Holby City's Rebecca Grant: Why I love Nottingham
Mapperley actress Rebecca Grant will be appearing on our screens this week in BBC drama Prisoners’ Wives. RIAH MATTHEWS chats to her about why she’d like to move back to Nottingham and how it feels to have your wedding in OK! Magazine
THE Nottingham Grant sisters are a talented trio. The oldest, Angela, runs a dance school while middle sister, Rachel, is best known for starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. And the youngest, Rebecca? She can be seen on BBC One this week playing a lawyer with a heart in the gritty Prisoners’ Wives.
“I play a character called Shaheen Wazir and she’s the lawyer of one of the wives. I’m helping her to try to get her husband out of jail for something that he possibly didn’t do,” says Rebecca.
The first episode of the four-part series aired on Thursday but Rebecca won’t be appearing until this week when one of the wives, Kim Haines, calls on Shaheen for help.
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“Prisoners’ Wives is quite true to life and they try to make is as real as possible. Shaheen is played as a real lawyer would treat the case, but in this particular instance she does care more than what she normally would do,” reveals Rebecca, who says she can’t give away too much for fear of ruining the story line.
The first series of the Sheffield-based drama was received well both critically and by the public and series two has new well-established cast members in the form of Pippa Haywood (The Brittas Empire) and Sally Carman (Shameless).
The role is a step in the right direction for Rebecca, who is trying to carve herself out as a more serious actress after becoming a household name playing nurse Daisha in Holby City. Being more choosy about which roles she takes means work is more limited.
She says: “There’s less work because I don’t do the work that I would have five years ago. I wouldn’t do a tour... saying that, if it was a really good role I would think about doing it. I just like to choose really good roles that I can get my teeth into.”
The 31-year-old from Mapperley has been working as an actress for more than 10 years. She left Nottingham for the bright lights of London after studying at Hollygirt School and Clarendon College.
Since then she has starred in numerous West End shows and, as well as her two-year run on Holby City, she’s appeared in Emmerdale and films including a small role in The Other Boleyn Girl.
Rebecca says: “I’m due to shoot a film this year in America. There are a couple of things that I’ve auditioned for which are really exciting.”
Although she misses home, she often finds herself in good Nottingham company on many of her jobs, which means she can reminisce.
“A lot of writers and actors and people I talk to in the industry all somehow have something to do with Nottingham.
“They either studied there, have family there or they’re from there,” says Rebecca.
“There’s so much talent in Nottingham, you look at the hub of Shane Meadows and they’re such a talented lot. They deserve to keep going and doing bigger and better things.”
Rebecca’s based in Hendon, north London, where she lives with husband Ivan Pierson, but she regularly comes back to her home city to see mum Isabel Padua-Grant, who’s originally from the Philippines, and good friend Frances Russell, who runs the White Rabbit tea shop in Hounds Gate. She also sees sisters Angela, who runs the Angela Grant School of Dance in London, and Rachel, who also works as an actress, when they return for reunions in the city.
“It’s quite easy for me to get up to Nottingham and I’d like to come up more actually. There’s just so much variety and culture in the city, especially around the Broadway Cinema. I do love Nottingham,” says Rebecca.
In fact, if High Speed 2 opens as scheduled in 2026, we might find her a resident of Notts again.
“If they bring in those magnetised trains I would probably move back. Somewhere in the countryside near to Patching’s Farm (Calverton). The ideal area for my husband and I would be commutable to London, near a train station and nearer to Nottingham,” says Rebecca.
She married Ivan, who works in publishing and film production, in 2009 and their wedding was covered by OK! Magazine.
“He’s from Whitstable and we got married in a place nearby called Ham which is in Sandwich, would you believe? We had a wonderful spread in OK! Magazine of six pages,” recalls Rebecca.
“It was nice because there was a big group picture with everyone in it so all of our friends and family went out to buy it and they were really chuffed.”
As well as working as an actress, Rebecca also sings in band The Jive Aces, which influenced her big day.
“I’m incredibly obsessed with the 1950s and my mum made my wedding dress which was 1950s and we had a 50s band. There was bunting everywhere and it was really kitsch and cute. My friends still say it was a really cool wedding and we had so much fun,” says Rebecca.
During her time in Holby City, her character, Daisha, had an eventful time including giving birth in a lift and being taken hostage. Daisha eventually left in order to bring up baby Joe in the Philippines.
Rebecca says: “I was also shot but didn’t die – the producer wanted to leave it open for me to come back, which was lovely of him.
“That was such a wonderful journey and I was thrown in the deep end with having to give birth and everything. I had to have a midwife on set to explain what contractions felt like.”
She admits that she’d like to have kids herself “in the next few years” but in the meantime she’s focusing on her career which, despite her experience, still involves lots of auditioning.
“You still have to work hard... even if you’ve done something that’s really big or renowned, it’s almost more so that you’ve got to work hard because there’s more competition at that level,” she muses.
“It doesn’t get any easier and you do have to work hard for certain things. Then suddenly, one day when you’re out doing your shopping, you get a phone call saying you’ve got the job.”
However, with the determination that has seen her and both her sisters live out their dreams, Rebecca won’t be perturbed by a few knock backs.
“It’s part and parcel of it. The only thing that makes one fail is giving up,” she says.
“If you keep chipping away you will get there. There are still things I want to do and goals I want to achieve in film and television. I’ll keep chipping away at that until it comes my way and in my heart I know it will.”
See Rebecca Grant in Prisoners’ Wives on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.