Siân Brooke

Actor and proud Midlander, Siân Brooke talks about the joy of playing Grace Ellis in Blue Lights, dealing with imposter syndrome and how finding a thriving local amateur dramatic scene as a youngster was a springboard to success

You might know Siân Brooke from hit BBC One series Blue Lights of which series two is about to air. But in truth it could be from any number of performances on stage and screen. Siân has starred in an impressive clutch of top TV shows, including Apple TV’s touching and funny series Trying, as well as Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch in which she played Holmes’s evil sister, Eurus which the Telegraph described as ‘a star-making turn’.

Then there’s HBO’s House of Dragon as Queen Aemma Arryn and Deidre Young in Amazon Prime’s Good Omens alongside David Tennant. There are theatre credits as long as your arm too including not least Ophelia in the RSC’s Hamlet, plus numerous radio dramas.


In a crowded cop show genre, the first series of Blue Lights pulled in an impressive average audience of 6.4 million. It enjoyed critical acclaim and was nominated for best new drama at the NTAs and voted one of the best TV shows of 2023 by Radio Times. With the second series about to start and two further series confirmed by BBC Studios, Siân says: “I love working on this show. The script is a little gift.”

She adds: “The characters are fully formed. The writing is just brilliant and by page three of the script I thought ‘I have to play this character.’” The trainee officers from series one including Siân’s character Grace, have grown up and shaken off the rookie status a bit. In series two their world expands tackling criminal gangs and all the complexities of that.

Siân says the success of the show has been ‘delightfully overwhelming’ particularly given the volume of police dramas available and adds that it’s impossible to be certain you have a hit on your hands even if you think the script is a winner and the performances are strong. She says: “You just don’t know how something is going to land. You could have all the ingredients, but for whatever reason it might not catch fire. Thankfully this caught on quickly and people really responded to the characters. It’s a bit different from other cop dramas. The characters are inexperienced, flawed and fallible so perhaps it’s more human.”


Growing up, Siân benefitted from a thriving local amateur dramatic scene which sparked something in her and gave her the acting bug. She spent a lot of time at Sutton Coldfield Operatic Society and Lichfield Youth Theatre and found both to be brilliantly supportive. Without the encouraging words from some of the older members, she might not have auditioned for the National Youth Theatre or later RADA.

Although Siân is not from an acting family – funnily enough her dad was a police officer and her mum a teacher – she says both her parents had a real appreciation of the arts and were always supportive of her hobby-turned-career. She remembers being ferried around to wherever she needed to be as a youngster to audition and perform.

The audition for the National Youth Theatre which was held at the Rep was a big milestone and Siân says she was ‘petrified’. She was successful. Applying to RADA felt like another huge step – one that she says she wouldn’t have had the guts to go for without a pep talk from one of the women at her local am-dram group. Again, she was successful and off she went to London.

Siân’s experienced a bit of imposter syndrome not least because there weren’t many Midlands accents in the public domain at the time. She recalls: “It was all RP. You didn’t hear a Midlands accent on the telly, but I just thought, sod it! I actually got my first job at the Royal Court in part because of my accent. It’s much more normalised now.”

The role that has stretched Siân more than any other was Eurus in Sherlock – an evil character with multiple personas. “Having to be so many characters in one was a great opportunity and a lot of fun but a real challenge too. The character also had zero empathy so that was really hard.”


One of the highlights of Siân’s career so far was working with director Mike Leigh reviving his 1979 production of Ecstasy at Hampstead Theatre in 2011. The original starred Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent so there were some big shoes to fill. Siân played Jean, a character who puts on a good face while hiding unknown depths of desperation and received rave reviews. The British Theatre guide described her as ‘the star of the night who shows great delicacy and feeling in portraying Chekhovian Jean’.

Having enjoyed such a wonderful introduction to the arts at a local level, Siân worries about funding cuts. She says: “There are great creative hubs in the Midlands, but I worry about the state of funding. The regions are desperate. Would I be able to pursue the career I’ve had if I was starting out now? I really don’t know.”

BLUE LIGHTS: At the time of going to press the BBC are stating a ‘spring 2024’ release date, so keep your eyes peeled for more details.