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Danielle Macdonald talks The Tourist


Danielle Macdonald talks The Tourist

Full of shocking plot twists, intense action and the same off-beat comedy that made series one a success, The Tourist, written by Harry and Jack Williams returns on New Year’s Day.

Set against the striking backdrop of Ireland, the upcoming series sees Elliot and Helen dragged into a longstanding feud and forced to deal with the consequences of his past actions. After Elliot quickly goes missing, Helen seeks the help of Detective Ruairi Slater (Conor MacNeill, Industry, The Fall), before secrets of Elliot’s past are later uncovered.

The Tourist returns on Monday 1 January 2024 on BBC One and iPlayer. The full series will be available on BBC iPlayer from 6am, ahead of episode one airing at 9pm on BBC One.

What Helen’s been up to since we last saw her?

Helen has left Australia and gone to Ireland with her boyfriend, to try and figure out a little bit more of who he is.

Series two introduces a wealth of new quirky characters. What new dynamics do they bring?

We’ve got two feuding Irish families that our characters get entangled in. As a result, there’s a lot of quirky characters within that, which has been fun to play with. I think I came on set and all of a sudden nothing was familiar. I was with completely new actors, directors, and creatives. It was really interesting to throw Helen into that world and see how she reacts; it has been fun.

What do you think makes The Tourist so appealing to viewers and what can viewers expect from series two?

I’m excited that it resonated with audiences. I think The Tourist is unique and it is in its own kind of genre. It’s got some darkness in there but it’s also quite funny at times. It also has lots of quirky characters. The locations really become a character in the series, and you’ll find Ireland is a big part of series two which will draw people in.

What were you expecting from the scripts for series two?

I had no idea what to expect for season two. I just love the writers and I had an amazing time with them. I think that they have such an interesting way of writing; it’s so quirky and grabs you in. So, when they said they had an idea for season two I said yes before I even knew what it was. Mainly because I wanted to work with them again and we had such an amazing time filming season one. I also love working with Jamie, so I was in straight away.

Can you tell us what challenges Helen’s faced with this series?

Helen has come a long way. She started out as this character that has a very strong moral compass but was in a very toxic and abusive relationship. She then went through a lot of crazy stuff and found her own voice and confidence. Season two really leans into that, her discovering herself further. She’s still Helen, but she’s also a bit more confident, a bit stronger, and a bit more vocal in certain ways which has been interesting and fun to play with.

What’s your favourite scene to film and why?

There was a scene I was filming with Jamie, and we’d had a long day. We had some emotional scenes, and we were shooting out of order. So, at the very last scene of the day, we were in a car and had to sit in there and talk. I had a monologue about sausages, and we both just lost it. We just could not stop laughing for about seven minutes straight, to a point of hysterics. We could not keep it together. Luckily, we got through it in the end.

The Tourist see the return of Jamie Dornan

How do you think her relationship with Elliot will be received?

Helen was in an emotionally abusive relationship with Ethan and that resonated with audiences a lot more than I even realised it would. Her relationship with Elliot is different because he accepts her for who she is. He’s very open, loving, and kind with her. Whilst he is discovering himself, he’s also discovering love, which is interesting, because he’s got this whole new, fresh start. But I do think about the fact that he did at one point essentially kidnap her in season one. Not a great start to a relationship but it did end well. Overall, we discover a lot about Elliot and Helen and their relationship and that will be interesting for people to follow and make their own judgement on.

How does The Tourist differ to your other projects that you’ve recently worked on?

You will always get different experiences. I think season one of The Tourist was one of those times where we’d all been in lockdown for a year, and then we flew to Australia to shoot the show in the Outback. Everyone was in a tiny little town at the same pub every night and so it was one of those experiences where everyone was family instantly. It was beautiful and it was something we all needed after being locked up for a year. This is also the first time I’ve brought back a character; I haven’t ever done a continuous show before. So, it has been a completely different experience for me, and I think that is probably the biggest difference between any other project I’ve done.

What do you think will appeal to international audiences about series two?

It’s about two families who are at war with each other. I think that is something that can be related to in almost any culture and will have a lot of appeal. The series is also about relationships and figuring out who you are. These are themes that everyone encounters no matter who you are or where you’re from. I think that it’ll appeal in that way too. On top of that, the series is quirky, Irish and a little bit Australian. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also make you laugh. You’ve got a little something in there for everyone.

What do you think makes Jack and Harry Williams’ writing so special?

Jack and Harry have a unique writing style. You never know where their writing is going to take you or where it’s going to lead to. They’ve got a lot of little “Jack and Harry-isms” in the scripts too which are fun. I think they write because they love the stories, and they don’t force it. They have so much fun in their writing that we have fun on set acting it out. I don’t think it always feels that way, but it’s one of those projects where you feel the fun and you feel the creativity and you can have a voice and have a say. It’s never taken too seriously in the right way too, and it’s been fun getting to work with them.

What has been your favourite location to film and why?

My favourite location was where we filmed by a lighthouse in Wicklow, on Wicklow Beach. There were three lighthouses there, and I couldn’t figure out why there were three. I then found out one was built and couldn’t be seen by the ocean, so then they built another one and accidentally did the same thing. So, then they built a third, which I just thought was hilarious. There were also wild horses running around set. It was just so stunningly beautiful.

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