Irish-Cameroonian actor Susan Ateh starred alongside Shane Ritchie and Jessie Wallace in the Ireland set BBC drama, Redwater, and in the pivotal role of police constable Bernie Kelly.
Redwater is a tiny, picturesque Irish harbour village, a quiet rural idyll by the sea where the Kelly and Dolan families have lived for generations. When Kat and Alfie Moon arrives in search of Kat’s long lost son, Kat’s quest for the truth uncovers secrets that the village of Redwater would rather left buried at sea.
Susan is a self proclaimed ‘mish mash of continents’, as her mother hails from Co. Monaghan in Ireland and her father is from Cameroon. Susan’s numerous screen roles include Inner Demons by Seth Grossman and In Bruges, by Martin McDonagh. Her TV work includes the award winning series The Clinic, Holby City and Fair City.
We were thrilled to get the chance to speak with Susan about Redwater’s success and what it was like for her to return to Ireland.Image credit: Mendoza Weiss
Congratulations on the success of the show! Let’s start by hearing about how you got into acting…
Thank you. I got into acting at a very young age. I was in a French school and found their academic system quite challenging. A wonderful French teacher called madame Servy took me under her wing and introduced me to the theatre world. I was part of her after school drama club and really took to it.
Everyone is really rooting for Bernie now that Redwater is coming to close. What have you enjoyed most about this character?
I really love Bernie – she’s a momma bear. She’s has a quite strength about her that I admire. I love how determined she is.
What did you like about being back in Ireland?
Everything!! It’s so wonderful to be able to work back home. Nothing beats that feeling. I loved being around my friends and family on my days off. Filming there allowed me to discover parts of Ireland I hadn’t been to yet. So many memories to treasure from the experience.
Are the any other dramas you have watched and enjoyed recently?
Yes, we are in the golden age of television I feel. There are so many incredible dramas- ‘Luther’, ‘Happy Valley’, ‘Westworld’ to name a few…
What was it like working with the cast on Redwater? Did you form any friendships over the shoot?
I love every single member of our cast. Not only are they talented but they are the nicest humans you could meet. I formed many friendships – I feel very blessed to have met such wonderful people!
What type of character or role would you be interested in tackling next?
I’d love to tackle a period drama or a kick ass action film.
When you were growing up, were there any actors, filmmakers or films/TV shows that influenced you to go into this industry?
Growing up I just loved watching tv and films- I didn’t associate it with something I could end up doing as a job – I was genuinely such a fan of these mediums. So when I realised that it was a path I could pursue, I was over the moon. I was obsessed with My Fair Lady , The Sound of Music, Dirty Dancing and Grease when I was a kid!
With the show showcasing such beautiful Irish scenery, where would you recommend people visit if they were to take a trip to Ireland?
Dunmore East is stunning and I think the cinematographer did it justice on our show. I would highly recommend Connemara – it’s an exquisite part of Ireland.
If Redwater were to return for another series, would you like to be involved?
I had an absolute blast on Redwater – it would be fun to revisit and see what Bernie is up to!