Polly Frame Takes Lead in Riveting New Crime Podcast ‘Cold Tapes’

Polly Frame, known for her role as Ginny in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” ventures into the podcasting world with the 2024 crime podcast hit, “Cold Tapes,” where she stars as detective Tessa McCallister.

Crafted by the acclaimed writing duo Jonathan Myerson and Alexis Zegerman, who have received nominations for BAFTA, BIFTA, and the Oscars, “Cold Tapes” is a compelling true crime podcast comprising more than 80 audio files that engage listeners in the detective process.

The narrative is set against the stark, isolated setting of an Antarctic research station during the dark months of polar winter. It explores the complex and strained relationships among a small group of international scientists and crew. The plot features sexual tension, unexplained incidents, hidden criminal pasts, and global conspiracy theories, focusing on the mysterious death of behavioural scientist Andrew Fairfield, aged 33. Led by Tessa McCallister, played by Frame, the investigation captivates and maintains suspense, ensuring listeners are hooked.

Reflecting on her involvement in the project, Frame highlights her immediate attraction to the quality of the scripts and the innovative interactive format of the narrative. She said: “From the moment I encountered the scripts, I was drawn in by their exceptional quality. The concept of an immersive narrative intrigued me, and I was eager to explore the intricacies of portraying DCI Tessa McCallister within this dynamic framework.”
Frame’s enthusiasm for the role stems from her admiration for McCallister’s character traits and professional prowess. She added: “I’ve always been fascinated by the world of detectives, and the opportunity to embody a character as rigorous, clever, and determined as Tessa McCallister was truly compelling.
“What interested me most was delving into McCallister’s mindset, understanding her approach to solving complex cases, and bringing her unique blend of clarity, focus, and humour to life.”
As Frame delved deeper into the role, she found herself captivated by McCallister’s unwavering commitment to seeking the truth and her ability to navigate the challenges of the investigation with empathy and skill. She continued: “Tessa McCallister is a character driven by her relentless pursuit of justice, and I found her evolution throughout the series to be both captivating and inspiring.”
In embracing the role of McCallister, Frame drew upon her own experiences and insights to bring authenticity to her performance. “I spent considerable time immersing myself in McCallister’s world, exploring her investigative tactics and thought processes. I was committed to portraying her with authenticity, capturing her quick thinking, strategic acumen, and unwavering dedication to her work.”
Jon Hamm, CEO at Free Turn Entertainment which is behind the Cold Tapes series said:  “Tessa stands as an unwavering beacon of determination. Despite facing formidable challenges, she remains steadfast in her commitment to uncovering the facts, no matter the obstacles in her path. She navigates a labyrinth of complexities with agility and grace. Despite the toll of sleepless nights and gruelling hours, she presses on with unwavering determination.
“Her relentless pursuit of justice is tempered by genuine empathy. Professionally, she grapples with the challenge of relying on potential suspects for crucial insights, yet she forges meaningful connections without resorting to manipulation. As soon as we met Polly we saw that she owned the role.”
The authenticity was heightened by Frame’s deliberate choice to avoid meeting her on-screen counterpart. She added: “I also never met Dave Hearn, (actor playing Andrew Fairfield), and that was actually incredibly helpful. All I knew of the character was what she knew, and he became this strange ghost-like figure for me throughout the record.”
The improvisational nature of the script allowed Frame and her fellow actors to fully embody their characters, infusing the interactions with intensity and electricity. “The scripts were written in such a brilliant way that it was easy to improvise at points,” she said. “Each actor could really lean into their character’s voice and idiosyncrasies.”
Despite the physical distance, the recording setup facilitated a deep level of immersion for Frame. “Having only the voice on the other end of the line to interact with and recording each interview without interruption meant that the level of immersion for me was pretty strong,” she said.
As audiences engage, Frame hopes they will be drawn into McCallister’s world and gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of the investigative process. “One of the most interesting parts of the experience I’m finding is just being allowed to observe human behaviour with all its vanities, vulnerabilities, heart and failings. I hope listeners can get into that, and can enjoy getting to know these very different people and all the details of their lives and personalities that have led them to be who they are, where they are and why they do the things they do.”

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