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Day Of The Triffids: Joely Richardson

Joely Richardson portrays Jo, the feisty woman who joins forces with Bill (Dougray Scott) to fight back against the Triffids. These ominous plants are threatening to take over the world after a solar storm has left billions blinded. Only the resourceful Jo, Bill and a handful of others can save the human race from complete destruction.

When she was approached about playing the character, Joely's response was immediate and positive.

"I've always loved The Day Of The Triffids," beams the actress, who headlines alongside her real-life mother, Vanessa Redgrave, also her co-star in Nip/Tuck.

"The title is brilliant – I immediately reacted to it because it conjures up so many images. It's the TV series that my generation all grew up with – and it really sticks with you.

"It's weird because at first you think, 'dangerous plants? Is that really scary?' But of course it truly is frightening. I'm amazed it hasn't been remade as a Hollywood blockbuster because it's an absolute classic!"

Forty-four-year-old Joely, a big star on both sides of the Atlantic, proceeds to describe Jo.

"She's an incredibly spirited woman, and she and Bill propel things forward," observes the actress, who has made a global name for herself by playing the character of Julia in Nip/Tuck for the past five years.

"At its heart, this is a love story rather than a sci-fi tale about man-eating plants. It's about two people who really need each other, and their love takes you through the story. It's an excellent way of engaging the audience. In the end, isn't every story about love? Even if it appears to be about hate, it's about love as an antidote to that. Love makes the world go round."

The actress, who has starred in such varied fare as Freezing, 101 Dalmatians and Maybe Baby, has surprised herself by taking tremendous pleasure from the green-screen sequences in The Day Of The Triffids.

"I've enjoyed those scenes much more than I thought I would," smiles Joely.

"I imagined the green screen would be really boring. I thought we wouldn't be able to communicate with the Triffids. But, quite unexpectedly, these special effects sequences have been really good fun. The director shouts, 'action', and then you have to hide from a Triffid by ducking or scurrying behind a bush. It's been a blast. It's like being a kid again!"

Joely adds: "It's also been a great change after making a lot of more analytical drama. I've been playing the same character for the last five years in Nip/Tuck, so it's been fantastic to be out there running around and fighting Triffids. It's a welcome relief from scenes of arguing about divorce around the kitchen table!"

Joely concludes by emphasising that The Day Of The Triffids succeeds in pulling off a rare feat; it is both enormous fun and has profound things to say about the way we live now.

"On some level, you have to call it as it is and say it's fabulous entertainment. There is a huge appetite for this genre of large-scale entertainment. It doesn't need to have a message – it can be three hours of pure escapism.

"But at the same time, I think this story really does resonate. It feels like every actor says this about every programme, but The Day Of The Triffids does seem appropriate in these dark days. In these times of enormous global concerns such as drastic climate change and huge financial crises, what could be more apt than this story of how we cope with the apocalypse?"

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