Grace’s John Simm caught in awkward moment when he didn’t recognise co-star

John Simm admitted he struggled to recognise his co-star Rakie Ayola on their first day on the set of Grace, which debuted on ITV last night.

Rakie, 52, plays Assistant Chief Constable Alison Vosper in the crime drama, who tries to keep Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, played by John, in check amid the mysterious disappearance of a groom.

The two actors had previously appeared alongside one another in the production Code Of A Killer, though John failed to recognise Rakie when they were first reunited.

Speaking to Daily Star and assorted press, John, who is best known for playing the lead character on Life On Mars, confessed Rakie’s facemask – worn for Covid safety – proved troublesome.

Rakie said: "And I got to work with John! And I wondered if he would remember that we had had I think maybe one, maybe two scenes in something else.

"I thought, ‘I wonder if he’ll remember we worked together'. John, I really wanted to work with him again, properly."

However, when it came to their read-throughs, John struggled to remember the scenes from Code Of A Killer, which aired in 2015.

Starring David Threlfall, the show followed the murder of two schoolgirls, using specialised DNA to help track down a killer.

Recalling his reunion with Rakie, John said: "Do you know what, shamefully, because we’re all in masks when met up for the first read-through, I was like I can’t remember which one.

"And then she told me the scene and I was like, ‘oh of course, yes!’."

Thankfully, Rakie was able to laugh about the awkward blunder, as she admitted it had been a delight to act alongside John in the production.

She said: "I thought, 'he won’t remember, I'm not going to worry about that'. I've always really admired John’s work.

"When I was told about Grace, John was attached, so I knew that I’d just get some nice scenes with him if nothing else."

Holby City fans will know and love Rakie as nurse Kyla Tyson, who joined the fictional hospital in 2008.

Shortlisted for the "Female Performance in TV" award at the fourth Screen Nation Award, Rakie left the BBC One medical drama three years later when she fell pregnant with her second child.

Since leaving Holby, Rakie has acted in a number of major TV series, including the Netflix sensation Black Mirror, and the classic crime drama Midsomer Murders.

Playing Constable Vosper in Grace was a welcome opportunity to don a uniform, bringing the steely police officer to life on the screen.

Grace sees Vosper soften as the series progresses, trying her best to keep Detective Grace in line as both a friend and a colleague.

Reflecting on her role, Rakie said it was "really nice to play the person in charge" in the Brighton-based new drama, which is inspired by the bestselling novels of Peter James.

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Describing her role as a police boss, she explained: "It just brings an ease with it because people just have to give you that status whether you want to or not. So you just stand there and they give you status. Other people do your job for you!"

Laughing, the Welsh starlet added: "I got to wear that uniform, its always nice to wear a uniform."

Grace continues on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.

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