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Kerry Godliman talks about 'Whitstable Pearl', and everything you need to know about season 1

Both a talented actor and a comedian Kerry Godliman, is best known for her appearances on Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, Triggerpoint, Taskmaster, Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

Her acting skills have seen her receive critical acclaim for her roles in Channel 4’s Adult Material her Netflix’s hit series After Life, Triggerpoint, Call the Midwife, Derek, Save Me and Whitstable Pearl, which comes to UKTV Play and Drama this month.

Everything you need to know about Whitstable Pearl

What is Whitstable Pearl about?

If you love a crime drama, you’re definitely going to have this one in your top 10. 

Based on the novels by Julie Wassmer, Kerry Godliman plays single mum Pearl – a Whitstable native and local restaurant owner – who is pursuing her lifelong dream of starting a private detective agency.

But when a friend dies suspiciously, and new out-of-towner DCI Mike McGuire (Howard Charles, Top Boy), believes it could just have been an accident, Pearl finds herself clashing with the new DFL (Down From London) cop. Can they put aside their differences and work as a team to uncover the truth?

Ahead of season 1 landing on Drama and UKTV Play, we had the privilege of catching up with the leading lady to discuss the hit show...

Kerry Godliman as Pearl Nolan


What can you tell us about Pearl and her character?

Pearl is a very strong, independent woman. She's a single parent. She's a business woman, and she's getting to a chapter in her life where I think her son's about to leave home or thinking about leaving home, and she's realised that she's going to have more time to do things that maybe she had to sacrifice before. So, she's making time to sort of fulfil her own dreams, and one of those is to be a private investigator. So yeah, she's starting a new business, which is Pearl Nolan P.I.

Love that for her. Out of curiosity, what drew you to the role?

Well, it's very nice to play a lead. I hadn't played one before, so I was over the moon when they asked if I'd do it. 

I mean, I couldn't do what Pearl does, but I relate to her nature and I think being a woman in what used to be a traditionally male-dominated arena is something I can sort of relate to. I think she's funny, and she's brave and she's quite moral. She has a sort of moral compass that she prides herself on. 

She's warm, she's maternal. There are lots of things in there that I could relate to.

In my opinion, I feel like DCI McGuire. I'll have like a very good dynamic, but it wasn't that way. At the very, very, very beginning. So, if you're able to, without any spoilers, of course, are you able to tell us about how the dynamic of their relationship progresses or develops throughout the series, or is that too close to a spoiler?

No, it's integral to the series. I mean, their dynamic is a big core part of what is what the show is. It’s like you said initially – they get on each other's nerves. Then they're attracted to each other. There's definitely a flirtation between them. Then they start to weave a sort of respect for each other, and they're sort of two sides of the same coin in that he is the law, and she is very much not the law. 

There are things that he is restrained in what he can do and she's probably a little bit jealous of him because he's got the job she always dreamed of having. But she is also free from the law to do kind of occasionally slightly risky things. Things that she maybe should or shouldn't be doing, and that slightly annoys him – she can cross a line that he'd rather she didn't. 

But then they just start to build a relationship and they will start to depend on each other. And underneath that, there's a flirtation. There's an attraction there.

I did get the impression that because Pearl is more conversational and chatty, she can just casually go and talk to somebody… she can just have the conversations that people might not necessarily want to have with the police.

Yeah, exactly. And also, he's not from that town. That's how they complement each other. He's obviously successful in his career and he's able he's able to operate in one way. And she is a different kind of communicator. She's a community member, he's an outsider. So, she's got a lot of trust with people in that community. She knows people and he's slightly rips  her for it. He's like ‘You think you know people you don't know people. I know what some individuals are capable of’. And she's like ‘oh yeah but I've known him. I used to babysit for him’. She's got a connection with the community, which, yes, arguably, sometimes maybe she is wrong, but I think she has a very, very good instinct for people.

I think so. Can I ask, what you enjoyed most about the role, other than being able to relate and playing the lead for the first time?

I loved the humour. I feel like I'm in a territory that I'm comfortable with because of the humour in it. That’s a lovely part of playing Pearl for me. I love her warmth. I love her anger. She can be quite cross with people, and I like that. I like the honesty of her is. As you see her is how you find her sort of thing.

It's, it's definitely a lot different from like a traditional whodunnit crime drama, where there's a crime at the beginning and then you spend the whole of the episode or the whole of the series trying to work out who committed the crime. This has got many different narratives running through it, and you kind of find yourself wanting to find out more about Pearl, and more about her mother and more about other characters in there as well. 

Definitely. It's quite rich in that way. It does have loads of opportunities to go in loads of different directions, because all the characters are completely believable and you know, like true life, they've all got a story to tell.

What can viewers expect from Whitstable Pearl?

Well, there are lots of threads to it. There's an overarching story that covers, like across the whole [series]. Then there are characters that come and go within each episode. There's a long-term relationship that we see develop and blossom, if you like, between Mike and Pearl. There are family relationships that we see, relatable dynamics between mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, sons leaving home, estranged fathers. There are lots of themes that run through this show.

Is there a certain episode or a certain moment that you think viewers should absolutely watch out for?

Well, I love episode one because I do really enjoy that opening sequence when she's on the boat and she discovers Vinnie's body and it and it's very dramatic. I think it sets its stall out quite early on for the kind of tension and the beauty and the location. So, I think that it serves to pull you in from at one there. But then similarly episode 6 sort of ties up a lot of the storylines, so it all clicks into place for [the final episode of the series]. Pearl, get some answers for some pretty difficult questions that she puts on her family. So it kind of it. It all sort of is all kind of bound to itself in a way. 

A big standout for me is the location – it's so beautiful. think it's such a beautiful-looking show it makes you want to move there… I mean, look there is there is that tradition, that seaside towns have a pretty dark underside it's got that darkness to it that I just think is so delicious. And it's perfect for a crime.

So, do we find out more about Pearl's back story?

Yes, you do. You get these individual standalone stories within each episode, and then you get a sort of backstory across the whole series where you find out a lot more about her and her family.

Whitstable Pearl release date

Season 1 premieres on Drama Thursday, 14 March at 9pm, airing Thursday nights at the same time. And, with six episodes there’s plenty to keep you on the edge of your seats wondering what’s next.

You’ll also be able to stream on UKTV Play if you miss it (but trust me you’re going to want to catch it!), watch the trailer below:

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