Hope Springs: Vinette Robinson plays Josie Porritt

For Josie, life in Hope Springs offers her the unexpected possibility of finally being at peace with herself after years of feeling like an outcast.

A temperamental yet free spirit, she grew up feeling like an outsider in her middle-class, religious family home. On learning his daughter was gay, Josie’s preacher father arranged for an exorcism and her violent reaction saw her parents have her sectioned and disowned her. Shortly afterwards, an emotional Josie clashed with a controlling policeman and the result was a three-year prison stretch for GBH.

“I really like the fact the writers didn’t make her from a stereotypically deprived upbringing,” says Vinette about her Hope Springs character.

“Josie has been through a difficult time, but she still has the morals she was raised with because she was from quite a strong religious background. She definitely does know right from wrong, it’s just that her life has lead her down this different path. She still has a moral conscience, but she gets waylaid sometimes and it’s the tension between these two elements of her character that I find really interesting.”

Jail spelt the end of Josie’s plans to go to university and the educational path she dreamt of has passed her by. As a result, she’s been more accustomed to engaging her fists than her brain. She may not have the degree she wanted, but strong-minded Josie has a PhD in knowing how to stand up for herself.

“When Josie was in prison she decided she wanted a new start and reached the decision to say goodbye to her old life and move on,” explains Vinette. “She still gets into scrapes, hilariously, because her and Shoo just can’t help themselves.

“They are desperately trying to get out of a life of crime, but they inevitably lapse back into it, almost out of habit, when they’re trying to extricate themselves from difficult situations. Josie mostly does this as an emotional reaction to when she recognises that someone’s behaving in a particular way that might be a reminder of her relationship with her dad. She’s slow to anger, but she hates bullies and can’t abide injustice, so once she’s fired up she can often act first and think later.

“Personally I loved filming the scenes where Josie starts scrapping. They are great fun to do and it feels so odd because I am just not like that at all. But she never picks fights in a vigilante way, there’s always a reason behind it. It might not be the best solution but it’s coming from a good place.

“So I’ve been hitting people with metal bars and spades and all sorts of things. It’s not something I would ever normally do so it’s great to be able to be violent in a safe and legal environment. When in normal life do you get permission to do that kind of thing? Not that I want to start hitting people with metal bars, but you know what I mean!” laughs Vinette.

After the confinement of prison, Josie is positively reinvigorated by the outdoor life she’s now got on offer in Hope Springs. Refurbishing the local hotel and pub is a challenge she’s more than happy to rise to, she loves the physical effort required and finally feels she’s found a place where she could truly belong.

“Josie loves the outdoor life and through that she gets back some of the spirituality she lost when she lost her family. When she’s doing her morning hikes across the hills she thrives on being at one with nature. She relishes it and I think perhaps she’s the only one who doesn’t mind that much that they aren’t in Barbados. That was never her end goal. For Josie her end goal was to make a new life for herself and she’s doing just that.

“The other girls in the gang are her new family and I think she sees them as kindred spirits, even though they are a group of completely diverse characters from very different backgrounds. But what unites them, in a way, is that ultimately they are all caring and loving people at their core. Although, of course, they can be ruthless. Very ruthless.

“Don’t get me wrong, they are not soft women at all. I don’t think anyone would describe these women as soft,” laughs Vinette, who hails from Bradford and admits her own close-knit family can’t wait to start enjoying the Hope Springs experience.

“My family are very excited about this one because they’re big fans of all the other shows Shed has done like Bad Girls and Footballers Wives. I think Hope Springs has that similar sense of escapism and fun – it’s pure entertainment so I reckon they’re going to love it.”

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1