Bedlam - TV review

It’s a freezing cold day, and ex-EastEnder Lacey Turner is sitting in a room where the only warmth comes from a plug-in heater that emits an eerie red glow.

Ghostly goings-on for former EastEnder Lacey Turner as Ellie
Ghostly goings-on for former EastEnder Lacey Turner as Ellie

It’s a freezing cold day, and ex-EastEnder Lacey Turner is sitting in a room where the only warmth comes from a plug-in heater that emits an eerie red glow.

The location is St Joseph’s College in Upholland, Lancashire, a huge, disused 19th-century seminary full of rambling corridors, crumbling plaster and dark, spooky corners.

It’s the perfect setting for a supernatural drama – but the last place you’d expect to find a self-confessed chicken.

Londoner Turner, who shot to fame as Walford’s Stacey Slater, admits she’s not usually the type to be found running around a potentially haunted house – even though her first post-EastEnders role was in cult series Being Human.

“I’m scared of my own shadow, I’m scared of everything,” she says, laughing.

“I get back to my flat and I check under the bed, I check in the wardrobe, I check everything. I leave the lights on in the morning so it’s not dark when I get in – I’m that scared.”

So, understandably, she has occasionally found shooting the new series of the Sky Living drama Bedlam, which follows the creepy goings-on in a former asylum that’s been converted into luxury flats, a bit of a challenge.

“It’s so scary here,” she explains.

“We were filming about three weeks ago, and we had a power cut. Everyone else was calm, but I was running around going ‘Someone quick, get me a torch!’ I was petrified.

“People have seen things here. It has so much history, and it’s been here for such a long time that there has to be something.”

Her character, Ellie, would no doubt agree. There have been some major changes since the first series of Bedlam, with most of the original flatmates, including Will Young, moving out and a new crop of tenants taking their place.

Paramedic Ellie is among the new intake, but her psychic abilities mean she quickly realises that some old residents are still hanging around rent-free.

Fortunately, she’s better at dealing with ghosts than Turner. The 24-year-old says: “Ellie is just a normal girl fighting for a normal life. She has this supernatural side to her which she’s fighting the whole time. She’s quite a toughie, she’s great.

“I get to play and do things that I would never do myself. I would never walk down a dark corridor in a million years, but Ellie would.”

Bedlam certainly isn’t your average drama, which is a big part of its appeal for Turner, who relishes the chance to do something out of the ordinary, especially when it comes to special effects.

“I spent a lot of time not doing anything with CGI, so someone would mention it and I’d be like ‘Oh my God, I’ve never done that before!’ Or they’d say ‘Can we put you in a harness?’, and I’d be like ‘Yeah, of course you can hang me up there for seven hours!’”

The image of the pretty, petite Turner being suspended in mid-air for hours on end just goes to the show that while she may be afraid of the dark, she’s no coward.

For a start, it's not every young actress who would have walked away from a high-profile, regular job in EastEnders to take on new projects.

“It was a hard decision because I loved playing Stacey and I loved my time there, but it just got to a point where I'd been there for seven years and I was curious (about what else was out there) – and once I'm curious, I'm gone.”

Luckily, it was a risk that paid off. As well as Bedlam, Turner will soon be seen in the BBC series True Love, a largely improvised drama which also features David Tennant, Billie Piper and Jane Horrocks.

Turner said: “That was another really great experience, to not have a script, and just to read a tiny bit of stage direction for a scene that could be a good six minutes long.

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