Kerry Godliman Teases ‘Whitstable Pearl’s Mysteries & Provides an ‘After Life’ Update
The six-part British detective drama streaming on AMC Networks’ streaming service Acorn TV is based on the beloved novels The Whitstable Pearl Mystery and Disappearance at Oare. The show explores the dark side of the picturesque English town where Pearl Nolan runs the Whitstable Pearl restaurant with her family.
She isn’t just serving up seafood—Pearl is also solving mysteries as a private detective. Below, Godliman previews what viewers can expect from her resilient character and offers an update on After Life‘s upcoming season. Plus, get an exclusive look at the series with a sneak peek clip, above.
What should viewers know about your character Pearl Nolan and her role before diving into this series?
Kerry Godliman: Well, the show’s about Whitstable Pearl, and that’s me. I run a fish restaurant in the little town on the coast. Even though it’s a very successful business, she has always had a desire to be a private detective, and she has recently started doing more of that. She’s kind of a fledgling detective. And the first story that you encounter with the series is quite a shocking one that opens up lots of different stories across the six [episodes]. There’s one big story that runs through the six and that episode one starts that off really.
Speaking of stories, this series sets up a bigger mystery at the beginning along with introducing new plots in each episode. What can you tease about the main story carrying on throughout the season?
There’s a big storyline that runs through Pearl and her family. There’s some stuff about her family that slowly comes out. Also running through the six [episodes] is her relationship with Mike McGuire (Howard Charles), because they have a little “will they, won’t they” vibe, but it breaths hot and cold through every episode.
Pearl gets some pretty big cases for living in a small town. What draws her to these mysteries? Is there some luck involved?
She doesn’t seek them out—the clients come to her. So I think for whatever reason they feel that they can’t go to the police for specific cases. They go to her because they want a little more discretion. They’re not all murders, but they’re mysteries that need resolving. Sometimes Pearl’s cases and Mike’s cases overlap or have things in common, but they don’t plan it. People come to her for help and that’s fundamentally what she wants to do, she wants to help people resolve these mysteries.
Definitely. And she gets into some sticky situations.
Is it safe to say she’s in over her head at times?
I think you’re right, in Episode 1, she is a bit in over her head. You do see in a latter episode her mum try and talk her out of it. I think she’s a really proud person and she doesn’t want to admit defeat.
But is she more capable than people give her credit for?
Yeah, absolutely. I think she finds it demeaning and a bit patronizing that people don’t believe in her really and the backstory is that she always wanted to do this. She was a police officer when she was young and then she had a kid, so she decided to give it up. But I think in her heart she always intended to go back to it.
What drew you to this project and Pearl’s story?
It was a real privilege to play a lead character that has all this storyline and screen time. I’ve never played a part that big before, so I was over the moon. And I felt that there was a real heart to her that she had a real authenticity that I could relate to. As an actor, you hope to be able to play lots of different characters. It’s always exciting to do something really far out of your frame of experience and certainly Pearl’s life isn’t anything like my life. So it was quite fun.
In the genre of British mysteries, what sets Whitstable Pearl apart from others?
The location is a big draw. It’s this beautiful, unusual little town. I personally haven’t seen a character like Pearl before. She’s hard, but she’s also vulnerable and funny. She uses humor to locate certain situations and she’s romantic. I think there’s a romance to it with Mike and there’s a lot going on, there’s boats, and there’s good seafood.
Did you get to enjoy any of the seafood that you guys were serving up?
I did, yeah. There were a few occasions where they’d cook up a nice meal for the set and then it would be a shame to waste it, wouldn’t it? They had proper chefs there to make it as authentic and delicious-looking as possible. I know I enjoyed a few oysters.
You’re also working on Season 3 of Netflix’s After Life. Are there any updates you can share regarding production or other details?
We’re filming now actually, we’re about three or four weeks into it. It’s going really well. I’m still dead, so there’s no developments in that area of my character. But you get to spend a lot more time with the ensemble of characters that have been created. Unlike Whitstable Pearl, it doesn’t really have a plot per se, it’s more of a reflection or a meditation on this person’s life and how he sees his community. So there’s more of that.
Whitstable Pearl, Premieres Monday, May 24, Acorn TV