The Last Word

The Last Word with Joanna Fyffe, creative director, Play Dead NI

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS ROLE?
15 years

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY?
I like to start the day with a bit of research, so I might Google a particular era, place or something gruesome like the effect of different poisons. I like to give my characters names before I can think about their motivation for killing the victim. I draw a spider diagram of how they are all connected and add to it as the day goes on. A trip to the charity shops or a look on eBay for costumes is my special treat.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
Primary school teacher.

ENTERTAINMENT:
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: I love murder mysteries like Father Brown and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries as I love the 1950s and 1920s fashions in them. I also love historical programmes which give me ideas for plots and characters. I always have a notebook beside me.
FAVOURITE FILM: I love Holywood glamour, so anything from the 1940s and 1950s. I love Bette Davis; the feud between her and Joan Crawford was the inspiration for my Death of a Diva murder mystery.
FAVOURITE ALBUM CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: The Cure Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
FAVOURITE BAND: The Smiths
LAST BOOK READ: The Blue Tango by Eoin McNamee about the murder of Patricia Curran in Whiteabbey in 1953
FAVOURITE CELEBRITY: Lucy Worsley, the television historian

SOCIAL:
FAVOURITE FOOD: Chocolate
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: As a family, we love to go to our local cafe Sylvesters on the Antrim Road at the weekend for a lazy lunch.
LAST HOTEL YOU STAYED AT: The Hilton in Glasgow with three of the other actors – we there as 1920s characters to animate a Great Gatsby Ball.
LAST BAR/NIGHTCLUB YOU VISITED:
McHughs – possibly the oldest bar in Belfast and has a cosy private room at the top which is perfect for murder mysteries.
FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD: Italy for holidays and Mount Stewart for weekend family walks.
INDOOR CONCERT OR FESTIVAL: The Wedding Present in the Limelight
LAST HOLIDAY: Stirling in the lovely heatwave last summer

DRINKS:
FAVOURITE HOT DRINK: Hot chocolate
FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK:
Coke Zero
BEER OR CIDER: Cider
WHITE OR RED WINE: Prosecco
WHISKEY OR BRANDY: Prosecco
GIN OR VODKA: Prosecco
COCKTAILS OR BUBBLY: Bubbly

WHAT FOUR PEOPLE WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY?
Kate Bush, Morrissey, Tom Waits and David Bowie

ONE ITEM YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Eyeliner! But the person I really rely on is my husband. He does all of the business side of things as I am quite disorganised. Anyone who has made a booking with us will be familiar with Nigel and know how good he is.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE?
My daughter. She is 13 and has been in a few murder mysteries. She is a talented actress and she loves writing too.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL JOB?
What I am doing – just more of it. I intend to extend my work, offering interactive history lessons to schools.

FAVOURITE QUOTE?
“Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that makes you smile.” Mark Twain

THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT?
Nothing stays the same so just live in the moment and enjoy it.

INSPIRATION IN YOUR LIFE?
I take inspiration from everything – friends, history, true stories, books and places I’ve visited.

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