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July 08, 2020
Updated March 03, 2023
The WGBH Drama Club has beenlooking forward to season five of Grantchester for many reasons — especially the arrival of Ellie Harding, played by the wonderful Lauren Carse. Harding shakes things up in Grantchester as a scrappy investigative reporter who may or may not get caught up in a romance with one of the series' leading men. Here are 10 facts about Grantchester’s newest addition.
1. She loves Ellie’s confidence. Ellie is a hard-working and resourceful journalist working in a male-dominated field, which Carse admires. “She’s really fun, she’s confident, she knows who she is, she’s unapologetic about everything,” Carse said. “She takes her job seriously, but not the way she lives life. I think we could all use Ellie’s way of looking at things as a really positive way of living.”
2. She got the part thanks to her chemistry with co-star Tom Brittney... Carse sent in a self-filmed audition tape to get the part of Ellie, which led to a chemistry read with co-star Tom Brittney, who plays Will Davenport. The rest is history! “We hit it off straight away,” Carse said. “It was fun, and we were laughing a lot during the audition… It was a scene that was not in the script but that was written to kind of explore the dynamic between them, where she teases him a bit. It was really nice to meet under that circumstance.”
3... and according to Brittney, the story reflects a famous Friendsduo. Over the course of season five, expect to see Ellie and Will in a will-they-or-won’t-they flirtation, much like the famous Friends duo, Ross and Rachel, as they cross paths chasing crimes. “My [character’s] moral compass starts to drift a bit,” Brittney said about Will’s professional relationship with Ellie. “Me and Ellie are going to be the Ross and Rachel of Grantchester… I want all Grantchester to be related to Friends, in some way!”
4. She does her own stunts. Ok, so there are no high speed car chases in Grantchester (yet), but there are a few garden scenes that required some physical aptitude. For a scene in which Ellie gracefully scales a garden wall, that’s Carse doing her own stunts. “I think the first time I just threw myself with just a little bit too much force because I was so keen to do it and just came right off the crash mat and into the soundman’s arms,” she said about the experience.
5. She caught the acting bug at a young age. Growing up in Nottingham, she took part in the Television Workshop, which trains budding young actors to get ready for professional careers on the stage and screen. “Since I was 11, I had my eye on this career,” she said. “I do feel really lucky that I had the upbringing and the opportunities to get into the industry.”
6. Meryl Streep is her acting idol. Carse found inspiration in Streep’s versatile career and how she persevered in the industry, even when she was denied roles early on. “I’m definitely drawn more to roles and to actors that play roles that, you know, whatever they look like as a byproduct,” she said. “But you actually see the human behind the roles. And I think Meryl Streep does a lot of that.” She also counts Maggie Smith and Judi Dench as role models. Don’t we all?
7.This isn’t her first appearance on a British crime show. In 2019, she appeared on BBC’s The Mallorca Files about a pair of detectives solving crimes on the sunny Spanish island of Mallorca. She also appeared on the BBC’s Dark Money, a not-so-sunny story about sexual abuse in Hollywood.
8. She’s a world traveller. Her Instagramis packed with colorful travel photos from all over the world, including Morocco, Rome, Malaysia, Spain, Paris and Cape Verde. #goals!
9. She’s passionate about cultivating the next generation of actors. Carse has thrown her support behind Open Door, an initiative that helps young people from low-income backgrounds obtain spots at the top drama schools in the UK, including the Midlands, where she is from. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Riz Ahmed are also patrons of the organization, so Carse is in good company.
This is amazing!! 🎈 🎉 Huge congratulations to everyone whose played/playing/about to play a part in the wonderfulness that is Open Door! I’m so proud to be a part of it @opendoorpeople 👏🏼👏🏼 p.s it should read Open Door London and East Midlands** (not Birmingham... yet 😉) https://t.co/AGqCfxG4B1
10.She values education. Even with a blossoming acting career that takes her all around the world, Carse committed to finishing her education and graduated from the UK’s Open University, which supports distance-learning for adults seeking higher education. In her dissertation, she wroteabout “the ways in which renaissance, reformation and enlightenment literature can be said to protest against tyranny in political, economic and domestic contexts.”