Lucie Shorthouse

In gritty police drama, Rebus, Lucie Shorthouse plays a young DC finding her groove with a tricky partner. We caught up with the award-winning actress six years after she first featured as one of our Young, Gifted and Brummie stars

In 2018, we interviewed Lucie Shorthouse for our Young, Gifted and Brummie series. At the time she was winning awards for her West End debut as Pritti Pasha in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and was keen to get stuck into some juicy TV roles.

Six years on and she’s doing that with bells on. The second series of hit Channel 4 comedy We Are Lady Parts kicked off in May, and an altogether more serious affair, BBC One Scottish police drama, Rebus is airing now.

The adaptation of Ian Rankin’s gritty Inspector Rebus novels was created by Gregory Burke in which Lucie plays DC Siobhan Clarke (Shiv) alongside Richard Rankin (no relation to the author) as John Rebus. The show is enjoying excellent reviews with probably the most meaningful feedback from Ian Rankin himself who described the show as ‘terrific’.


The six-episode series has brought Rankin’s books up to modern day with a younger Rebus – one who’s still flawed and messy just younger. Lucie plays Rebus’s newly-appointed partner – she’s not only new to the force, she has come through an accelerated pathway which middle-aged men in police dramas always seem to take umbrage with. What’s more, she’s not Scottish and she’s a woman, so there were a few barriers for Siobhan to breakdown, but Lucie assures me: “She finds her groove.”

Shot in Scotland last summer, Lucie says Rebus was ‘lovely to film’ and despite the gritty nature of the programme, the cast and crew had such a laugh it could have been a comedy. Ian Rankin was on set a few times and while he was supportive there was a moment at the screening where Lucie had a wobble about whether he’d like it or not. She needn’t have worried.


Lucie says her parents used to watch the original series, so she was aware of the Rebus books, but hadn’t read any. She says: “I read a bit of an extract of the original so that I could understand the world I was stepping into, but I didn’t want to go too far in as the portrayal on screen might be different from the books. I wanted to get it right. Ian Rankin books are part of the Scottish social fabric so there was a bit of pressure.”

While Lucie would have been open to doing a Scottish accent were it required, she’s pleased that her natural Midlands lilt is on show. She says: “I think it’s great that a Midlands accent is more commonly heard on TV. I hate to say it, but it’s become a bit trendy. Stephen Knight’s Peaky Blinders and Your Town have helped, and the BBC and Netflix are now investing in Midlands voices.”


When we talked in 2018 it felt like Lucie’s career was just taking off, so Covid hit at an awkward time professionally. She says: “There were three years of work time I didn’t get to capitalise on. In one way it was nice that everyone stopped. There’s so much competition for roles and during Covid we were all on a level playing field.”

She adds: “We Are Lady Parts was ready to film in 2020 so I knew I had that plus on a personal note I moved back to the Midlands just before the pandemic and had green spaces and family close by. If I’d been living in a box in London, it would have been different.”

On moving home to the Midlands, Lucie thinks it’s ideal. Aside from being close to family, Lucie enjoys the convenience of the location. She explains: “Rebus was filmed in Scotland, Henocalypse in Liverpool and I can be in London quickly, so as an actor it’s ideal.” Lucie has lots of friends who’ve been pushed out of London due to the cost and she says in your late twenties you think about what you really want and make some changes. She’s always encouraging friends to make the move to the Midlands!


In 2018, Lucie had said she wanted to be successful but not famous. I suggest that might be getting harder, but she says she really doesn’t get recognised. She can still pop to Aldi looking rough no bother. Her character in Lady Parts wears a full niqab so that probably helped. Lucie says she’d like to become something she calls a ‘clicky fingers actor’ which means instilling an ‘ooh what have I seen her in?’ reaction in audiences.

It tends to mean an actor is working regularly so is familiar to viewers but flying just under the radar of crazy attention. She says: “I’ve been hunted down on social media a few times and people have sent me lovely messages but other than that I’m not really recognised.” If we catch up with Lucie in another six years, we have a hunch that might just be different.

HIGH DRAMA: Catch Rebus on BBC One, plus all six episodes are available on BBC iPlayer