‘If you can’t do a sex scene when you’re 22, when can you?’ announces super laid-back Brit actress (and our new redhead hair inspo) Charlotte Spencer. And she should know. She’s famed for NSFW scenes with Will Poulter in Wild Bill and a lead role as 60s political mistress and showgirl Christine Keeler in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Stephen Ward.
And now, the ridiculously versatile talent has snapped up the lead in creepy new BBC period drama The Living And The Dead (think Pride & Prejudice & Zombies minus the slapstick). As the Essex-born star munches away on broccoli frittata and halloumi salad, we talk ginger hair, heated rollers and being the voice of Angelina Ballerina…
We’re a little bit obsessed with your hair. Is it natural?
‘I’ve actually never dyed it. I love being a redhead so much I nicknamed myself Ginge at school. That way, whenever someone would try to tease me for it and say, “Ew, you’re ginger,” I was like: “Yeah I am!” and owned it. After that the name stuck.’
Any redhead icons?
‘For me, Jessica Rabbit is the redhead, and I love Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Apparently cartoon redheads are what I go for!’
What about today’s textured ’dos?
‘I love the natural one, it’s like something out of Lord Of The Rings. I’ve had to do my own hair for a lot of events so I’ve learned to get good at it. I’ll just whack some heated rollers in and if it’s behaving itself then it looks pretty good! If in doubt, always go for the rollers, that’s what I say.’
So you’re a hair pro. What about make-up?
‘I went through an ugly phase when I was 13 and my mum always said: “You’re gonna grow into a beautiful swan one day, you’ll see.” Hopefully now I’ve started wearing make-up, I’ve grown out of it! Although I’m not into contouring. When I go out I like to dance, so if I wore that much make-up I’d look like my face was melting.’
We heard you were nominated for a Bafta for the TV drama Glue…
‘Yes! That was ridiculous. When my agent told me, I’d just come back from America and I was really jetlagged. I called my parents and the phone went completely silent because we were all crying. I think that’s when it hit me that I’m doing alright.’
Have you perfected your red-carpet pose?
‘Not yet, but after Les Mis I kept getting recognised, which was a little worrying. My costume was a pair of fake rotten teeth and this short wig. So when people say they recognise me, I’m like: “I hope not!” I’ve still got the teeth actually, they were great at Halloween.’
Weirdest job so far?
‘All acting is kind of weird. I did a film where I had to give birth and we shot it in a real hospital with a baby who was three hours old. It’s the most precious thing I’ve ever held in my life. That and my audition for Angelina Ballerina, where they asked me to do the voice of an eight-year-old mouse. Now my mum, who’s a teacher, calls me up so I can do the voice down the phone to her students. It’s great until she calls me when I’m queuing in Sainsbury’s and everyone’s looking at me.’
What do you think of today’s abandoned shoot location? Strange, right?
‘It’s fantastic. I love anything that’s deserted and eerie so today is perfect. Pop a few zombies here and there, and it’s like filming The Living And The Dead again.’
Watch all 6 episodes of The Living And The Dead on BBC iPlayer now
Hair: Sam Burnett for KMS California
Photographer: Jasper Abels