Actors are always being told to be as expressive as possible and inject emotion into every line.
But for Gemma Chan, star of multi-Bafta-nominated robot drama Humans, any sign of humanity – even drawing breath – is a no-no.
As a robotic servant, or ‘synth’, Mia, Chan’s character never has a hair out of place. “I got told off for breathing too much yesterday,” she reveals during a break from filming the second series.
It’s all been a bit of an eye-opener for new cast member Sam Palladio, who fans of US country music drama Nashville will know as unlucky-in-love singer-songwriter, Gunnar Scott. He joins the cast as Ed, a struggling cafe owner who employs Mia.
In the first season of Humans (Channel 4’s highest-rated new drama series in more than 20 years, which also averaged 2.1 million viewers in the US), Mia – also known as Anita – was purchased by the Hawkins family, but secretly experienced human emotions. Other synths also began acting outside their programming, including murderous Niska (Emily Berrington), who served humans as a sex worker, until she managed to escape. As series two kicks off, we see Niska still at large – and in possession of a secret code for consciousness.
Humans, Channel 4, Sunday, 9pm