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Hull-Native Actor Leah Brotherhead On Her Channel Four Show Hullraisers and Navigating The Creative Industry

Leah Brotherhead Joseph Sinclair
March 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

Living North meet the hilarious Leah Brotherhead, star of the Channel Four show Hullraisers

With a background in theatre and a deep love for her home city of Hull, Leah tells us about her career so far and playing the wildly irresponsible Toni in Hullraisers.

eah began her acting career at a young age after moving down to London and attending the East 15 Acting School. Her first role was from the BBC’s Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award where young people from drama schools get the chance to work at The Radio Drama Company. ‘You would get really big actors like Bill Nighy, Harriet Walter, Derek Jacobi and you’ve just graduated but are doing a radio drama with them and watching these amazing people work, so it was a really cool start,’ she says.

Her career so far has been varied with work covering both theatre and television – seemingly very different mediums, but Leah can see the commonality between both. ‘In lots of ways it’s all very similar. You’re trying to find the truth of it, you’re trying to find your motivations, find why you’re doing things, and tell a story as truthfully as you can,’ she says, although she does concede that rehearsals for theatre give actors more opportunity to be open to discovery, especially compared to television. ‘You’re in trouble if you turn up on set day one like “I’m just going to see where this goes”.’

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Likely best known for the hilarious Hullraisers, it was significant to Leah that the show was set on home turf. ‘When the audition came through for that I thought, surely I can just get a part in it, any part. So to then be given the lead, that was just awesome,’ she admits. ‘But also I think I feel the pressure even more to make something that people from Hull will enjoy and to show the city how I feel it is. I feel that weight on my shoulders more but hopefully I think we’ve achieved it. I think it’s nice for them to have some friendly faces for sure. What was really cool about the second series was that most of the actors who came in and were maybe filming for a day or two were from Hull. It was a really strong load of natives, in the second series especially.’

Toni, the character that Leah plays in the show, is a whirlwind of impulsive decisions and hilarious gaffes, no doubt a riot to play. ‘I do enjoy the challenge of it, because potentially Toni is a horrific nightmare who you’d just be like “get this person away from me”,’ Leah says. ‘She’s a mess, she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and she needs her friends and family to come and get her out of everything, and I like the challenge of trying to make her relatable.’

With International Women’s Day looming, Leah offers some sage advice for young female artists getting started in the industry – an industry which has a reputation for being particularly harsh on young women.

‘No one else can have your journey. The journey is going to be yours alone so you can’t compare it to anyone else anyway,’ she says. ‘It actually can be hard because if you’re doing theatre, you’re looking in the mirror every day to do your face for the show, and with film work you’re going to end up seeing your face so close up and it’s hard to not see your faults, but I think it’s important to try and not dwell on it and just to be kind to yourself, to love your face and embrace what you look like, because there’s only one of you.’

Quick-Fire Questions

What’s the best part of acting?
I think the best part of the job is that you constantly meet new people. That for every project you’re meeting new, like-minded people that you’re going to make something together with, and that everyone is completely unique so it can’t get stale.

And the worst?
It’s the same with any freelance job, you never know when you’re going to be working and sometimes when you’re in a rest period and when you’re not working you’ve really got to try and make sure you enjoy it and enjoy your life.

Where’s the best place you’ve been for work?
I’ve been able to travel for work which is just a dream. I was in Guadeloupe last year and I was in San Francisco and I’ve done a European tour with The Globe, and it’s just a joy to play to different audiences, so that’s the best.

You can catch Leah in Hullraisers on

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