Back To The Cold War
Summer Of Rockets is a Stephen Poliakoff drama starring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens and here’s Stephens talking about it…
Can you tell us about your character?
I play Samuel Petrukhin, a Russian Jewish émigré, who has fallen in love with the idea of being English. At the same time, he is an inventor who is very forward-looking, very progressive. He’s invented this thing called the paging device – but, during this period, he is struggling to sell it. He goes through this whole ordeal of becoming embroiled in MI5, being used as a spy against the Shaw family, who he befriends and they befriend him. The Shaws seem to Samuel to be the ideal English family. Samuel’s main journey is really one of self-realisation, I think.
What’s it like working on a period drama where a lot of work is done in real locations as opposed to on set?
It’s been a lovely experience. And we’ve been blessed with really beautiful weather – it has actually been a proper summer. I think there was one sequence where we needed some sun and it wasn’t there, but apart from that everything else has been beautiful sunshine. Filming on location is much nicer than being in a studio all the time.
So what drew you to the project?
Well, Stephen Poliakoff attracted me to it. He such a unique voice in British drama, so when he sent me the script I was interested to read it. I feel that this this project is special.
What was it like working with the other cast?
It’s one of the greatest things about this job, because there’s so many good actors who are also wonderful people. So it’s been a lot of fun. When you’re working with good people, it’s always very rewarding.
Can you sum up the series for us?
It’s a very mysterious piece. There are all these shadowy things going on and the audience sees it through the eyes of my character Samuel. They become educated in the same way Samuel does.
It’s such a rich story and I think it will be really rewarding for audiences.