Alex Roach on form online

Alexandra Roach stars as Becky in Channel 4's complex new thriller Utopia
Alexandra Roach stars as Becky in Channel 4's complex new thriller Utopia
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ALEX Roach may be a mere 25 years old, but her impressive CV knows no bounds as she picks winning script after winning script.

She first came to prominence in last year’s The Iron Lady as a young Margaret Thatcher, but as her star continues on in its ascent, the actress appears here in Dennis Kelly’s thriller.

However, she’s not the only talent to be involved - the cast list reading like a who’s-who of young UK talent.

Roach plays Becky, one of a group of five people who have bonded through an online forum and agree to meet after gaining possession of the original manuscript of fabled graphic novel The Utopia Experiments.

But they’re not the only ones who are in the know about the manuscript; a shadowy organization known as The Network is hot on their trail and will go to any lengths to get hold of it, and it’s not long before one of the forum members is killed.

The murder is witnessed by fellow member 11-year-old Grant (Oliver Woollford), who quickly flees with the manuscript, while Becky and Ian (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) realise they’ve been set up for crimes they didn’t commit, and the final member Wilson (Adeel Akhtar) attracts the attention of Network henchmen Arby (Neil Maskill) and Lee (Paul Ready).

This is a group of people who now have a lot more on their plate than a bit of light reading...

If it sounds complicated, that’s probably because it is, but that won’t stop this thriller assuring that Channel 4 has a fantastic start to 2013.

But, as one of the stars of the show, what does Roach thinks makes it so gripping?

“Dennis Kelly’s writing is brilliant,” she says. “I also think he writes for women so well. All the female characters in this are very strong and feisty and full of personality. As soon as I read Becky, I could see her in my brain, and I could see how she was going to say her lines. I got really excited, which is really scary as an actor, because you haven’t been offered the part.

“I cancelled a holiday and everything just because I wanted this so much. I was so thrilled when I actually got it.”

And of the programme’s brutality, she explains: “I found it exhausting to film, because being on the run from halfway through episode one onwards was a lot. We were filming in Liverpool for four months and every day was really full.

“The stakes are always really high for the group, there are no scenes where you can really relax and take a back seat.

“It takes a lot out of you, filming for four months like that. You’ve got to have so much energy; you can’t go on the back foot.”