Kerry Godliman was ready to step up to leading role status.
She reached that milestone in the series “Whitstable Pearl,” which is streaming on Acorn TV.
“It was a real privilege to play a lead, to play a character that is the anchor of the whole show,” Godliman says of the Acorn TV series. “I loved her nature. I loved her drive and her humor and her heart.”
Godliman plays Pearl Nolan on the series.
The series explores the darker undercurrent at play in the picturesque seaside English town of Whitstable.
After an unplanned pregnancy in Nolan’s 20s sidelines her dreams of becoming a detective, she raises her son, Charlie, played by Rohan Nedd, and works alongside her mother, Dolly, played by Frances Barber, to build their family seafood restaurant into a booming business.
With Charlie all grown up and the restaurant on solid footing, Nolan can’t help but feel there’s more to her future than oysters, and so she sets up her own private detective agency.
When she’s asked to investigate an old friend, Nolan is conflicted but ultimately agrees to take it on in an effort to see if she can help.
When her friend’s body is discovered under grim circumstances, Nolan has a tough time accepting it’s a tragic accident.
And her refusal to accept that it was an accident leads Pearl to Whitstable newbie, DCI Mike McGuire, played by Howard Charles.
The series is based on the “Whitstable Pearl Mystery” series, written by Julie Wassmer.
Godliman wanted Nolan to feel like a well-rounded character.
“Mike comes along and throws cold water over that,” she says. “I wanted to show her heart and integrity.”
Godliman says Nolan is initially out of her depth.
“But she comes into her own because her ambition to be a detective has never waned,” she says. “She raised her boy and is ready for a change.”
Godliman also shared many characteristics with Nolan.
“I sound like her and look like her,” she says with a laugh. “I’m a mum, and I’m from the south of England. I can be quite focused. I sometimes use humor to defuse a tense situation. It was a joy to step into her shoes.”
With her first leading role, Godliman took the time to acclimate to a more rigorous schedule.
“It was new to me,” she says of the role. “There was a big workload and never having played the lead before. We shot through the pandemic and in the dead of winter. All of the shops in the town were shut down, and people were staying at home. It was a memorable experience for various reasons.”
Of course, the drama escalates with Nolan’s relationship with McGuire.
“There’s a connection with Mike, and it could be romantic,” Godliman says. “They aren’t the type of people that just fall into each other’s arms. They have some stuff to work through before they could even think of that.”
Godliman didn’t learn of the book series until after getting the audition for the role.
She saw how beloved the book series was and decided to read the first book.
“I got a sense of Pearl through that book,” she says. “I didn’t read any more books because I wanted my portrayal of Pearl to be organic. The show is on a different journey. I wanted to give myself time to evolve into Pearl. I really hope that people make that connection with her.”
The series premiered on May 24 in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.
The months of hard work is paying off for Godliman.
“Pearl was such a joy to play and step into her world,” Godliman says. “It’s really exciting for viewers to see the finished product. The cold weather, layers of clothes and all that sacrifice was for something. It’s really exciting and I’d do it again.”