who is operating in the area-and it also might be connected to a 17-year-old, missing persons cold case. Ember starts to investigate the connections between the cases and is forced to reflect upon her own past and teenage years. She starts to question whether some of the things she thought were normal and okay back then actually were, in retrospect.

Who are the main characters?

Ember, played by the brilliant Jenna Coleman, is our central character. She goes on a journey trying to find answers for crimes that were committed, but she’s also on a very personal journey of self-discovery where she’s looking back at her past and re-assessing whether the things that happened to her were okay. Her mum Sylvia–played by Amelia Bullmore, and herd aughter Hannah, played by Ruby Stokes, are really impacted by her soul searching and the three of them form the spine of the show. There are also some fantastic younger characters, Caitlin (Laura Marcus)and Amy( Bo Bragason), who are a couple of teenage girls that develop quite an unhealthy love affair. And then you’ve got Malachy (Tom Glynn-Carney) who is a grown man having an abusive and illegal relationship with Amy.

Where did the concept come from?

I’ve always wanted to write a detective thriller, as I just love them. The really special ones take a crime, but make the series about way more than just that event. It’s about asking an audience to find what resonates in that extreme behaviour, and what we can learn about our own lives from the circumstances in the story. The Jetty is fiction, but it was also loosely inspired in-part by an experience I had as a teenager, where a couple of my friends got involved in relationships with grown men. At the time we all thought it was very exciting that these older guys were interested in our younger friends, but of course when you reflect upon that later you realise that it was actually illegal and abusive. I’ve always been interested to know how those girls feel about that situation in the future. Is it something they look back on and think “we were in love, it was fine”, or do they look back and say “that wasn’t okay”? I wanted to tell a story that explores those ideas.

How would you describe the tone of the show?

It’s a detective thriller so the tone is thrilling, exciting, propulsive and intriguing. I think the tone is also set by Ember who’s very funny and dry. Although there are some serious ideas at the heart of it, I think she stops it from feeling too dark and heavy.

What are the key themes?

The Jetty is really about the relationship between men and women in a post “Me Too” world. It’s about looking at the relationship between a sexist remark in the pub against violence towards women and girls, and the fact that one can be an incubator for the other. We don’t live in a world where women and girls are safe and secure. I don’t just mean that in terms of the risk of being assaulted or murdered, but also in terms of emotional safety, financial security and access to opportunity. The Jetty is really a story about memory and reinventing yourself, as well as change and growth. In that respect I think it’s quite optimistic and hopeful. I think there’s something big and universal about the ideas of the show. These are stories that everyone can relate to


An interview with series director Marialy Rivas

What is The Jettyabout?

The Jetty is a detective meets coming-of-age series. We have two leading characters–Ember and Caitlin-that go on a journey of self-discovery. Ember is our detective who goes through a journey of re-assessing her past and understanding that she was in an abusive relationship withthe husband that she loved. What makes this different to other detective dramas out there? It’s different to other crime dramas as its storylines act as a conversation between the past and the present.

What was your vision, as director, for The Jetty?

My vision was aesthetically trying to heighten the reality, and create an ominous feel to the nature and the beauty of the setting. I wanted to find things that look real, but elevate them through the filmmaking.

How would you describe the tone of the show?

The tone has a lot to do with ominous beauty. The show has a lot of darkness and light and tension,but also sensuality. There’s an element of attractiveness to the series, but you also should feel scared of it. I think the series has the same feel as through a flame or looking at the sea. We had a great Director of Photography (Ben Wheeler) and Production Designer (Hayden Matthews)and I think it’s through every single decision we’ve made that you achieve this quality,and therefore something special.

Who will the series appeal to?

I think The Jetty will have a broad appeal across the age groups, because of the storylines and the fascinating, relatable characters we have, ranging from teenagers to grandparents. Parents will be able to watch it with their teenage sons and daughters. Via the two storylines with Caitlin and Ember, the series gets to explore many different subjects including re-assessing your marriage, therelationship between parents and children, and what it’s like falling in love for the first time.Themes with universal appeal.

An interview with Elizabeth Kilgarriff, executive producer for Firebird Pictures

What did you think when Cat first brought the idea for The Jetty to you?

On the surface The Jetty has all of the really enjoyable delicious things of a crime show. But essentially it’s a really clever, interesting portrayal of a woman dealing with grief and having to reassess her life up until now. I’m always looking for a piece that is one thing on the surface but then is also giving you something else, so it feels properly distinctive, and that’s what Cat’s idea did. It is about sexual morality, consent, coming of age, grooming, identity and relationships but it wears all of those things very lightly in the sense that it’s also just a really interesting story set in a community where various things that have happened connect very cleverly together. I also think thematically what it looks at, and what Cat wanted to explore, is how much has changed in the last twenty years in terms of women, misogyny and how much things have been buried beneath the surface. Cat has written a series in a way that allows you to look at what life was like for teenage girls twenty years ago versus now.

What makes this different to other detective dramas out there?

It’s really Ember investigating herself and her own life, and I think that’s what makes it feel so different. The crime story allows us to go into the heart of her life. I think that audiences can watch this show and love it on one level, but then realise that what they’ve been watching, they’ve perhaps been seeing in the wrong way and I think there’s something delicious and exciting about that. I really hope people will come away properly entertained by a really satisfying, clever story that keeps you guessing right until the end.



Pippa Considine

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