TV

Domino Day star Siena Kelly: 'The society we live in turns powerful women into monsters'

There’s a dark thrill to be found Gangs of London writer Lauren Sequeira's new drama

Siena Kelly in Domino Day

Siena Kelly in Domino Day. Image: BBC/Todd Antony

Have you ever despaired at the dating apps on your phone, shuddered at the grim rendezvous they bring? For anyone who’s been victim of the casual nastiness or outright abuse that’s common on Tinder and Bumble, there’s a dark thrill to be found in the BBC’s new supernatural drama. Created by Gangs of London writer Lauren Sequeira and starring Siena Kelly (who you’ll recognise from the excellent Channel 4 drama Adult Material), Domino Day follows the titular witch as she swipes – not to find a soulmate, but to hunt. 

The result is a gleefully gory feminist revenge fantasy. Right at the start, we see Domino go home with a sleazy date. He isn’t listening when she says no, comfortable that he can get what he wants. He has seriously underestimated the powerful force he’s up against. 

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this winter by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors

For Kelly – who says she’s “surrounded by witches” in real life – Domino Day was a dream role. “I just really empathised with Domino,” she tells The Big Issue. “I loved all the friction of having this unbelievably powerful and genuinely dangerous, violent witch also being so lonely, so insecure, so conflicted and filled with guilt and shame.” 

The Big Issue: Did you see elements of yourself in Domino? 

Siena Kelly: I’m very, very lucky that my life isn’t like Domino’s. I’ve definitely not gone through even half as much shit. So, I’m a lot more bubbly and out-going than she is. I have a support group, which means the decisions I make in my life are very, very different to Domino’s. I’m not as independent. And I’m probably not as resilient. It was fun to be so powerful. I’m a small person – I’m 5ft2 and my limbs can be quite spindly. So I did gym it a lot on this job. I was up at like, four in the morning and lifting weights, because I wanted to feel like I could handle myself in a fight.  

Is there an element of wish fulfilment in punishing those awful men? 

Well, it’s just a beautiful fantasy, right? To be so powerful everyone’s afraid of you. But then we also show a nightmare sequence. In it, these men are so terrified of her. Her fear is that she’s a monster. She has to go on a journey of learning that she’s not a monster for being so powerful. That is what would happen to an extremely powerful woman in the society that we live in. They are turned into monsters by men, by media. 

Domino must endure awful dates to stay alive. Did that hit a nerve?   

That’s mainly Lauren, who’s the creator. I’ve actually really enjoyed dating apps. I have a two-drink rule. Give people two drinks. And then if I’m not feeling it, I don’t mind saying I’ll leave. 

I think you’re more powerful than you’re letting on… 

Ha! Yeah. The power of saying no and the power of not worrying about making somebody else uncomfortable – that is super-powerful for women because we are made to feel like we need to make everybody around us comfortable, right?  

Domino Day has a female writer, female directors and a predominantly female cast. Does that change the experience of being on set? 

I have been so lucky, I have worked with so many female writers and directors. I graduated literally the year of the #MeToo movement. I have reaped the benefits of everything all those women were fighting for. I have never, ever had to do any intimate scenes without an intimacy coordinator. I’m eternally grateful to everybody who came before me, who stood up and had to say scary things and endure scary things, so that it can be different for me. I’ve spoken to female actors who are like 20 years older than me and the things that they tell me about the industry – it’s really unbelievable, shocking.   

Lauren Sequeira has described herself as a believer in modern witchcraft. How witchy are you? 

Most of my friends are women and a lot of them identify as witches. My partner’s mum has been a witch for decades. I’ve got friends who are professional tarot card readers, friends who go by the lunar calendar. I have friends who are trying to unlock the power of their periods. I am very spiritual, and I am on this quest to live more in sync with the planet. So I’m getting my yoga teacher training certificate in May. I’ve been a vegan for eight years. I love herbalism. I meditate on a daily basis. Witching is an earth religion, just connecting to the planet. It is quite anti-capitalist. I am absolutely a believer in that.  

When you were growing up, were there fictional witches you were drawn to? 

It wasn’t witches for me, it was fairies. I’m quite a light person. I’m drawn to lightness in people, and in my art, and in how I approach life. I think my friends who were drawn to witchiness, they’re much more drawn to the darkness.  

That said… if you had the power, is there anyone you’d hex?  

I’ve never even thought about that. I’d give quite a few world leaders and politicians a potion to give them deeper empathy and less ego. Maybe a potion for that, rather than a punishment? 

Yeah, you definitely are drawn to the light. 

I don’t want that karma coming back to me! 

Domino Day is available in full on BBC iPlayer from 6am on 31 January, with episodes airing weekly on BBC Three from 9pm that night 

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue or give a gift subscription. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Jenna Coleman on policing the town that MeToo forgot in The Jetty
TV

Jenna Coleman on policing the town that MeToo forgot in The Jetty

Spent star Michelle de Swarte: 'Someone had to tell me I was homeless – I was in such denial'
Michelle de Swarte
TV

Spent star Michelle de Swarte: 'Someone had to tell me I was homeless – I was in such denial'

Karen Gillan: 'It's better to tell the story of Douglas is Cancelled than not tell the story'
TV

Karen Gillan: 'It's better to tell the story of Douglas is Cancelled than not tell the story'

Supacell star Calvin Demba on race, male bravado and breaking the modern superhero formula
Calvin Demba, star of Netflix's Supacell
TV

Supacell star Calvin Demba on race, male bravado and breaking the modern superhero formula

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know

The Big Issue

Sign up to get your FREE Doctor Who Archive Special

Celebrate the 14th series with your FREE edition of the Dr Who Special Archives