GLOBE Columnist Peter Grant meets Howards End star Bessie Carter ahead of her visit to the Playhouse.

"Acting must be in the blood," says television and stage star Bessie Carter in a lovely piece of understatement.

Bessie, who graduated from the Guildhall School of drama, has already appeared in TV series Cranford and Doc Martin and she has received rave reviews for her role as Elvie Wilcox in the BBC's current hit Howards End.

She also has the film Les Miserables on her CV and she picked up a Spotlight Screen Award in 2016.

And as for the acting dynasty. Her parents are household names - West End star Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter of Downton Abbey.

The versatile Bessie took a break from rehearsals from the forthcoming festive production Baskerville – A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.

The play - a madcap take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel - opens for a month's run at the Playhouse next week.

"I started in school plays and loved it.

"I was always in the wings or backstage with my parents. It's been natural for me." 

Her skills will certainly be put to the test on her Merseyside debut.

It's a tall order being one of five actors playing 42 roles.

Bessie, billed simply as 'Actor 3', becomes 12 people including Mrs  Hudson, a German maid, two nurses and a shepherdess.

Far from elementary, as Dr Watson would say.

"Oh ... I try not to think of the number of people I play - don't remind me," she laughs.

"It's been so intense, but that's a good thing.

"I like the rush of adrenalin – that's why I wanted to be an actress.

"I am already starting to get the anxiety attacks - the ones where you dream that you are going on stage with no clothes on.

"I am getting those first night tingles." 

In her build up for the role Bessie did catch an episode of Benedict Cumberbatch's TV interpretation of Sherlock.

"Their version is set in modern day and is totally different from our story which is set in the 1880s and written by Ken Ludwig." 

Here the Baskerville demon with its blazing eyes and dripping jaws is running a reign of terror on the Devonmshire moors.

Investigator Sherlock Holmes  pipes up, so to speak, to find out what’s afoot.

Already a veteran of costume dramas, 23-year-old Bessie says the period clothes set the scene in her latest production and it allows the audience to know that we are back to a certain age.

Away from the stage, she has worked with Martin Clunes on Doc Martin where she played a sailing instructor.

"He is a genius. I pinched myself - working with this generous actor.

"I am always learning about TV techniques on set." 

Bessie says playing multi-roles on stage is not that daunting when you realise some of her characters only have to deliver one line, but she has h had to master a variety of accents and voices.

For her Liverpool run Imelda and Jim are busy.

Mum is in the West in Follies while Jim is filming King Lear.

But her proud, ever-encouraging parents hope to come to Liverpool to see it in January.

It is Bessie's first job on Merseyside and she has already caught a rival show – happily The Everyman's Christmas rock and roll panto.

And - spare time permitting - she is planning some sight-seeing. She passed her driving test in August.

"I've a long list of things to do in Wirral.

"I have heard of so many beautiful places.

"I like to go to go out on my own to discover and explore." 

Back to Mr Holmes and that enigmatic beast, she says that although it is set in the 1800s it is not a period drama like Howards End and Cranford.

"Happily, there are no corsets needed ..." she says heading back smiling to the rehearsal room.

Baskerville – A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is at Liverpool Playhouse until January 13.

Tickets from 0151 709 4776