Charlotte Ritchie is Oregon
"terrified of being boring"
Memories of student life were very fresh in Charlotte Ritchie's mind as she graduated from Bristol University while filming Fresh Meat.
"I think the characters in Fresh Meat had more of a hard core experience of uni. I wonder if mine was ever so slightly sheltered because there are quite a few things we don't have in common but in terms of the emotional journey they go on it is a weird transitional period which everyone has.
"I still had my dissertation to hand in when I got the role and I only had a day's notice. So I had to move to Manchester overnight then in the first two weeks of rehearsals and filming I had to be so lame, I couldn't hang out with anyone as I had to go back and work after filming."
Charlotte worked hard at university and got a good degree so is she anything like her on-screen character Oregon?
"Oregon works really hard but pretends she doesn't whereas if I'd worked really hard I'd boast 'I finished this a week before the deadline'. Oregon is quite a complicated character; she's got quiet a few hang ups and is this weird mix of being self-assured but also totally insecure. She is confident sometimes but it varies, and depends on who it's with.
"She demeans Josie because I think Josie is who she actually is and she tries to be cool and puts up a front with Vod but that begins to break down and they start to meet on common ground. I'd like to think there's not too much of me in Oregon because she can be a complete idiot and if I met her I'd want to tell her to sort herself out, but at the same time there are definitely elements of me in her.
"She doesn't try to fit in but she goes for the most powerful person in the group so she is quite manipulative, not malicious but very aware of where people will get her. She is interested in Vod as she sees her as the coolest person in the house and the person most likely to fulfil her university experience.
"She hangs with Professor Shales because she sees him as being in a position of power. Oregon doesn't need to be liked by a lot of people; JP and Kingsley are barely on her radar."
And Charlotte admits she recognises the housemates from her university experience.
"There were a lot of JPs at Bristol! When I read the scripts there were little things that were just so true like JP knowing people who went to the same posh school, they've really captured it. But what's really nice is he isn't a stereotypical posh boy - the details are very fine and his emotional depth cuts it above. Same with all the characters, there were lots of Vods at uni, cool people who genuinely didn't care. But everyone has a context; everyone has a family or did at some point. They all exist. I definitely met a lot of Oregons.
"For a lot of people, university is their first time away from home and away from their group of friends as well so you are moving away from that social dynamic into a place full of people you've never met before. Some people excel and some people freak out. But the majority of students find there is an element of change even, like Oregon, trying to be someone else."
Charlotte spent her gap year working in the music business.
"When I was 16 I auditioned for a classical all girl group called All Angels. We signed to Universal records. So along with university that's what I've been doing for the last five years. Fresh Meat is my first acting job in ages and for me fulfils a big ambition. I've been really keen to do a British comedy since I was very young.
"I loved living at home but totally relished the independence university brought to me. I have a feeling that I'm young so I should experience as much as possible, so living in Manchester while filming has been amazing. We all get on really well and go out for dinner often. Everyone is really chilled out; it's nice to come into a group I haven't met before and it all fits. I've really enjoyed this job and wouldn't have wanted to be doing anything else with my summer."