Thursday, October 10, 2019

INTERVIEW. Katherine Kelly Lang on why Bold - now back in South Africa on Vodacom Video Play - remains beautiful: 'The times and moods and the technology all change and showrunner Brad Bell has done that very well'.

Photo: Gilles Toucas/Bell Phillip TV Productions

South African viewers can once again follow Katherine Kelly Lang, known for her iconic role of Brooke in The Bold and the Beautiful with the American weekday soap that is back - this time on Vodacom Video Play - and she says that she's grateful for all of the fan support and viewers who have kept watching over decades.

In a phone interview with Katherine Kelly Lang timed with The Bold and the Beautiful's return to South Africa and with episodes that can now be watched for free on Vodacom's Video Play streaming service, the star opened up about how the show and she have evolved, her new Beverly Hills store she's opening in November, the show being back in South Africa, its ratings success, and her life beyond the show's studio schedule.

The Bold and the Beautiful remained a hugely-watched show in South Africa over many years. What did you think when the SABC as South Africa's struggling public broadcaster decided to end it?
Katherine Kelly Lang: I know that a lot of people were saying "Please we want The Bold and the Beautiful to come back on the air after it went off the air.

The SABC has been great for us for so many years. But we're glad to be back and that all South Africans can now watch the show again. We're back in people's living rooms to again bring them some joy during the day and we're very glad about that.

Now with Bold being available on Vodacom Video Play and accessible to South Africans again after some months, how do you feel about it?
Katherine Kelly Lang: It's very exciting. I was in South Africa last year and so many people in South Africa are so amazing, just talking about The Bold and the Beautiful and how they love it, and saying that they've been watching it from the very first day.

Honestly most people I've talked to say they've been watching from the very first day. They know all of the storylines, all of the characters.

So when it went off the air in South Africa they were sad but they're happy now and we're happy. We love South Africa - it's so beautiful there and the people are so lovely. It's just great to have Bold be seen there, and really all around the world.

So The Bold and the Beautiful is the most-watched daytime show internationally, and in August I saw that Bold became the most-watched soap opera in the demo after 32 years. To what do you attribute its enduring success? Why do you think it is that Bold remains beautiful?
Katherine Kelly Lang: Well, it's amazing just to get the demo. We've been the most-watched soap opera in the world for so many years, which is really, really incredible on its own.

And then to win the demo in the United States for the first time in all these years - a very important demo - is incredible. So we're all really excited.

I attribute it all of course to Brad Bell - he runs the show; he makes it what it is. He's done such a great job. His father started the show and now he's taken over. He's made the show his own and so it's still going strong today because of it.

You can't keep the show the way it was at the beginning. Bold needs to evolve. The times and moods and the technology all change and showrunner Brad Bell has done that very well. It's not easy to keep a daily show going and keeping it running as number one for so many years.

So I have to say, firstly, Brad Bell, and then everyone involved. I'm not saying me or anything like that, but it's every single person who works on the show - behind-the-scenes, in front of the camera, the producers, the writers, the directors, the crew, the publicity.

I mean, it's incredible what goes into such a huge machine. Everybody puts in 110% and tries to make it the best it can be every single day.

Obviously there's been several weddings and happy moments for her, but viewers have seen, lived with and cried with a long-suffering Brooke. Why is your character of Brooke so popular, why does she resonate so much with viewers?
Katherine Kelly Lang: She's shown that she's a real person. She makes mistakes. But then she is also remorseful. She makes mistakes a few times in order to learn to be better. People like to experience that with her.

Viewers love to hate her, and they love to love her - they feel something. Whatever they feel with or for Brooke, they feel something. That makes me feel good because I feel that I'm doing my job as an actor.

I just try to bring as much reality to her and as much honest emotions to Brooke as possible.

There's a lot of reboots of American series that we see now of shows from the 90s coming back and being very successful, but of course The Bold and the Beautiful started in 1987 and never went away. It's still on and resonates as strongly as ever with its audience. To what do you contribute this resurgence of interest to in shows that started in that decade?
Katherine Kelly Lang: Nowadays there are so many different kinds of shows, so many different channels, so many things to watch.

I think people kind of want to go back to basics. I don't know - for me, I love the 80s. I miss those. I would love to see some of that again.

We'll see which ones are successful and how all of these turn out - usually nothing is as good as the original. So I'm glad that The Bold and the Beautiful is still the original, and we're still going strong!

It's so unusual and you don't get a lot of people in this industry who out of principle or whatever reason stick with a role or character or a show and who is clearly in it for the long haul with a project. Why did you stick with Bold and how has Bold evolved, and you with it over the years?
Katherine Kelly Lang: First of all, I love the show. And I did from the very beginning. I love my character. I don't know what I would do without her.

The Bold and the Beautiful has evolved a lot, including our schedule. The studio schedule allows us ... we shoot so much in a short period of time, that we still have one week off after every few months.

That has allowed me to have a whole other life outside of the show. I have a fashion business. I'm opening up a boutique store in Beverly Hills in November, I travel and do Home Shopping Network, I do movies in Italy and now some TV in Greece. I travel and do a lot of things outside of America and it's a lot of fun.

But it's The Bold and the Beautiful that has done this for me. The show has opened up all of the avenues for me to see and do and to experience and I'm really grateful for that.

Without the show I wouldn't have been involved in things in other countries and all of these opportunities. The schedule has allowed me to go out there and do that but my number one job is The Bold and the Beautiful so I always come back and do that. I'm allowed to go out and do other things and my life is so full because of it.

What is your store's name?
Katherine Kelly Lang: The store will have a brand that's made in Tuscany - leather jackets, and shoes and belts and we're bringing it to Beverly Hills, and I'm very excited about it, it's called Benheart and that's happening in November!

Who do you just love working with on the Bold cast?
Katherine Kelly Lang: We are so lucky. We get to work with people who we genuinely enjoy being around, who are good people and who give 100%.

So, I can say who my favourite is because it depends on what the storyline is and who I get to spend time with, but now it's Annika Noelle (Hope Logan, Brooke's daughter). I spend a lot of time with Heather - I love my TV-sisters, Jennifer Gareis (Donna) and Heather Tom (Katie) - all the girls on the show are so incredible. We are all very supportive and we all have each others' backs. I can't pick just one or two people, I want to say everybody.

And I just want to say thank you to all of The Bold and the Beautiful fans in South Africa, and I truly appreciate all of your love and support.

Vodacom Video Play at now carries The Bold and the Beautiful in South Africa where the show can be watched on a free subscription, with new episodes from season 31 added daily, continuing on from where it stopped in March 2019.