Jessica Barden returns to our screens in The End Of The F****** World

Jessica Barden
Jessica Barden
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Two years after the first series of The End Of The F****** World ended on a huge cliff-hanger - James's fate was left uncertain after he was shot - the comedy drama is finally back.

Star Jessica Barden, 27, talks about slipping back into the character of Alyssa, why she loves playing her, and the show's huge fan base.

Jessica Barden as Alyssa

Jessica Barden as Alyssa

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO RETURN FOR A SECOND SERIES?

It was so exciting as an actor to go back and play a character for the second time. I've never done that before! Alyssa is like my best friend, I'm really proud of her and I love playing her.

I love doing this job. TV is so competitive nowadays, lots of amazing shows don't get chance to go and do another series, so I was really grateful to do that as well.

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU RELATE TO ALYSSA?

I relate to being misunderstood in the way that she is. I will have an answer for everybody, and I will be able to speak to everybody. I can say exactly what comes into my head and be free of insecurity from that. I probably do come across like a very confident person - I can articulate the way that I feel.

But really, at the end of the day, I can also be the complete opposite of that, which I think is what a lot of seemingly confident people feel. I loved that being put more into the second series.

WAS IT EASY TO SLIP BACK INTO CHARACTER?

It was weirdly easier than I thought. It was so strange. I read the first four episodes when I was doing a Harold Pinter play ... Everybody has to try new stuff once in a while, but I found that really hard and I didn't massively enjoy it. And so, when I read this, I was like, 'Thank god!'

It doesn't really make sense for me to be in a Harold Pinter play. I don't like to feel like I'm acting, and it felt like what was required from that particular play was complete acting.

TELL US ABOUT THE JOURNEY ALYSSA GOES ON THIS SEASON...

She's dealing with the last series and the possibility of James not being in her life... She's dealing with the removal of something really amazing that happened to her, at the same time as processing the trauma of that.

People are very obsessed with James dying, but a lot of people forget that he was protecting her from a sexual predator. The series also explores what that felt like to Alyssa.

NAOMI ACKIE JOINS THE CAST AS THE MYSTERIOUS BONNIE. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HER RELATIONSHIP WITH ALYSSA?

Women don't always like each other... Everybody constantly wants to show women supporting each other, but it's why Alyssa is brilliant and why I enjoy playing her - she is an extremely flawed character.

It's great seeing her and Bonnie together - it's really funny, because they're not the same in any way. They don't have anything in common with each other.

THIS SHOW HAS A PARTICULARLY PASSIONATE FAN BASE. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

I think that people had never seen a TV show like The End Of The F****** World before.

It's very retro in the way that it looks. The way that music is used like a character as well, and a lot of really great TV shows that have stood the test of time have a fantastic soundtrack.

The Channel 4 release date was at the beginning of a very infamous time in the world with the Time's Up stuff... We were being watched at a time when people really wanted to see different types of people. They wanted to see a vulnerable male character, they wanted to see a strong female character.

DO YOU GET APPROACHED IN PUBLIC A LOT?

I get recognised a lot more in America because of my voice. People will hear me before they see me, which is also a reflection of how much I talk!

People will hear me and then be like, 'Oh my god, your voice sounds exactly the same!' And I'm like, 'Right, that's because this is my voice!' But I love that, because a lot of them don't know what Yorkshire is, or what a Yorkshire accent is, so that's a great conversation.

THE END OF THE F****** WORLD WAS NOMINATED FOR A BAFTA FOR BEST DRAMA SERIES. HOW DID THAT FEEL?

I never thought I would be in a Bafta-nominated TV show playing a character like Alyssa, no way!

I haven't always found it the easiest being an actress. I didn't know what type of career I was going to have; I couldn't see an example of me in the industry. I've never had a career I can follow, because I never could see myself in any other actors.

But, at the same time, what the industry does do really well here - and Bafta do it in all their schemes - is try and move with the times. And I think it was reflected a lot with our nomination.

The End Of The F****** World Series 2 airs on Channel 4 from Monday, November 4 to Thursday, November 7, with two new episodes double-billed every night across the week.