Aislinn excited for latest small screen role

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

NEWRY actress Aislinn Sands will star in Channel 5's historical drama Eight Days That Made Rome.

The eight-part series will see Aislinn portray the tragic Celtic warrior Queen Boudica, who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman empire in 60AD.

Presented by English historian Bettany Hughes, the show uncovers brand new archaeological evidence, while the incredible drama brings the story of Rome to life.

Aislinn's episode - Boudica's Revenge - will air on Friday, November 24.

While the former Sacred Heart pupil didn't describe Queen Boudica as a difficult character to play, the actress did admit that it was a challenge to access a raft of emotions.

"The arc of her journey was challenging, as it necessitated an uncluttered emotional centre," said Aislinn.

"I had to access extremes of emotions in quick succession, so you have to take yourself to places that provoke painful reactions.

"That's the challenge of this job, the constant opening of doors that a sane person would keep closed."

The London based actress, whose mother and father, Frank and Rosie Sands, still live in Newry, explained that she was familiar with the history of Boudica before her involvement with Eight Days That Made Rome and was "cognisant of her reputation as a redoubtable Celtic warrior queen".

Following the death of Queen Boudica's husband, King Prasutagus, the Romans tore up his will and claimed themselves to be the sole owners of the Iceni lands (Norfolk).

When Boudica expressed her discontent, the Romans flogged the queen and raped her daughters, sparking the queen's revolt where an estimated 80,000 Romans and British were killed in three cities.

Aislinn's successful yet "nerve-wracking" audition was quickly followed by three days of filming in Bulgaria during the summer.

"We had a strong, talented cast who rose to the challenge of a very tight schedule in searing Bulgarian heat," explained Aislinn.

"Boudica's daughters were gentle and committed, Vassedo [Boudica's right hand man] was great craic, we bounced off one another well. And my husband was such a gent.

"I have unwavering respect for our director, Seb Smith, who was shooting two episodes simultaneously and his humour never broke. Not once.

"My head would've been spinning clean off my neck if I had've been in his shoes but he was unflinching and an absolute delight to work alongside."

The physical nature of Aislinn's character has only whetted her appetite for similar roles and while admitting she does have a couple of things in the pipeline, she couldn't wait to watch Eight Days That Made Rome.

"I'm genuinely excited to watch the series," she said. "I'll be a bit nervous to watch my episode though, understandably. It's always a challenge to watch yourself, it's tricky to be objective."

While Newry has produced many talented actors/actresses over the years, including John Lynch and Valene Kane, Aislinn offered this piece of advice for anyone trying to break into the business: "Have a back-up plan."

The first episode of Eight Days That Made Rome aired on Friday night and you can catch up with episode one on


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