So this episode nearly didn’t happen. Work, a sick dog, and waning energy levels as we stagger towards Christmas, made starting the edit more difficult than it has been previously. Once started though, I really enjoyed listening back to Jess’s interview, almost 8 months after sitting in her kitchen and chatting over a cuppa…

And that’s what it feels like: a chat. Unlike many of the interviewees, who I had worked with in advance of interviewing them, Jessica is one of a handful I met because of an interview with another actor. Ahead of recording this episode, we had spoken for a few minutes and exchanged a couple of emails, which is why I find the conversational tone of the interview so striking and, if I’m honest, surprising. I guess that’s down to Jess, the relaxed environment (her kitchen) and the fact that she was not only “looking forward to it”, but also that she knew a little bit about what to expect. I’d like all the interviews to sound so relaxed, but often I have one eye on the recorder, and the other on my question sheet, with the consequence that even those with very good friends can sound a little more rigid than I’d want.

From a production perspective, I’m at that stage now where the ordering of the episodes is starting to become more and more difficult. Who should follow Isaiah Johnson? And who should follow that? How do I spread out the disproportionate number of Irish voices? Add to that the blog schedule and it is, at times, a headache. With the Jessica Raine interview, ever since I put the teaser out not long after it was recorded, there have been regular enquiries as to when the full version might be going live. More than any other, my chat with Jess has been anticipated by an army of fans and their fan accounts. But more than being just a Christmas present to them, Episode 8 is a fitting way to end the year in which the Honest Actors’ community was born.

Jessica was the first person I met first solely as a consequence of the this project. There have been many more since, including the bloggers with whom I’ve exchanged emails and notes, plus quite a few followers on Twitter who, following multiple interactions online, I now feel I’d recognise on the street. There is a growing company of actors building around the project, and within that, a network of new friends with whom I feel I could easily have a very relaxed chat over a cuppa.

Anyway, by the time you read this, the last episode of 2015 will be online and the total number of plays for the podcast to date will have surged to well over 50,000. Thanks to everyone for listening, sharing it with friends and for helping the ‘In anything at the minute?’ become the UK’s number 1 podcast for actors. Here’s to a new year filled with a stronger sense of community, a little less loneliness and more of the same from me and everyone involved.

Enjoy the interview. And as always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jessica Raine

Recorded in her kitchen on 25.04.15. Running Time – 36:44.

Most proud of: Her work at the National Theatre, London.

Recordings copyright Jonathan Harden, 2015. Music by Deci Gallen.

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Jonathan Harden
Actor. VO. Director. Former barman, waiter, cook, labourer, 'tugger', security guard, dish washer, removals man, bouncer, office manager, Wendy's 'Crew Member', Costa 'barista', snooker table maintenance guy, shop assistant, usher, boom op, golf buggy driver, and one-time pretend bank robber. Started this thing thinking nobody would listen.