Ackley Bridge

Ackley Bridge: interview with Poppy Lee Friar (Missy)

Category: Interview

For anyone who’s not seen Ackley Bridge, explain a little about the show.

Ackley Bridge is a show about friendship, culture, love and school! Telling the stories of complex and lovable characters against the backdrop of a somewhat racially divided fictional town in West Yorkshire. It’s funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking and clever. 

Missy has a very special relationship with her next-door neighbour Nas. How would you describe it?

Missy and Nas have been friends since birth. They even share a birthday. They have so much love and respect for each other and help each other get through all the bad times as well as laugh through the good times.

You play Missy. What’s her story?

Missy is a strong, larger than life girl, but comes from a tough background where money is tight. She would do anything for her little sister Hayley. She’s not the teacher’s pet by any means but she’s a vibrant, street smart girl who is completely loyal with a huge heart. 

They’re very different personalities, and they are, in theory, from different communities. What is it that bonds them?

Missy and Nas are polar opposites but that is the reason they love each other. Missy adores Nas and her family, understands their ways and Nas’ own struggles with her sexuality within her community. They can laugh at and with each other. They’ve been together since day one and know everything about each other. Nas is school smart and encourages Missy to be the best she can be, and Missy is savvy and sassy, encouraging Nas to be herself and embrace everything. 

With Nas potentially going to Oxford to study medicine, they’re facing very different life paths. Do you think Missy is jealous, at all?

Nas is potentially going to Oxford which really excites Missy. I don’t think she thought anything less than that would be good enough for her super smart friend. However, as time goes by, it dawns on her that she may be left behind which is distressing and sad. She has so much potential, but her grades and lack of direction might mean that she will feel trapped in a life she does not want. It frightens her and makes her feel angry towards Nas for her lack of understanding and empathy. But ultimately, she is utterly thrilled that Nas is fulfilling her dream. 

The pair go to Oxford together for Nas’ interview. How did you enjoy filming there?

Oxford University is a beautiful place. The history and architecture were stunning to work in. It made me feel very studious and want to read a tonne of books! 

It’s fair to say something massively dramatic happens involving Missy and Nas. Fans are in for quite the storyline, aren’t they?

Missy and Nas have a rather shocking storyline this series yes! Fans, as usual, are in for cries of laughter and tears. 

There are some hugely emotional scenes in this story. How did you find filming them?

There are many emotional scenes in our show and they are always enjoyable to film with such a great team of actors, directors and crew. I am very connected to my character and make everything as truthful as I possibly can. 

What’s the best thing about working on Ackley Bridge?

The best thing about working on Ackley Bridge is the team. Inspiring cast and crew, writing and characters. It makes the job so easy and enjoyable, to be able to play with the scenes and have fun with it as well as delve into the depths of emotion and truth behind our characters and their journeys. It’s such a fun environment at the school in Halifax and everyone is so friendly and supportive. 

And the worst?

The worst thing would probably be the coldest days out on location in my tiny school skirt and knee high socks! Brrrr. 

The country seems to be pretty divided at the moment. Do you think, in some ways, Ackley Bridge is more relevant than ever?

Ackley Bridge is extremely relevant. The show reflects many truths in society today and it is a chance to look at them and make changes so that we can live in a world of respect, understanding and appreciation.