Boiling Point’s Hannah Traylen: ‘Just Because You’re Working Class, Doesn’t Mean You’re A Stereotype’

The actress tells Grazia how she worked closely with the team to develop her character from simply depicting a working-class stereotype

Hannah traylen

by Millie Payne |
Updated on

The nerve-shredding 2021 Netflix film Boiling Point - set in the high pressure environment of a professional kitchen - raked in over $1 million at the box office, earned worldwide acclaim and scooped four awards at the British Independent Film Awards.

And now, the one-shot drama is being followed up with a BBC sequel series, welcoming back lead star Stephen Graham, along with many of the original cast members who contributed to the film’s success.

Among them is Hannah Traylen, who is reprising her role as kitchen porter Holly. In the film, viewers watch her land in a difficult situation and undertake some dodgy deals. But the series is going to tell a different story, as Holly moves away from a life of what Hannah calls ‘petty crime’.

The actress tells Grazia how she worked closely with the team to develop her character from simply depicting a working-class stereotype.

Describing Holly as ‘not too different to me’, Hannah adds, ‘When you've got an accent like mine - a really thick, regional London accent - you can sometimes be boxed. Along with [director] Philip Barantini and [costume head of department] Jess Schofield, we worked on the idea of taking that stereotype away and putting more indie into her. She’s a bit more 3D than what you see in the film. Just because you’re working class doesn’t mean you’re a 2D stereotype.’

The film charts the pressures faced in a restaurant kitchen, as head chef Andy Jones (Stephen Graham) grapples with the intensity of leading his team on the busiest and most chaotic day of the year.

The TV sequel is set six months later in Carly (Vinette Robinson)’s restaurant, with each episode delving deeper into the different characters’ lives.

Detailing what makes Boiling Point a triumph, Hannah says, ‘I think what it does really well is show what's going on behind those closed doors. Everyone can see themselves somewhere within it, whether it be the cost-of-living crisis story or something within a mental health or addiction story. It touches on so many things and it goes straight to the heart.’

Hannah Traylen as Holly in Boiling Point
'When you've got an accent like mine - a really thick, regional London accent - you can sometimes be boxed,' she tells Grazia. ©BBC

Whilst the film was a one-shot take, the BBC opted for a more traditional approach to filming. After the film’s four-gong win at the British Independent Film Awards, including for Best Cinematography, Hannah recognises there is pressure for the series to have the same impact, but wants to celebrate it for being its own entity.

‘The more present you can be, the better things come from it,’ she acknowledges. ‘I'm a big believer in the law of attraction and energy, all of that sort of stuff. If you can just be here and be present and make it for the art, that shines through the screen.’

She adds, ‘Boiling Point is This Is England-esque in the way it’s a film, then TV series. It’s got its own personality.’

It was on the set of Boiling Point where Hannah – who has also starred in Hounded, Ridley Road and Behind Her Eyes – channelled her passion for writing into her first short film, Small Fry, which has been picked up by Made Up Productions.

Small Fry is about growing up and loneliness within a working-class area. It’s the same with Boiling Point, in the sense of the face you put on down the pub to your mates, as opposed to what's actually going on in here in your environment. Themes like alcoholism and abortion are touched on within the film, too.’

As well as acting, writing and producing, Hannah has dabbled in singing and songwriting, previously supporting garage duo Artful Dodger.

‘I don’t understand this idea of lanes,’ she admits. ‘Whatever your heart wants at that time, you’ve just got to follow the instinct and see where it takes you. If you've got an impulse to do something creatively, then do it. We're not here long enough to sit around and worry too much about whether you're allowed to or not. My nan always says, “It's better to say sorry than ask for permission.”’

_Boiling Point premieres on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday 1 October.
Main image -
Photographer: Tatiana Galic
Styling: Farrah O'Connor
Hair and Make Up: Levi-Jade Taylor
Hannah is wearing: Jacket by Norma Kamali, Jeans by Levi’s and Jewellery by Alighieri

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