The star of BBC One drama Showtrial says she has no problem portraying her a character dubbed by one critic as ‘the least likeable woman on television.’
Céline Buckens, 25, plays Talitha Campbell in the crime thriller from the makers of Line of Duty, Bodyguard and Vigil.
In the show, ‘toxic toff’ Talitha, a heiress, is arrested on suspicion of murdering her university classmate.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Belgian-born actress discussed how she ‘relishes’ playing a character people hate.
She said she is not phased by people questioning her own character as a result of her role, and says she likes the fact there are now flawed and complex characters available for actresses.
Céline Buckens, 25, plays Talitha Campbell in the crime thriller from the makers of Line of Duty, Bodyguard and Vigil – the character, an heiress, is on trial for murdering her flatmate
Talitha, the spoilt daughter of a property tycoon, pictured, has been hailed deeply unlikable by critics, something the star says she doesn’t mind
‘I like the fact that she’s flawed. I like the fact that we’ve got to a stage where the female characters that we have on screen don’t just have to be these strong, really likeable characters,’ she said.
‘They can be complex and real, and that means warts and all. People kind of hate my character, but that’s OK,’ she added.
Céline, who said she admired the fact the character she portrays on the show is not a ‘people pleaser,’ as female roles so often are.
She also revealed that some people question her own character as a result of her portrayal of Talitha, which she has chosen to take as a compliment.
Celine plays alongside Tracy Ifeachor, picured left, who plays Talitha’s defense lawyer Cleo Roberts
‘There have been some reactions that I’ve chosen to take as a compliment, where people have said either this is a really great portrayal — or the actress is a cow in real life,’ she said.
In recent years, female characters like Villanelle in Killing Eve and Queen Cersei in Games of Thrones have won acclaim for being disliked.
The series, filmed earlier this year in Bristol, explores how prejudice, politics and the media distort the legal process.
When Talitha Campbell (Celine), the estranged daughter of a wealthy property developer, is charged with conspiring to murder fellow university student Hannah Ellis, the trial that follows places victim and accused – and their families – in the eye of a media storm.
Celine, pictured as Talitha, said she likes the fact her character is complexed and flawed and not likable
Speaking of her character to the Mail on Sunday’s weekend magazine, she said: ‘I think this stroppiness and irreverence comes because she doesn’t take any situation seriously.
‘As it gets more serious, that changes a bit, but she never behaves as you’d expect. That’s kind of why she’s so seductive as a character.’
Showtrial puts the focus on how Talitha’s trial becomes sensationalised in the media and whether police place prejudice over due diligence.
‘The show gets us to look at how we’re influenced by our own prejudices. How we need to disregard things like gender or race to try and find the facts.’ Celine said.
‘What becomes emphasised is how strongly people start to feel about the trial, how invested they become. And that isn’t just people looking in. The show was so interesting to me because it looks at the criminal justice system in a way that many dramas don’t.
From arrest to verdict, Cleo and her defence vie with the prosecution to convince us of the truth about Talitha: Damaged scapegoat? Or cold-blooded killer?
The actress, pictured in 2018, said she thinks the fact people question her own character is a compliment
Earlier this year, Ben Richards, creator and writer, said: ‘I am delighted with the cast that has been assembled for Showtrial.
‘It is a brilliant ensemble of talented actors that feels modern, energetic, and perfectly suited for the complex characters and storylines.’
Zara Hayes, director, added: ‘These scripts are thoroughly gripping and yet say something truly resonant about the justice system.
Céline made her debut in 2011, playing Emilie in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.
She also played a small role in Netflix’s racy period drama Bridgerton in 2020, and played Sophie Mercer in Warrior, another period show.