Manpreet Bambra stars in the new ITVX comedy series Count Abdulla, which revolves around a young Muslim doctor whose life is turned upside down after he is bitten by a vampire.
The versatile actress plays a key role in the sitcom available from next Thursday (15). It adds to an impressive variety of work from her, across different genres.
Eastern Eye got the British star to select her top 10 acting jobs so far, in no particular order.
Count Abdulla: We had so much fun creating this show. When I read the script, Amrita just resonated with me. The character just felt right as I had to hide my identity for years of who I really was due to the stigma of what the community might think – how dare you get seen drinking a glass of wine or dating? The typical stereotypes. So, I really related to her in terms of hiding who she is and what she really wants in life because of others’ opinions. Interestingly Amrita was originally named Manpreet by (writer) Kaamil (Shah), so it was meant to be.
Amrita is quirky, has love for her best friend Abdulla, is caring, blunt when needed and knows how to have a good laugh. This job made me grow as an actor and enabled me to face fears, such as learning a whole Bollywood routine.
Free Rein: This show was so different to many of my previous jobs. My character Jade was quiet, loved to ride horses, enjoyed science, and cared so much for her friends. Funnily enough, I landed this job a year after graduating with a science degree. I was 24 playing 15 which was challenging. I had to tap into the younger years, which was fun. I learnt to horse ride, did a little rap to some tap dancing, and got to work with a group of very talented actors. We won two Daytime Emmys, filmed 32 episodes, one special and a movie. It was an amazing experience.
Funny Woman: My first comedy show which I landed prior to Count Abdulla was shot in Liverpool, which I loved. Working up north was wonderful as I know a lot of crew from around the Manchester area. I got to work with the talented Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davies – I can’t lie, I was a bit starstruck. This was my first time playing a mean girl, which was new to me, but meant we could play around with the character.I loved the 60s hair and make-up look. I hope there will be a season two.
Hate: This was a short film written by Humza Arshad and directed by Mustapha Kseibati.It was a heart breaking script when I read it. Society is changing but more powerful films highlighting impacting circumstances like this need to be addressed. It’s an educational film, turning hate to love and restoring faith in times when the world has so much racial hatred/tension.
Ravers: A horror movie based on an illegal rave that turns into a nightmare. I played the role of Hannah, who ends up being Becky’s (played by Georgia Hirst) love interest in the movie. This film was blood, guts, gore, loads of prosthetics and cool stunts.
So Awkward: This show will always be memorable and personal to me for so many reasons.I remember my audition for this was on my graduation day from university. I ran in white heels and a dress from Waterloo onto trains to get to the audition on time. I was deputy head girl of my school in Ealing, so it was fun playing the head girl of Cranmede Upper School.
Wizards Vs Aliens: I grew up watching Harry Potter and Sarah Jane Adventures. I mean who doesn’t love magic? Also, it was written by the wonderful Russell T Davies. This was such a creative show where I got to work with so many talented actors. It was a series that required a lot of imagination and tapping into that fantasy world – it was great fun.
Tezz: I’m a Sikh girl who was born in Southall to a very traditional Indian family. Of course, I grew up watching Indian films, singing along as a child and in awe of Bollywood actors. In this film, which was basically a remake of the movie Speed, but on a train, I got to play Anil Kapoor’s daughter. I had to learn Hindi for this role, which was tough, but really enjoyable.
Postcode: My first job, with CBBC, it really gave me confidence in my ability. I remember it being the worst first day and felt like I was the weakest link. I worked hard to refine my way of preparing for a role and the scenes each day. It was the best learning curve – you really do learn on the job. Funnily enough, this was both mine and Rob Eades first jobs, and here we are 12 years later working together again on Count Abdulla (he plays Frank).
Our Time Alone: This was a short film based on the struggles between a father who has schizophrenia and a daughter who has had to become his carer. We did stunts for this which was fairly new to me back then, as I had only done National Youth Theatre before that. I worked with Bhasker Patel, who taught me a lot about work ethic and the industry.