Vigil's Romola Garai 'female heavy' second series and new film with Anthony Hopkins

Virgin Radio

9 Dec 2023, 16:55

Romola Garai's starring role in the hotly anticipated second series of military drama Vigil is but one item on a very full plate of work over this Christmas season, which includes working with Anthony Hopkins.

The actress appeared on The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose to describe her own excitement at appearing on the mystery military show, having been a fan of the past series, and like most of us who watched Garai had the same thought of 'I don't really know how they're gonna follow that,'.

Well, as according to the press release and Garai, they are following up the submarine based subterfuge by not returning to the underwater setting at all.

Following multiple unexplained fatalities at a Scottish military facility, DCI Amy Silva and DI Kirsten Longacre, played by Suranne Jones and Rosie Leslie respectively, are tasked with uncovering the cause. Entering the hostile and closed ranks of the air force, the pair must face the deadly warfare of tomorrow as they fight for their own future.

Romana Garai added a brief description about her role within the show: "I play Squadron Leader Eliza Russell. So this season is not set on a submarine. It's about drone warfare. So it's a lot about an airbase like big, open, wide open spaces. My part of the story was set up in the Middle East and so surrounds character Amy Silva comes to solve a crime and this airbase in the Middle East, and I'm in charge of that, that operate the military part of that operation. So you know, two powerful women, one for the military, one from the police kind of going up against each other."

Romola’s character Eliza has to step up as her immediate boss mysteriously flies back to Scotland, trying to keep her squadron together after the terrible incident in which some of her colleagues have been killed.

She then carried on about her joy of those 'two powerful women' fronting the show and how wonderfully unusual that is for the genre.

She continued: "There's a couple more characters of women in the story. But I mean, actually visual is a very female heavy show. As you've already got two female leads, you've got Saranne and Rose. And then there's, you know, my character and then a number of other women involved in the story. And I, you know, I think for an action, which is essentially what it is, a sort of action thriller, it's actually a lot of women at the centre of the story, which is really great. Yeah."

A nearly all female action led television series isn't the only thing that was unusual about the job for Garai.

Not only did the show actually shoot the bulk of her scenes on location in Morocco, by which Graham was very impressed, but she also had to up her pace when it came to running.

Garai explained: "There was a scene where I have to, I have to jog and I have a particularly extremely slow jogging style. Like I listened to the Today programme, when I'm running. So there's people walking with strollers walking quicker than I'm jogging."

Not exactly the most convincing pace for her a character that is supposedly meant to have high level military training.

Having to adapt, Garai then added: "So I thought, well, I should maybe just try and like, maybe jog a little bit quicker than I normally do. And then I did do lots of research, I bought lots of books about women who work in there who who've worked for the RF. So that was exciting to do that."

As explained previously, Garai has been in the middle of a storm of work recently that, like Vigil, all coincidentally revolve around some form of military drama.

Not only will she soon begin rehearsals on a new play at the Young Vic but she will also have a new film coming out on the New Year's Day, where she stars alongside national treasure Anthony Hopkins.

Nachtland, the play which Garai is due to star in, is a satire set in modern day Germany.

Nicola and Philipp argue as they clear out their late father’s house, and find an old painting stashed in the attic by a failed artist who abandoned his original vocation for Nazism. Nicola wants to sell it. Phillipp wants to keep it. His wife Judith wants to burn it.

The film, also looks back at a dark era of German history, with Romola starring as Doreen Warriner One Life, which hit cinemas on New Year’s Day. It tells the story of Sir Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Winton, a young London broker who rescued 660 children from the Nazis in the months leading up to WWII. She stars alongside Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn, and Helena Bonham Carter.


Nachtland will be at the Young Vic from February to April 2024. Tickets are available at

ONE LIFE, hits cinemas on New Year’s Day.