Despite being one of her most iconic performances to date - and making her somewhat of a staple in Mike Flanagan's horrifying worlds - T'Nia Miller almost turned down her role in The Haunting of Bly Manor.


"Honestly, I was like, 'Why have they sent me this? She's so nice. I don't play nice. Who is she, Hannah Grose?'" the Pride Month Guest Editor recalls of the dependable and protective housekeeper - whose story provides one of the most jaw-dropping twists in the show.

"It was a tequila-fuelled summer! I had met a girl and, you know, some queer relationships move very fast. This one did... We were partying, I had loads of auditions, I wasn't booking which is weird, because I always tend to book every four or so. But I had about 20 auditions and nothing had come, but I didn't care because I was in love! And there was tequila!

"And Hannah Grose came across my door and I went, 'You what? Why have they sent me that?' I wasn't aware of Flanagan's work, so I watched [The Haunting of] Hill House and [gasps].

"The tape had to be in the next morning, and of course, I got to episode 5 of Hill House. And I was like, 'Okay, just one more episode.' And I was gripped. So, although I didn't think that I was the right person to play Hannah Grose at first... it was one of the most memorable and beautiful roles I've had the honour of playing."

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Hannah is a crucial part of Bly Manor, with her story taking a shock turn, and paving the way for the beautiful love story between Victoria Pedretti's Dani and Amelia Eve's Jamie.

T'Nia Miller as Hannah Grose and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Miles in The Haunting of Bly Manor with Grose holding Miles's hand in a country garden
T'Nia Miller as Hannah Grose and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Miles in The Haunting of Bly Manor. EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX

"It's a lesbian love story," Miller reflects. "But I think ultimately it's just a story about love, and lost love, and missed love, and the opportunity to love, so it encompasses all sorts of love. Love of self, love for children, queer love.

"I know the lesbian story meant a lot to a lot of people. But I think also some of the straight stories - everything meant something to somebody, to every community, everyone could relate to something in that show."

Hannah Grose wasn't the last Flanagan role Miller would take on, with the actress later getting a call from the writer when he was creating his latest Netflix hit, The Fall of the House of Usher. Miller played Victorine LaFourcade, a scientist who starts bending the rules of clinical trials to start testing her invention on human subjects.

"He just says, 'I've got a character for you!' He wrote those characters for each of our personalities," Miller reveals.

T'Nia Miller in a black shirt looking off into the distance
T'Nia Miller. Joseph Sinclair

"It's amazing. I had the privilege of watching a little bit as it was assembled, and it turned out so well. I was going, 'That's my favourite death. Oh, no, no, no, no, that one's my favourite.' I remember not being able to pick a favourite death!"

Victorine is also a queer woman - but Miller explains that she never chooses her characters for their sexuality.

"Their sexuality doesn't really come into it. It's like, do I like the person? Do I like their world? And do they speak to me, does their whole story in itself speak to me? As opposed to the sexuality. It's always great when you do get to play some queer roles."

Thankfully, being a queer actress has only had a positive effect on Miller's career.

"I think I've been really fortunate in that respect... Because it means I am a queer actor playing these queer roles. And so, therefore, perhaps it's been more favourable to cast me in that respect. And therefore, the access I've had to some of the roles I play, perhaps I wouldn't had if I weren't in the community."

T'Nia Miller as Celeste in Years and Years sitting in a white shirt
T'Nia Miller as Celeste in Years and Years. Red Productions/Guy Farrow

One writer known for having queer representation at the forefront of everything he does is Russell T Davies, who Miller worked with on the bleak and all too real dystopia Years and Years.

"I think recent history has taught us why that show is so important - current history today, what's happening around the world today," Miller points out.

"It's so freaking important, and I urge anyone who hasn't seen Years and Years to go back and watch that show. Russell T Davies is an incredible human.

"First of all, shooting it was such a joy, I got very spoiled, his words are just delicious in the mouth. Although it was fictional, the story was so much bigger than the sum of one, of my character, this journey, and it always is, but particularly in Years and Years. Russell has his great way of making you cry and laugh in the same breath, as life is. He has a wonderful way of tapping into that.

T'Nia Miller
T'Nia Miller. Joseph Sinclair

"And the reason why it's so important is because of what then happened afterwards, with COVID and quarantine, and what's going on now - the genocide that's happening around the world.

"It's not just in Palestine, it's also happening in the Congo, there are other wars going on. We feel at a loss to stop it. Whoever did what, people are dying. Mothers can't feed their children. Fathers can't bury their sons. People are dying. They're orphans.

"I was watching a report in the Congo. There were about 30 kids waiting to be fed, all those children are orphaned, shivering because it's raining, wearing nothing. So Russell T Davies highlights and taps into our humanity.

"That scene where you have the refugee - you know, we're sending refugees to Rwanda - but seeing where the refugee doesn't die on the boat. That was the outrage, and it had to be him. It wasn't Viktor, it had to be Daniel to get that response from some audiences. 'It's not something that happens to them over there.' He's great at doing that. To have his words, to speak like to that, is just always an honour."

T'Nia Miller as The General in Doctor Who episode Hell Bent in elaborate red and gold armour
T'Nia Miller as the General in Doctor Who episode Hell Bent. BBC

While Davies has now returned to Doctor Who as showrunner, Miller made her debut on the show in the 2015 Peter Capaldi episode Hell Bent as the General.

"It was mad! Bloody mad," she recalls. "I remember Capaldi, he was wonderful, really sweet. Seeing the Daleks for the first time - they're massive things! They're terrifying. I'm not scared of them on screen, but in real life, bloody hell. And those sets are amazing."

When it was announced that Jodie Whittaker was leaving the show, rumours were rife about who would play the next incarnation of the Doctor - and plenty of them revolved around Miller.

As it turns out, she never actually auditioned, explaining: "It was like, 'This is the first I'm hearing about it.' [I asked] my agent, 'Do you know?' 'No, I don't know anything about it either.' I think there was some fans who were raring for that to happen, but actually, I think it couldn't be better cast."

Of course, Doctor Who cast Ncuti Gatwa, who Miller worked with on Sex Education when she took on the role of Maxine Tarrington. But that almost didn't happen either, with Miller nearly turning down the role because she loved the show so much.

"I didn't want to do Sex Education. Like, 'No, I don't want to do that show because it's going to spoil it for me.' It's such a good show. I didn't want to dispel the disbelief. They asked me three times, I was like, 'Oh god, go on then.' I had such a good time. I'm so glad I said yes. But it did dispel the disbelief. I didn't watch the second series until a couple of years after it was out."

She adds of Gatwa in Doctor Who: "I think he's perfectly suited. I haven't seen it yet. But I'm absolutely going to delve into that world. I'm so glad that Russell is back, I'm super excited to watch these great, great beings I know do what they do best."

Perhaps about to cause the most iconic writing collaboration of recent years, she casually adds: "Mike Flanagan is a massive fan of RTD as well. And a massive fan of of Doctor Who. I would just want to get them both in a room together. Because, oh my god, what they would create would just be incredible."

Watch this space (and time).

T'Nia Miller is's Pride Month Guest Editor.


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