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Zoe Telford

The Race Against Extinction

The flame-haired, convivial, and talented British actress Zoe Telford is known for her captivating performances spanning film, television and theatre. When I enquired about her early influences, she charmingly replied, “I went to a lot of local and independent cinemas in my hometown of Norwich and found myself imitating scenes – one of which was from Back to the Future”. Slightly spooky – was this a prediction?

Zoe originally trained at The Central School of Dance from the age of six and continued on that path until she was in her early 20s. Whilst she loved the feeling of entertaining and the non-verbal elements of dance, she found acting to be a wonderful combination of both the physical and cerebral. Zoe’s real breakthrough though came in 2003 when she secured the role of Eva Braun in Hitler: The Rise of Evil, which ultimately led her to working with Woody Allen on Match Point. Since then, she has gone on to win a Special Commendation Award for her role as a beleaguered housewife in the film Greyhawk at the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Zoe Telford as Dr Kitty Gray and Vinette Robinson as Janet. Episode 5, The Lazarus Project, Season 2.

Her latest venture is the second series of The Lazarus Project, where she plays Dr Kitty Gray a genius astrophysicist building a time machine within the time loop of 2012. Written by Joe Barton and directed by Carl Tibbetts, the first season of The Lazarus Project presents our world locked into a never-ending time loop that will ultimately end with the planet’s complete destruction. The Lazarus team is a secret organisation dedicated to preventing mass extinction events and with the ability to make time go backwards. Its newest agent is George (Paapa Essiedu), who, as the plot thickens, discovers that the cause he is fighting for may be more sinister than it first appeared, and begins to suspect that the only person he can trust is himself.

When Zoe was offered a role in the second season and read the script, she felt immediately drawn to the story. “It is quite a complicated story. There are so many loops – both in time and in the story itself – that I realised I had to watch the first series straight away.”

“The story and my character are so exciting that it was a no-brainer to accept.”

–   Zoe Telford

The complexity derives from Joe Bardon’s interpretation of cause and effect when moving or resetting time, factoring in anomalies, such as someone remembering, in this case, the main character, George. But not all is doom and gloom in the show. Bardon injects a healthy dose of humour and irreverence into his writing, which translates into welcome breathers for the viewers, who otherwise find themselves most of the time at the edge of their seat, white-knuckled and holding their breath.

This season introduces a new time-loop, in 2012, where agent Janet (Vinette Robinson) is trapped. This is how we meet Zoe’s character, who seems to be the only one able to return Janet to her time. “The story and my character are so exciting that it was a no-brainer to accept,” Zoe comments smiling.

Watch the official trailer HERE

Apart from all the excitement and trepidation, the show presents interesting speculative thoughts on how science fiction often engages with contemporary issues, delves into profound questions about humanity and trust and warns about the potential cataclysmic consequences of tampering with the fundamental elements of existence.

Season two of The Lazarus Project airs on Sky, on the 15th of November 2023.

Words: Shelley Campbell

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