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Watch out for: Seema Bowri, in a uniform
14th December, 2004

Why should we be looking out for her?
Seema will be joining the cast of ITV drama The Bill, playing a 'spiky, defensive woman' with a controversial past. Playing PC Leela Kapoor will be her first regular character on TV. Before that she has made guest appearances on TV while mostly appearing in radio dramas. Professionally she has been working for about 7 years.

Why is Leela Kapoor a policewoman?
They say: 'While home life was happy, she was exposed to the bigotry of society at an early age. Whilst she was fairly protected from racism by her family and circle of friends, her personal circumstances meant she experienced prejudice of a different kind, when her uncle, a high profile businessman, was accused of embezzlement. Leela's family had to fight a long, public, legal battle to clear her uncle's and the family's name. The Polices' handling of the case, and some officer's ignorance when dealing with her family, all contributed to Leela's decision to become a police officer.'

Aah! So she ends up in the police station featured in The Bill?
Not exactly. Seema tells us: "PC Leela Kapoor been in the Met for 4 years already. She started off at Barton street station. Prior to coming to Sunhill, she sees two of her colleagues assault a witness. Leela being Leela, she's at the forefront of justice and wants to do the right thing. So she reports her colleague." Life subsequently becomes hard for PC Leela at her police station because she's seen as a grass, and she asks to be transferred to another station, thus ending up on Sunhill.

So is PC Leela Kapoor a very 'Asian' character?
"She's not wearing her ethnicity on her forehead," says Seema. "Like all of us in this country, you get on with it. We're meeting [PC Leela Kapoor] four years down the line, she's not a new recruit."

"In the future there will be certain scenarios we'll find her in, about issues of race, the Iraq war, terrorism... and she's confident enough to give her opinion. But first and foremost, she's a police officer." Leela Kapoor's dad will also turn up on the Bill in the near future.

Where have we seen Seema before?
She has done guest appearances on Casualty, twice on Doctors and Coupling among others before. "I've done lots of theatre, I've done lots of radio. As a performance artist it's great to move between different mediums. I played a character on [BBC World drama] Westway for 6 months." She was also in Kali Theatre's Calcutta Kosher.

Did she always want to get into acting?
"I've always wanted to do something arts related I guess," she says, "I always had a creative streak in me." At school she started working in local community theatre. She studied dance and drama at the University of Birmingham, and says her parents have always been supportive. Though they did ask quite nicely if there was something on the side she could specialise in...

Typical Indian parents! So when do we see her on TV?
She's been filming since the end of September and Seema will grace ITV1 starting tomorrow (Wednesday 15th December). You know what they say about women in uniform, it's probably best to keep the video recorders on standby...

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