Susan Ateh on BBC drama Kat & Alfie: Redwater

We were lucky enough to chat to Susan Ateh about the BBC’s gripping drama, Kat & Alfie: Redwater, in which she plays the savvy policewoman Bernie Kelly.

Redwater is a tiny, picturesque Irish harbour village, a quiet rural idyll by the sea where the Kelly and Dolan families have lived for generations.  When Kat and Alfie Moon arrives in search of Kat’s long lost son, Kat’s quest for the truth uncovers secrets that the village of Redwater would rather left buried at sea.

Photo credit: Mendoza Weiss

So far, Redwater has been gripping viewing – have the reactions you’ve received been as expected? I can imagine it’s difficult knowing the conclusion and having to keep quiet!

It has indeed been gripping viewing! Yes it’s always hard knowing the conclusion and having to keep quiet but my friends and family were genuinely invested in the episodes and didn’t want me to divulge anything.

The Irish cast is hugely talented. Do you feel like Irish talent (in all areas of entertainment and the arts) is being recognised enough?

Yes what an incredible cast! They are not only very talented but the nicest human beings. So loving and generous with their time.
Yes I do think Irish talent gets recognized. For a small island, ireland has produced incredible home grown talent in all aspects of the arts from poets, playwrights, directors, actors and so on.

Are there any similarities between you in real life and the character of Bernie?

To be honest not that much. Bernie leads a very different life to me which is why I reveled in the idea of playing her. I love understanding how humans function and what their primary motivation in life is.

What was it like filming the birth scene?

I actually shot the birth scene on the 3rd or 4th day. Talk about getting right into it. I have never given birth so it was a fun challenge to undertake. I had a lot of fun with that scene. I did watch a lot birthing videos too. Women are an incredible species.

Do you have any unusual skills or talents we might not know about?

Not unusual but I am a fluent French speaker and understand broken English perfectly having spent my younger years in Cameroon.

You’ve worked in both TV and film. Do you have a preference, or are the mediums simply different in good ways?

I love that in television your character can keep growing and developing for many seasons – up to 6 or 7 years. I love that in film it’s the opposite you get a set amount of time to develop and portray a character then put it to rest. Both mediums are appealing to me.

What is next for you?

I just landed back in London for the summer. I was shooting a pilot in LA. Right now I’m taking meetings and enjoying time with my family and friends.

Thank you for your time, Susan, and here’s hoping another series of Redwater is on the way!

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