Queens of Mystery star Julie Graham talks about murder mysteries and Cat Stone

Queens of Mystery -- Courtesy of Acorn TV
Queens of Mystery -- Courtesy of Acorn TV /

Julie Graham is known for The Bletchley Circle and Broadchurch, but now she’s taking on a fun murder mystery role. In an exclusive interview with Hidden Remote, she talks about Cat Stone in Queens of Mystery.

Queens of Mystery is the latest Acorn TV Original, certainly something that you’ll want to check out next week. Broadchurch and The Bletchley Circle star Julie Graham plays Cat Stone, the middle sister of the trio of murder mystery writers. She spoke to Hidden Remote exclusively about the series, teasing what’s to come, what she loves about Cat, and what to look forward to throughout the six-episode (three-story) series.

Hidden Remote: I wasn’t sure what to expect in Queens of Mystery, but I loved it! Cat Stone is such a quirky character. What can you share about her?

Julie Graham: She’s the middle sister, and middle children are often weird. She’s the black sheep of the family, a rebel, irresponsible. She does her own thing and knows her own mind. She went off and did the sex, drugs, and rock and roll when she was young.

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Queens of Mystery — Courtesy of Acorn TV /

She doesn’t take any s**t from anyone and she’s outspoken. I think people are scared of her. She’s great fun to play because of that. She’s an unusual person but a bit of a rebel.

HR: She seems loyal to family, even as the black sheep. She’s gone off looking for a way to prove [spoiler] isn’t the murderer.

Graham: Yeah, she’s come back into the fold and you don’t quite know why. She is still quite a singular person, a bit of a loner. Things are revealed over the course of the episodes and those secrets affect her. She comes back to repair relationships and I think she’s got ulterior motives of being there.

She’s definitely protective of Matilda and her sisters, but she isn’t as close as the other two are.

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HR: And she’s on a wild ride throughout the first couple of episodes. There’s a murder mystery element to it.

Graham: Yes, it’s very tongue-in-cheek and cartoonish. It pokes fun a bit at the genre.

HR: What’s it been like going on this ride?

Graham: Oh, it’s been really fun. We [the actors] got on really well and we bonded immediately, and that helped. We were all on set every day all the time, so bonding was important.

We also had some superb guest stars coming in and out. Every story – they’re two-part stories – has a different style and we had new people coming in and out so that kept things fresh.

It was very female-led.

HR: The last thing I saw you in was The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco. What was it like moving on from such a serious period piece to this fun murder mystery?

Graham: That’s the fun of my job, that I can play a variety of different people. Jean and Cat couldn’t be any more different. And Bletchley is a period piece, so you have to come at it from a different angle because you have to imagine the way people would talk, hold themselves in that day and age.

Cat is a very free character, but Jean is buttoned-up, proper. I went from one job to the other and it was a relief to get out of all that double tweed.

I will say it was good going from one female-led show to another. I was very lucky.

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: SAN FRANCISCO — Photo credit: Rory Donnelly/BritBox — Acquired via BritBox PR
THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: SAN FRANCISCO — Photo credit: Rory Donnelly/BritBox — Acquired via BritBox PR /

HR: The costumes in Queens of Mystery are so bright and colorful. Everything about it is completely different from The Bletchley Circle.

Graham: Yeah, we had a fantastic costume designer [Charlie Knight] who was just wonderful. She had a set idea – it was a collaborative process with the showrunner [Julian Unthank] – but she put her own stamp on all the characters. They’re very different. None of us were fighting over costumes.

It’s the same with the makeup designer [My Alehammar]. She had set ideas on how the characters should look. She was the one that came up with the mad blonde streak in my hair, which is a nod to the 80s punk.

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HR: I did find myself thinking I was in the late 80s and early 90s at times.

Graham: I know! The second story has flashbacks to my band in the 80s, so we have lots of 80s references in that.

HR: Obviously, with a murder mystery, it’s all about looking for clues. Did you know who the murderers were, or did you get the scripts slowly and have to work it out along the way?

Graham: We had the full scripts and we knew because we’d read them. But we only wanted to know what our characters would know. I didn’t guess who it was while reading it. There were nice twists.

I liked the fact there were the main plots but then the added mystery of what happened to Matilda’s mother, what the sisters know about it, and whether it would be resolved. You have a mystery running through a mystery, which I think is a nice hook for the audience. Some things would be resolved, and some wouldn’t, depending on what the writers decide to do for Queens of Mystery Season 2.

Queens of Mystery — Courtesy of Acorn TV
Queens of Mystery — Courtesy of Acorn TV /

HR: I get the feeling the number three plays an important part.

Graham: It does. There’s no doubt about it. But we’re not that cruel to the audience. Julian [Unthank], the showrunner and creator, has an overall arc in mind to play out over a few seasons, God willing. There’s no point resolving it all in the first season, but certain things are revealed.

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Watch Queens of Mystery on Acorn TV with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels! /

HR: What has been your favorite part of filming that you can’t wait for the audience to see?

Graham: I think my favorite part was Story 2. It was Cat-centric and it’s her story. There’s a lot revealed that you don’t know in the first episodes.

In Episodes 3 and 4, you see a different side to her and a vulnerability. You kind of find out what her background is. That, for me, was satisfying for me as an actor.

But my favorite parts are when the aunts and Matilda are together. They’re really fun.

HR: They’re really sweet moments.

Graham: Yeah, I think they ground it otherwise it would be all plot. Those moments give the show a lot of heart.

HR: I think a lot of shows are succeeding because of the family aspect and connections between the characters.

Graham: Yeah, you’ve got to make the audience care about the characters, otherwise, what’s the point? I think if you care about all those characters, you’re halfway to enjoying the show.

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Are you looking forward to Queens of Mystery? What has your favorite Julie Graham character been? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Queens of Mystery premieres on Apr. 8 on Acorn TV.