TV Interview: Jacob Dudman on The A List

Friendship, romance, betrayal and a whole host of dark secrets are at the heart of new BBC coming of age drama The A List.

Landing on BBC iPlayer as a complete boxset, The A List (13x25’) explores the lives, loves and pasts of a group of teens in an intense crucible of powerful and addictive drama.

Mia (Lisa Ambalavanar) is at camp under huge duress. Sent by her busy parents this isn’t her idea of a perfect summer, but the late arrival of mysterious new girl Amber (Ellie Duckles) brings out her competitive nature and a battle to be Queen Bee ensues. Set in what appears to be an idyllic summer camp, it’s not long before dark secrets will turn the holiday of a lifetime into a twisted nightmare.

Amber is confident, glamorous and effortlessly charming. Her rivalry with Mia is instant and as the pair go head to head it soon becomes apparent that this is much more than a popularity contest. Amber is not a normal girl; she has powers, they are growing and they are dangerous.

Jacob Dudman tells us more…

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What attracted you to the character of Dev?
Dev has a heart of gold and I’d say he’s the sort of guy to go into a burning building to save a spider - partly because he’s a really nice guy and partly because he’s got a massive hero complex.

I thought it was interesting that in other shows Dev might be considered the male lead, but really this is a story about two very powerful female characters. It’s important to have that kind of narrative told and for the heroic romantic lead to take a back seat.

What was your standout scene of the shoot?
We had this amazing day shooting at Portencross Pier across from the Isle of Arran - Where Dev and Amber have a heart to heart just by the water. Obviously it’s beautiful scenery but also in story terms, it was really nice to have a moment where not only Dev opens up but Amber opens up as well. We see a different side to Amber when he says “I want something real” and realise she wants something real as well.

What would you like audiences to take away from watching The A List?
I think what The A List does wonderfully well is that it has a foot in each genre. So there are elements of horror in it, there’s rom-com in it, there’s heist movie elements in it, there’s comedy, there’s drama, and romance.

At first glance it can look like a young adult drama, but if you look further than that, it’s actually got a lot of different elements in it. It can be quite dark, it can be quite funny - I think a lot of teen shows don’t really have all of those dimensions.

Another thing that’s important is that it has not only a diverse cast but also a range of characters - it’s an ensemble cast of 12 in the camp - I think there’s a character you can relate to whoever you are.

How does the role of Dev differ from other parts you’ve played?
This is my first TV series. It was lovely to be with a group of people as well where, for a lot of them it’s their first TV series too.

My background was in voice acting and impressions - I only really started screen acting last year. I narrated Doctor Who audio books for the BBC Big Finish and also narrated the tenth and eleventh Doctor Who.

When I was 16 I started a YouTube channel, and started doing impressions and sketches and stuff. I went to film school - I was actually in my second year doing film production when The A List came along and I had to decide, what am I going to do? Am I going to do film production or am I going to pursue acting? So I left uni to do The A List.

What do you hope for the future of Dev and The A List?
For Dev, I hope that he is more his own, standalone character, as in he’s not attached to either of the girls, in terms of plot. I hope the show continues to grow and becomes more epic and bigger in scale and gets a second series, a bigger budget and let’s see what happens!