Eve: Interview: Rhona Croker

Rhona 2In CBBC’s Eve, Rhona Croker plays Katherine Calvin, the ruthless head of Calimov who deposed Jane Asher’s Mary Douglas. This year Katherine has known that Eve was Project Eternity which prompts her to create her own robot, KT. During filming of the final episode, Croker chatted with Paul Simpson…

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What do you think of Katherine as a character?

She’s awful! (laughs)

When I first read it, I loved the character straightaway. I think I often have a tendency to find the comedy in it, so when I went to the audition, I did it as quite comical, but then they said they were going to do it quite dramatic. She goes both ways. I quite like her wryness, but she is ruthless.

I was quite surprised how much children like her. There are a few kids who when you ask who’s your favourite character, they say, you. I asked one girl why she liked her so much, and she said, “You’re so passionate.”

I love playing this part, she’s so fun.

Rhona 4How did you get involved? Was it simply an audition?

Yes, just an audition, the same week I was up for a lead at the RSC, and then another bonkers character for another CBBC thing. It must be the way it’s written – it was so easy to read and play. I didn’t have time to prepare; I said, “I’m sorry, I think this is great but I haven’t prepared very well.” I was really honest. When you’re preparing for a massive part at the RSC, that takes your time.

What was the part?

It was Flamineo in The White Devil, and a friend of mine got it. It would have been great. It’s a part that is normally played by a man but they got a woman to play it.

It’s funny – I’ve never been cast as a villain before.

Eve - episode 1 (5)Both Michael Wildman and Jane Asher have said they see their characters as being right in their own eyes; how does Katherine see herself? How do you see her?

Good question. I think playing the character I think you have to believe that they think they’re right.

She has no scruples about declaring her aims: she wants power, she wants money and she’ll do anything to get those things. She does have glimpses of compassion and humanity. There are a few people who are out and out evil but there’s a reason for the way people behave.

She creates a new robot – K.T. / Katie / short for Katherine. At one point, Eve says, “Oh you named her after yourself”, and the way that I talk about her – “this robot is what the world is longing for, someone who will love them forever” – and you think, “Oh Katherine, do you just want to be loved?” Is that what’s wrong with her? She’s just never been loved!

We’re all villains with our own agenda, and we all think we’re right, and we’ll do whatever we can to achieve our goals.

Although her goals are more self-centred than the others?

Yes, other people really don’t matter. Even Nick, who’s probably her closest friend…

Rhona 5There’s hints in the first series of something between them – the kiss when he’s trying to distract her, for example – but how much is that affected by Rebecca, Nick’s ex-wife, turning up?

The scenes that we’ve done so far I’m so on one in terms of getting what I want that we don’t really get in it too much. When I walk in and I clock her, there is a moment – “oh it’s you, we’ve met before, oh, that’s a drag.” Rebecca is just another obstacle. I can imagine though if she was a permanent fixture, that could be a bit of a thing…

But then there’s Lord Hoffman, there have been smouldering scenes there. We’ve talked about Nick and her having a history, friendship at university, and they’ve obviously worked together or trained together. And with Lord Hoffman, there’s been a history there too.

Throughout the first season, Nick is constantly lying to her. She’s not stupid but she still allows him to get away with it. Does that continue?

He hasn’t got the same reasons – it’s not such a massive cover up this time. They both know where they stand this season: Nick knows Katherine is probably going to be unscrupulous. But he’s still surprised as how awful she is.

Rhona 3It’s the Joan Collins-type character…

It’s wonderful. I never get to say anything like this in real life – not that I’d want to, but I think that’s why the kids love it. You get to say things you’re not really supposed to say.

When we do our scenes, people say it’s like an old married couple – they call us The Honeymooners after the old TV show. They just connect somehow.

It’s a chemistry in the right sense…

Yes, they have a brilliant working relationship and achieve an awful lot. They can do what they do separately – she’s like, “I’ll do it without you, I’ll make the EMPs without you” when he walks out. Then she thinks of the work, and it’s “Nick, come back!” They click and they work, and there’s a shorthand.

But Nick married the receptionist…!

Yes, I think Katherine probably thought he was hers. It’s the classic thing, isn’t it – she doesn’t realise what she’s got until it’s gone.

Eve 1.9What’s her relationship like with Eve this year?

They have their moments. I’m not very nice about her, “your precious niece”. There is a bit of jealousy about how Nick goes on about her but that’s not the predominant thing.

Eve stands up to her and she likes that, whenever she asserts herself. I think she does see her as a person.

Does she still think of Eve as hers?

I think she’s gone, “okay, she’s untouchable.” There’s a scene with Adam where she clearly sees him as an object but not Eve. She can see that Eve has evolved and loves and is loved.

There’s a moment where they switch Eve off, and that was an emotional scene. I think we all came home with headaches because it was such a sad scene, and you’re keeping that emotion for a number of shots. But she was trying not to feel it – that’s how I was playing it for Katherine. I think she is attached to Eve.

On the assumption Katherine has somehow survived, what would you like to see happen in series 3?

I don’t know! I know at the end of the first series, I wanted to be more involved with the family and that happened this time. I wanted to be more in their world.

Rhona 1Series 1 did have Nick as a pivot – he was with the family or he was with you and Calimov – but this year it’s been far more overlapping…

Yes. I’m useful to them as well. We use each other.

They have her round for Christmas dinner – she was so out of place. I really enjoyed shooting that scene.

It’s hard. I want her to do something really excellent. Obviously she can excel and has this great mind, but her default is to do something really rotten and selfish. I’d like to see her do something good…

Eve series 2 can be watched on iPlayer

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