What is the Poppy Cat series about?
The Poppy Cat series is about Poppy Cat’s adventures with all of her friends. They all play together but then every episode something happens — there’s a bit of drama. Then Poppy Cat unfurls her bandana and magics up a ship or a rocket or a submarine and they all go off on an adventure together and solve the problem.
What was it that attracted you to being the voice of poppy cat?
I was attracted to being the voice of Poppy Cat because Poppy Cat is just brilliant! I’ve always wanted to play some sort of animated character and I adore animals, so to play a cat is just fantastic. But I also love Poppy Cat because she’s strong, she’s determined, she’s not scared of anything, she’s very brave, she’s lovely and kind, she’s not selfish, she looks after her friends and she doesn’t back down from anything — and I think I’ve got some of those qualities! It’s just really exciting to play a cat who is so strong and really up for it. And also everybody loves Poppy Cat; the books have been such a success. So to actually play Poppy Cat is such an honour – I’m over the moon.
What preparation did you need to do for the role?
My preparation for Poppy Cat was actually to study my Jack Russell dog! I’ve studied her for about ten years of her life and I think I’ve incorporated all of her animal ‘things’ into my voice. Listening to all of the other characters it’s really funny because everybody is so suited to their character. And it’s so well written, that you just say the lines. And they’ve cast it so well that naturally you’re very similar to your character. So I find that when I’m reading Poppy Cat I would probably react the same way as she does about lots of different things. I think my research is to make sure my voice is okay and to make sure that I don’t go too fast and that I get the right feel for it because it’s aimed towards children. Just to try and get the story, try and put across what you want to put across, and make your voice understood. Try and get the essence of Poppy Cat; try not to be too giggly or too scared — just know the way that Poppy Cat would play the story.
How different is being a voice artist to appearing on stage or on television?
Being a voice artist is completely different to performing on stage or on TV. You’re very lucky – if you’ve got to be in very early in the morning, you could turn up in your pyjamas if you want to! You don’t have to wear any make-up or look particularly good because it’s all in your voice. But because it’s just your voice that people hear you have to know what you’re playing. You have to know the story, completely commit to it and know what’s going on. Because if a voice artist is feeling a bit nervous, or they’re not confident, or they don’t know what they’re doing the audience will hear it straight away and you won’t believe it. Whereas on TV and in the theatre there’s so much going on and the audience is watching and listening to stuff so you can get away with a lot more. But if you’re on radio or you’re voicing a character you really have to be spot on.
How long does it take to record an episode of Poppy cat?
With the rest of the cast recording an episode of Poppy Cat can take all day because we’ll be giggling and messing around a lot! But the other day I was on my own – I went in at 1.30 and I worked until five and I recorded 12 scripts, because I don’t like to stop; when I’m in the flow of it I like to just keep going and doing all of the episodes. So it takes a good few hours and I’ll probably go through and record about 12 episodes.
Who are your favourite characters from the series?
I love Egbert because he’s so sweet! I love his voice. And I feel so sorry for him because you want to include him. All the other characters are really sweet because they do try and include Egbert and he’s the one who doesn’t really want to be included. And I also absolutely adore Owl. I love it that he’s so wise but also slightly sarcastic. I do think that adults watching will like Owl as well. He does make me laugh! I can’t listen to Chris [Neill – voice of Own] because when he’s speaking to me all I see is a big owl and that makes me laugh so much! And I love Zuzu’s voice! But I’ve got to be honest: Egbert and Owl are my favourite characters.
What are you favourite moments from the series?
My favourite moments from the series are always when we’re in a submarine and we’re underwater. I think it looks absolutely hilarious when we’ve got our scuba diving helmets on – and when we’re swimming. You can see Zuzu’s feet and Poppy cat’s feet just sort of floating and it looks so comical! I adore all of the scenes when we’re all under the water.
How does it feel to hear your voice spoken by an animated character?
I always think it’s really strange hearing your voice spoken by an animated character because I don’t think I sound like I do – especially when I’m doing Poppy Cat’s voice which is slightly higher and a bit cuter. In my head I think I’ve got a very deep mature-sounding English voice. And then I hear my voice as Poppy Cat and think, “Oh my gosh, I actually do sound like I’ve got quite a lilt in my voice and my voice is quite high.”
If you could be an animal which would you be and why?
If I could be an animal I would like to be a dog because they get a brilliant life. I would basically like to be my dog because she gets fed amazing things, she gets smoothed all the time, she gets to sleep in bed and she’s carried around everywhere. My life revolves around making her life really good fun — so she gets amazing clothes, amazing food, she gets pampered, she gets to sleep and I massage her all the time as well. So I would like to have the life of my Jack Russell dog called Daisy.