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Alice Lowe on Tina Goes Shopping | BAFTA Selects

As part of BAFTA Selects, a series celebrating classic film with contemporary artists - Writer, actor and director Alice Lowe joined us to discuss director Penny Woolcock’s BAFTA-nominated TV drama Tina Goes Shopping (1999). Enthralled with the uninhibited storyline of the television series, find out how this unique collaboration between the residents of a housing estate and a director has inspired her own work. 

When Life Imitates Art

Alice recognises the series leads a wave of scripted reality formats in UK television; almost a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary style that we often see today, however it’s not the typical social realism narrative – you truly don’t know what to expect but it’s magnetic.

The skill with which it’s done is so graceful and elegant, so lean & paced –

A Careful Observation

Director Penny Woolcock is known for embedding herself into a community and creating work from that experience; having been impressed with the authenticity, Alice assumed Penny was from Leeds, the area in which the series is filmed.

Someone coming in from the outside, gave it that benefit of bringing out what the essence [of the series] is, because it’s so human - you’re being introduced to a different culture and a different set of rules

Emotional Truth

Alice believes there’s a beauty in working with untrained actors. The lack of self-consciousness, vulnerability and not being overly confident results in a more honest performance; however there’s an underline hesitation across the film industry when it comes to using talent with limited experience.  

I would love to use non-actors, if that was an easy option, it’s not often – it doesn’t matter how fantastical it [story] is, the emotional has to be truthful.


About Alice Lowe

Star and co-writer of bleak comedy Sightseers (2012), Perrier Award winning comedian Alice Lowe graduated from experimental theatre to become a familiar contributor to cult television during the noughties (Mighty Boosh; Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace; IT Crowd; Horrible Histories;  Star Stories). Alice recently debuted as a director with dark revenge fantasy Prevenge (2017). She appears next with Sally Hawkins in romance Eternal Beauty (2019).