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HMT panto star Danielle Jam tells of improvising in BBC’s hit comedy Scot Squad

scot squad danielle jam

After capturing everyone’s heart as Belle in HMT panto Beauty And The Beast, Aberdeen actress Danielle Jam now makes the nation laugh in the popular mockumentary Scot Squad.

Filming the spoof comedy which follows the fictional Unified Scottish Police Force was a “totally unique experience” for Danielle who stars as PC Eleanor Hipgrove in season seven of the BBC Scotland show.

Known for featuring a lot of improvisation, Danielle and the show’s producers discussed some character ideas before filming, but it was ultimately up to her to come up with her own jokes.

She said: “So rather than already knowing what is going to happen, you have guidelines and then you improvise it. It was good fun.”

Danielle Jam enjoyed improv in Scot Squad

And it wasn’t the first time Danielle had to rely on her wit.

danielle jam scot squad
All photos by Jamie Simpson.

She said: “I did a pilot a couple of years ago with Sally Reid who’s also in the show. It was a very crazy experience that gave me a little taste before I joined Scot Squad to what it would be like to just throw yourself in and let yourself be silly.

“It’s just so Scottish. That’s because the humour comes from Scottish people that are making it up off the top of their heads. It’s just whatever is on their mind and how they see the world. It’s a unique point of view on how we deal with situations. It feels very familiar.”

How do you do, fellow kids?

Danielle plays a dedicated youth liaison officer who may not be as ‘down with the kids’ as she thinks she is.

“She has been hired to connect with the young people in the community and to try to keep them out of trouble and get them on the right path,” said Danielle.

“She thinks that she’s hip and cool as the teenagers – and she’s not too much older than them but it’s still a generation apart and she is sometimes playing catch-up a bit on how they’re speaking and what they’re speaking about.”

Danielle Jam loves being part of Scot Squad.

Danielle was excited to join such a long-established show and even more thrilled that the feedback she received has been great.

“I’ve had messages from people that I haven’t seen in ages that watch it, saying it was a nice surprise to see me,” said the actress.

“Scot Squad has such a dedicated fan base as well.”

Belle in Aberdeen panto Beauty And The Beast

Late last year, Aberdeen fans could have seen Danielle become Belle in HMT panto Beauty And The Beast.

“Oh it was a dream come true,” said the actress who can also be spotted in Molly and Mack on CBeebies.

“The team were just amazing. Alan (McHugh) was like a second mother to me as my dame.

Danielle Jam became Belle in Aberdeen panto Beauty And The Beast.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun on stage before. Every night, I’d stand at the wings and watch every scene I wasn’t in and would be roaring with laughter.

“It meant so much to hear my dialect and my voice on stage and hear it back from the audience. You just feel so alive and connected to all these people you’re performing for.

“I’m really grateful for everyone that was able to come and see us. Even though it was cut short, we managed to perform for so many people and hopefully, that’s lifted some spirits and will help us get through this next year of turbulence and whatever it brings.”

BBC Bitesize and more TV work

Having enjoyed the panto experience so much, Danielle would love to entertain Aberdeen theatre-goers again.

“I’d love to be back – hint, hint, Alan,” laughed Danielle.

“Even if I’m not in it, I’d love to see it because I feel like you become a wee family when you do these jobs and you get closer to people on pantos than you do on other kinds of jobs – so hopefully that’s in the cards in the future.”

Danielle is looking forward to seeing what 2022 will bring.

Danielle is also looking forward to doing more TV work in 2022.

She said: “Last year, I was lucky enough to join the BBC Bitesize team (BBC’s free online study support resource for school-age pupils) to voice a character called Isla who explored Scottish landscapes. I’ll do more of that again this year.

“I’m also working on another TV project that I don’t think I can speak about just yet.

“This career is very unpredictable. I don’t know what else is going to come up. I’ll keep you updated!”

Where to watch Scot Squad

Scot Squad will air episode three tonight (Thursday January 20) at 10 pm on BBC Scotland. All five episodes are also currently available on BBC iPlayer.

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