Eve: Interview: Poppy Lee Friar (series 2)

Eve 2.6Eve has definitely changed in the second year of the CBBC show that bears her name. As the humanoid robot’s experiences of what it means to be human grow, so she’s displaying a wider range of emotions and actions. Chatting on the Glasgow set, Poppy Lee Friar explains to Paul Simpson how that’s affected her and the show…



Last time we talked about how the first year was a learning curve; has that continued, or is she widening her knowledge rather than going forward all the time?

I think this series she’s learned quite a lot. She makes her own decisions and decides what’s right and wrong. I think she’s also a bit more self-sufficient this year.

The series is quite different as well – each episode isn’t, “Oh what’s Eve learned this episode?” The story is more linear this year which I quite like.

Eve 3I think Eve is quite different this year, a little bit older and more sensible. There are new characters as well so we get to see different sides to her – a parental side which is really nice to see, a robot mum! It’s a little bit weird!

I think it has evolved slightly which has been nice because you don’t want it to be exactly the same as last year.

It needs to grow – it’s just a question of which path it took. There were so many different ways it could go in terms of her development let alone anything else in the show. Did you chat about where you might like to see Eve go?

I carry a little book and sometimes have really random crazy ideas and make notes. I mentioned things to Emma and the others things that I thought of – little quirky things. Not necessarily a proper storyline, just little ideas. It was nice to get Emma’s side as well, what she was thinking we could do in series 2.

I think it’s taken a nice turn, it’s a little more – dare I say – grown up. There’s more of a contrast between the darker side and the lighter parts. We still have the comedy which is nice; you always need that and I think that’s why we love it so much because it’s not just a sci-fi programme.

eve-christmas_1024x576The Christmas Special was lovely because we had the home stuff, really lovely and warm moments with the whole family just sitting around. I think we all loved that day – Christmas dinner – even though it absolutely stunk. Cold turkey with hot gravy on it – horrible! But the crackers and everything, the tree.

I know there’s been talk of series 3, but I don’t know anything. It’s nice to have the series evolve and change. I think some of the stories are quite complex and I’ve had such lovely feedback and kids say lovely things, a lot of the parents thoroughly enjoy it, and that’s a good thing because it means it’s not a dumbed down show for kids. It’s appealing to a wide age target audience. I think we’re in a good place.

When we spoke last time, it was just before the series premiered…

I was so terrified.

What was the reaction like? Have you gone out and people realised that you’re Eve?

It’s happened a few times. I don’t like Twitter and all that stuff but it is nice sometimes when you get lovely messages from fans. That’s the time that I’ll send a tweet saying “thanks very much, I really appreciate it” – because I do. That’s what we do it for: for people to enjoy it. It’s wonderful.

eve 2.4There was a big school trip and I was at a completely random place in London looking for an audition place I’d never been to before. There were all these kids in twos, holding hands, and one by one they were going, “It’s Eve! It’s Eve!” Two by two they kept turning their heads round – it was comedy gold. They all tried to come over to me and the teacher was terrified, taking them away. But they all looked so happy and excited.

It’s been lovely: I’ve had a lot of nice comments from adults and parents. They’ve watched it with their kids and they find it funny. It’s a nice reflection of Emma and the team’s writing, and the storyline in general.

What’s been the biggest challenge of this year? Is it still making her more human?

I think this year she has become more human. There’s a lot about her wanting to be seen as human: there are interesting storylines with Mary being her mother, her not behaving as a mother should necessarily behave. That’s interesting and quite dark. This series, she wants to be more human.

EVe 2.1Is there a different feel on production this year?

It was so weird coming back – it was like no time had passed at all! Practically everyone was the same, and I was thinking it was crazy, we were just picking up where we had left off. It would have been different if it had been a whole new crew. I think that helped our performances as well, to be around familiar faces, and to have Adrian back directing, knowing exactly what happened last year, what we talked about.

We’ve had other human robots in shows – Humans on E4, for example…

I know, right. I think it was Jez who said it was the “Year of the Robots”. It sure is. I like buying presents for people and literally everything in the shops you can find something with a robot on it. A lunchbox. Random things like a keyring. It’s been everywhere – I watched a couple of episodes of Humans, and it was very good. But we are on a totally different platform and I think it’s wonderful that we are part of that explosion of the theme of robots. It’s perfect timing – this is obviously for kids, but adults enjoy it as well. I wouldn’t call it competition…

It’s complementary?

Exactly. It’s not like we’re fighting for airtime! It’s a completely different approach. This year, Eve has been a little darker and grown up, the storylines have much more suspense and tension. There are new characters like Hoffman – all that stuff’s great. But there are still comedic moments, light-hearted, a little bit quirky.

Eve robot suitHave you had much action stuff to do?

I’m very awkward so whenever a stunt comes up, I am a little bit nervous.

I had all the stuff in episode 2, the “malfunctioning protocol clash” stuff – and then wearing the “robot suit”: I spent the whole day in a cardboard box robot stuff! I couldn’t really sit down properly, but being the professional that I am, I stayed in it all day (obviously apart from lunch!).

She is more human this year but we don’t want to lose the robot side of it – when I get a chance to play up the malfunctioning, the sci-fi side, it’s always really nice. It was visual comedy – a nice touch.

I remember on CBBC last year they did a whole thing about kids sending in their pictures dressed as the robots, which came up before the show was on telly, then the presenter did a little sketch dressed up as me with the blond wig. It was so funny!

What are you up to after you wrap on Eve?

Poppy SyndicateI’m actually quite lucky. I go into a second series of the BBC show In the Club, written by Kay Mellor who I just worked with again on The Syndicate. I wrapped in Edinburgh, went home and came back up to Edinburgh to do that at Christmas time.

I’m not in the first couple of episodes, I might have a couple of weeks off, then I’ll be going to Leeds to do that. They said they were going to write me up a little bit from last year, which was nice.

I’m still auditioning as well with self-tapes – we all help each other out and do them up here to send off to our agents.


Eve continues on CBBC on Mondays at 4.30pm. Series 2 so far is on iPlayer

Thanks to Emma Reeves and the Eve production team for all their help in organising these interviews.

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