Thursday 30 Apr 2009
Sarah Lancashire was instantly drawn to the originality of All The Small Things on reading the scripts for the series. "I found the piece very original, it has a really unique flavour. The musical dimension makes it instantly distinctive, but also the world that Debbie's created and the characters are so cohesive."
Describing her fictional family in the drama series, Sarah says: "It's refreshing to see young people portrayed as sophisticated, intelligent people – every single one of Esther's children are just that, and that's purely because of Debbie's writing."
Sarah also had an instant empathy for her character, Esther Caddick, and the way in which she relates to those around her. "I liked the character of Esther immediately, and her closeness to her family. She has very traditional values, and clearly music is very important to her. She's also hugely generous, and her children and her family will always come first."
Esther's quiet strength of character was also something that appealed to Sarah, as she explains: "Esther is very grown-up, she just gets on with it. She's confronted with a situation and she deals with it in the only way Esther knows how, and that's realistic. Even her response to her husband leaving her is pragmatic. Esther understands that he's not fulfilled in his family life, and she's grown up enough to accept that."
When her husband Michael leaves her for glamorous soprano Layla (Sarah Alexander), Esther's newly formed choir provides her with a new focus – but it is her son Kyle (Richard Fleeshman) who is the initial inspiration.
"Esther's choir really is instigated by Kyle, and she uses it initially as a vehicle to restore his confidence and allow him to rehabilitate himself through his music.
"Kyle is a beautiful character – he's a gentle soul and gifted musician. He has a different personality which requires a different form of upbringing, he has to be catered for differently, his needs are different to the other children."
As her choir grows organically, Esther has to work at bringing the disparate group together – but this ultimately makes the choir more unique.
"What's interesting is that Esther has to combine and merge the contemporary and classical forms of music in order to make the younger members of the choir feel comfortable."
The choir scenes also involved Sarah being able to conduct convincingly, of which she says: "The conducting element was very interesting to do because it was something I hadn't done before. You're thrown in at the deep end and it's sink or swim! Fortunately we had musical advisors on board, so that helped!"