The hit BBC1 Majorca-based police drama The Mallorca Files is back. Not only is series one being repeated on Saturday evenings to record audiences, but the cast and crew are now well into filming the next series here on the island. Last week, lead actress, Elen Rhys, who stars as Detective Miranda Blake, found time between shooting at the Son Moix football stadium to talk to the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
Set amongst the vibrant international community of the island, The Mallorca Files, as millions of viewers already know, centres around Detective Blake, an introvert who is used to living by the rules, and her German counterpart Max Winter (Julian Looman), whose approach to policing is based more on gut instinct, with little interest in process.
Their dynamic - sometimes in sync, but mostly not - sets the rich humour and playful tone of the series.
Filming for the second series began last year and now they are back after the festive break to crack on with the remaining episodes. “I’m feeling really good, it’s good to be back. I think initially we thought it would be a bit easier in terms of picking up where we left off towards the end of the first series when we were so in to the characters; they were so ingrained in us, it was kind of like second nature.
“Initially there was a bit a readjustment but now it’s good. It’s great to be back with our crew. It’s lovely to be back on the island and it’s just about being back in the groove now,” Elen, who hails from Aberystwyth, said.
Prior to being cast as the lead in The Mallorca Files, Elen starred in some top TV series on British TV, such as Casualty and Silent Witness, not to mention a number of films such as Panic Button, Season of the Witch, Peasant Girl, World War Z, Flight Attendant, A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day, Eara, Apostle, The Rezort - a zombie film, of which a great deal, some five weeks, was spent filming on location in Majorca, so Elen is no stranger to parts of the island. But she said that The Mallorca Files has helped her develop and expand her talents a great deal as an actress.
“I think in this process, by being a co-lead in a show and doing ten episodes and having a really nice character to play, it provides you with the opportunity to create something richer in a way. Also, technically, I feel that I’m improving. Every day you just become more at ease with it, more relaxed, and being the nature of television, you are learning your craft on a daily basis. It just feels like I am getting better, especially on the technical side.
“And thankfully, Julian and I get on really well. But I think this time around, a lot of people have said that we’re so in sync and harmony now. By being a double act it is instinctive, so we don’t have to check in with each other as often as we did during series one. We just have a look at each other, a glance around and it just kind of happens, so I’m just really blessed that we get on and that we work really well together.
“So I’m finding that bit easier, because in the first season it was kind of like establishing this work partnership and creating the tensions, but now the characters know where they are with each other and it’s just so much easier and more fun to play off each other.
“I had been to Majorca before when I filmed The Rezort, which is on Netflix, and I shot here for about four to five weeks. That was equally as intense but it was an ensemble piece so I didn’t really have that much time off to explore the island socially. But it’s nice because some of the locations we have been to with this have brought back fond memories. I’m having deja vu moments because I’ve been and shot here before. I totally love being here. It’s the most wonderful natural set and every day we get to go to these amazing places, be it up in the mountains or on the most glorious beach. Every day there’s a wow factor to it. Even though the island is small, it just offers so much - I love living here.
“For every actor it is so nice to be able to do a series and, above all, to lead a series. With acting, sometimes one never knows when the next job is coming along and how long it’s going to last. So knowing that it is recurring, that’s what one hopes for when one starts out in acting. But it's very hard in this industry and one learns very quickly that one's aspirations might not always be achievable. So yeah, it’s amazing to have finally got this opportunity. I hope what we’re doing is also a good thing for Majorca.
“What has also been amazing is that people have embraced the show exactly for what it is. You know, it’s supposed to be light crime, feel-good and easy-watching, and people have really embraced that because I am sure some people could have said procedurally it’s not the most accurate at times. But we never set out to be a dark and intense drama. It’s supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek and people have really gone with it, and the response has been lovely.
“When the initial reviews came out we were like ‘Yes; they get it and are just happy to enjoy it’. And that’s been really heart-warming. Julian has to keep reminding me that we are going worldwide in the spring: Japan even. Initially you just think about people at home in the UK watching it on the BBC, but it’s a bit mind-blowing that people in New Zealand and Australia. for example, are going to be watching it. My friends and family, they love it. Obviously they make the odd comment, but they get it like the rest of our viewers, and I hope this is a long-running series. Plus, working with director Craig Pickles and producer Dominic Barlow (who lives on the island) is a wonderful experience.”