Angela Bassett is Eva, a confident American jazz singer who breathes life into the bomb-damaged London hotel with her music during the aftermath of World War II. She’s a member of an ensemble cast that’s led by Jim Sturgess, with Freddie Highmore, Charlotte Riley, Phoebe Fox, August Diehl, Robert Glenister, Alfie Allen, Charity Wakefield, with Lindsay Duncan, and Alfred Molina rounding out the starring cast.
Close to the Enemy is a thriller that follows British intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson (Highmore) and the hotel is at the heart of the series.
Ferguson must ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter Koehler (Diehl), hands over secret cutting-edge military technology crucial to national security. He employs unorthodox methods in his attempts to convince Koehler to work for the British. They develop a friendship, which is soon threatened as the German’s involvement in the Nazi war machine may be more than it initially seems.
Ferguson encounters a number of other characters whose stories all intertwine around the hotel.
On what attracted her to the series, Bassett said: “Because I love the BBC! It has a very rich history of doing incredible work. I’ve never had an opportunity to travel that way before… I weighed up the pros and cons, and saw there were so many pros. I realised what an amazing writer and director Stephen is. Sometimes it’s brilliant just to be in the company of someone that creative. You don’t get those opportunities every five years, or even every lifetime! So you show up and you say, ‘Yes, please!’”
Basset describes her character Eva: “She’s a courageous businesswoman who has had to leave America in the 1940s to escape racism… She moves to London to exercise her creative instincts and business acumen. She is the leader of the whole band of men. She brings life back to that once grand hotel from the bottom up… She invades the space of the buttoned up, stodgy people upstairs with her boldness, her brassiness, her beauty and her sensuality. They have never seen anyone like her before! She puts me in mind of Josephine Baker, who went to Europe, turned it on its head and generally enlivened the joint!”
Could they have cast anyone else? Nah!
We have to wonder, though, with such a cast, why it isn’t airing on BBC1? AND, of course, how much are we actually going to see the dazzling Ms. Bassett? We KNOW she will act every one of them off-screen, BUT, it looks like she will at least make an appearance in EVERY EPISODE!
SO, WE will be glued to BBC2 for all 6 episodes.
Close to the Enemy airs on BBC 2 November 14th 2016