Bafta Breakthrough talent Ambika Mod: We showed what key workers go through

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This Is Going To Hurt star Ambika Mod has praised the BBC series for “exemplifying what it is that key workers go through” as she was announced as one of Bafta’s Breakthrough talents.

The actress, who starred as junior trainee doctor Shruti opposite Ben Whishaw in the black comedy set in an NHS hospital, is among 33 creatives from across film, games and TV to be selected for the scheme.

Alongside names such as EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and Sex Education director Runyararo Mapfumo, she will receive professional development and global networking opportunities from Bafta, with the support of Netflix.

This Is Going To Hurt – BBC One
Ambika Mod and Ben Whishaw in This Is Going To Hurt (BBC/PA)

“And, especially with everything we’ve gone through in the last couple of years, it was a show that really exemplified what it is that key workers go through.

“We knew that we were making something really special when we were making it, but we could never have expected the outpouring of love and appreciation that we did get when the show actually came out.”

Mod said that, with its depiction of mental health, depression and suicide, many people thought their experiences had been “accurately reflected” on screen.

“It was also really funny, and I think it showed the extremes of human life at its best and its worst,” she added.

“So I’m so proud of it and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it, and I’m so glad that it had the impact that it did socially, as well as just a great piece of television.”

Mod, who has been cast in Netflix’s forthcoming adaption of David Nicholls’ bestselling novel One Day, called for more roles for young South Asian women.

Asked what needs to change in the screen industry, she said: “I experienced similar things when I was doing live comedy as well.

“I think something I experienced, especially when I started auditioning, was just the lack of good South Asian female roles for young women.

“There’s a lack of so many roles for so many under-represented groups, and I feel like things are changing and things have definitely have come on in the last few years.

“But, for example, when I got the part in One Day, that felt like a massive deal, and it really shouldn’t have felt like a massive deal because they were just trying to find the best actress for the part.

“I was incredibly lucky to happen upon Shruti. There are so many young South Asian actors like me who would have killed for a role like that.

“And I think that there’s definitely scope to look at the writing and identify what it is that we don’t have enough of.”

Runyararo Mapfumo has also been announced as a Bafta Breakthrough talent (Bafta/Sophia Spring/PA)

“I’ve got a range of projects that I’m working on, and one thing that is important and exciting for me is just to be able to work on a variety of things and exercise different parts of my creative interests,” she said.

“So, whether that’s working on a sci-fi series that’s got a period element to it, or whether that’s a more meditative character study which is part of my my debut feature, or something that has more musical influences.”

Mapfumo directed Ncuti Gatwa in the third series of Netflix hit Sex Education, before he was announced as the 14th Time Lord in Doctor Who, taking over the role from Jodie Whittaker.

“I love Ncuti, he is just such a sweetheart and we clicked straight away,” she said.

Saying she will “100% be tuning in” to watch him on the show, Mapfumo added: “He’s such an enormous talent, but he is also as kind and generous as you would hope that he is.

“I knew of him before we worked together and I think he is destined for great things for sure.”

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