From Line of Duty to Game of Thrones massacre

Anna Maxwell-Martin Image copyright Sky / HBO

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for season eight of Game of Thrones and season five of Line of Duty.

Laura Elphinstone has had one hell of a month. She lost a job in the police force, got burned to death by a dragon and was poisoned by nuclear fallout.

Laura’s been in some of the biggest TV shows of the year – Line of Duty, Game of Thrones and new HBO epic, Chernobyl.

And since those appearances, she’s been spotted in the strangest places.

“I was in TK Maxx in Sunderland and a woman over the rails started whispering to me that she knew who I was,” Laura tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Laura says she started whispering back.

“She says “’re the one off Line of Duty, aren’t ,” and I was like ‘Oh ’. We were whispering over some cheap clothes.”

Chernobyl reactor

Laura played DI Michelle Brandyce in Line of Duty, the police officer who was forced to resign from her role by Anna Maxwell-Martin’s character, DCS Patricia Carmichael after making a mistake during the interrogation of Adrian Dunbar’s Superintendent Ted Hastings.

But if you thought parts of the show were hard for the audience to follow, imagine what it was like for the actors.

“The script was a bit like Egyptian hieroglyphics when I first read it,” Laura says.

“I’m not in the knowledge of what ‘code-g, subsection 2.9’ really is. I had to learn very quickly.”

“Also, you’ve got make it sound like you say this all the time and that you understand it.

“I’d never played a police officer. I’m normally the scallywag.”

Chernobyl reactor

Laura’s final Line of Duty episode was broadcast on 5 May 2019. A week later, she popped up on Game of Thrones, and was promptly barbecued by Daenerys Targaryen while trying to escape Kings Landing with her daughter.

“I don’t think I’ve been on a set that size, ever,” she says of her time filming her Game of Thrones scenes in Belfast earlier this year.

“It was like a little city. I would try and find my trailer and get completely lost quite regularly.”

Nora Image copyright Helen Sloan/HBO
Image caption Laura says Maisie is “a really good laugh to work with”

During her episode of Game of Thrones playing Nora, Laura shared scenes with Maisie Williams, who plays the show’s resident kick-ass, Arya Stark.

“She was just really warm and welcoming and you can tell that set is her home really, and she grew up on it,” she says.

“She works very hard. She throws herself into it and she encouraged me to throw myself into it as well.”

But despite stunts, soldiers and a power-crazed queen riding a dragon, Laura admits the tension in the Line of Duty interrogation room had the slight edge over her short-lived time in Westeros.

“I think DI Brandis was very aware of the magnitude of what they were doing, so maybe it was harder.”

But that’s not all. In the same week, Laura also popped up in HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries, which is based on the real-life 1986 nuclear meltdown at the Chernobyl reactor in Russia.

She says the pressure is even higher on an actor when the role is based on real life events.

“It really makes you want to honour those people as much as possible and you hope you do right by them.”

‘My brother said I was ruining TV for him’

The timing of these TV shows were a coincidence, and came as much a surprise to Laura as it did to friends and family who kept seeing her pop up on screen.

“Bless my mum, she was having to Sky+ everything,” Laura says.

“I knew roughly when things were coming out but it all became a little bit ridiculous. My friends were asking if I was ever going to be off their telly.

“My brother was fuming, he said I was ruining TV for him. He was trying to get away from me and I just keep popping up.”

Fortunately for Laura, after the tension of Line of Duty and the horror of Game of Thrones and Chernobyl, her next role is something much calmer and less stressful.

She’ll be seen in Military Wives alongside Kristen Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, a film based on Gareth Malone’s choir who beat Justin Bieber to Christmas No. 1 in 2011.

“I make it to the end, I think, but I’m nervous of going to the premiere because I swear they’re going to CGI a big monster that’s going to eat me or something.

“Who knows until I see it edited together, but I think I make it to the end.”

police officer
Anna Maxwell-Martin

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