Ioan Gruffudd is Andrew Earlham
‘I WAS in Brisbane filming Harrow when the first series aired and people were dumbfounded,’ recalls Gruffudd. ‘People just didn’t want to believe that Andrew [a date rapist] did it even though they saw it with their own eyes, which is extraordinary. I think in some ways it’s due to casting someone like myself. People are used to seeing me play earnest good guys, so there’s no way Andrew could do it.
‘I’ve been dying to play these parts for a long time. I’ve had those clean-cut, traditional, leading-man looks but finally with age comes a bit more gravitas.’
Andrew had his throat slit at the end of series one, and Liar 2 picks up the story after his murder. So does Gruffudd believe he got what he deserved and will viewers get the answers they’re after? ‘The impact was such that there was no other way out for him — he had to suffer the consequences,’ says Gruffudd. ‘And ultimately it’ll be a satisfying ending but with plenty of twists and turns throughout. The writers have been very clever presenting the current manhunt for Andrew’s killer with flashbacks to when Andrew died, as well as ten years before to explain how Andrew became Andrew — so there’s lots to keep you mentally stimulated.’
Hornblower star Gruffudd, 46, believes the drama’s popularity was due to the beginnings of the #MeToo movement and women feeling they could speak up.
‘Laura is immensely brave,’ he says. ‘She’s been traumatised but is somehow managing to get her voice heard.’
Joanne Froggatt is Laura Nielson
‘I wondered if Laura might not have as much emotional stuff in series two and then I read the scripts and I was like, nope completely wrong!’ laughs Froggatt. ‘Of course she does! But that makes a great drama. Now Laura has two antagonists to fight against — Andrew, when we address what happens in the lead-up to his death, and then in the present day she has DI Renton, played by the brilliant Katherine Kelly.’
And Laura certainly has a lot of fight in her. When she’s arrested as prime suspect for Andrew’s murder, you’d forgive her for crumbling after everything she’s been through — but she doesn’t give up easily.
‘From the off she wasn’t going to accept what had happened to her and was going to fight for justice at any cost,’ says Froggatt, 39. ‘She’s a successful young woman used to being listened to and respected, not being a victim, so her way of coping is to fight back. To actually even report something like that to the police takes a huge amount of strength.’
One person who Laura forms an alliance with is former Downton Abbey co-star Amy Nuttall, who plays a fellow victim of Andrew. ‘Laura feels Andrew is still ruining her life even though he’s dead,’ Froggatt explains. ‘Laura and Amy’s character form a strong friendship supporting each other emotionally as they truly understand what one another has been through.’
■ Liar continues on ITV on Monday at 9pm. Catch up on ITV Hub