Jodi Balfour: Bomb Girl

As Gladys Witham in Bomb Girls, the WWII-era Global TV series, Jodi Balfour touches on her experience with the show's first season

Credit: Matt Barnes

Jodi Balfour is Gladys Witham in Bomb Girls, Global TV.

Gladys Witham stars in Bomb Girls, the WWII-era Global TV series, and the actress reflects on being cast, her experience working with Meg Tilly and what it’s like watching herself on TV

As a Vancouver-based actress born and raised in South Africa, Balfour has not only landed the lead in a hit show – which was just renewed for 12 more episodes – but is the co-owner of a Gastown coffee shop, Nelson the Seagull.


We chatted with Balfour over the phone in Vancouver, just a few days before the airing of the final episode of the first six-part series of Bomb Girls (which aired Feb 8). For the full text of the interview – including the actress’s views on coffee and other South African cultural exports – visit The Snipe News.


SC: I read that the role of Gladys Witham in Bomb Girls was “coveted”.


JB: Yes, apparently. That’s what everyone kept telling me that when I got the job. It’s a funny thing, the casting process. When you don’t book a job that you’re very attached to, people are very quick to say it has so little to do with you. The role an actor plays in getting cast is probably like .05%, so many other factors come into it. But when you do book a job, and a job like Bomb Girls – everyone told me I fought out every girl in North America – those same things still apply. I like to think my acting had something to do with it, but a number of factors aligned and worked in my favour.


So I feel very lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to play this role, but it wasn’t just me. There were other reasons I got cast.


SC: Were you familiar with Meg Tilly before you landed the role? You might not even have been born when The Big Chill (1983) was released…


JB: I had heard the name but I think more because of Jennifer Tilly. I’m familiar with Agnes of God, the play, though I hadn’t seen the movie. We read the play in high school. I was going to read her books and things before, but I wanted to form a human-being-to-human-being relationship with her before I read about a part of her life that would only be shared with me through the book. I still have yet to do that.


She’s the most incredible person. As though the project couldn’t get any cooler, it did when I got to meet and work with Meg Tilly.


SC: Someone noted on the IMDB page for the series that it’s a very women-oriented series, that it is most likely capturing mostly a female audience. Is that what you’re finding?


JB: Hmmmhmm. If Twitter’s anything to go by – that’s the only direct audience-cast relationship we have – definitely the majority of people responding are females. But that could also be because the audiences on Twitter are talking about the clothing and dress, and there’s been an incredible response to the Betty [Ali Liebert] and Kate [Charlotte Hegele] storyline, the sort of suggestive lesbian story-line. So yes, there’s an overwhelming female response.


Having said that, I know at least a handful of (unexpected) men that are fans of the show too – some of the most hardcore boy-boys, are really also really enjoying the show.


SC: Are you going to watch the season finale?


JB: I might have a ukulele lesson, but I will watch it afterwards or the next day. It’s a bit of a strange thing to watch the show as it comes on. I’m learning so much – less from watching my own performances and more from everybody else’s. It’s such a luxury. Because I was on set so much I tried to watch other people’s scenes as much as I could, and being able to compare that first-hand experience with seeing them onscreen edited and cut together, it’s been a really interesting learning experience. I really enjoy watching the show for those reasons. And for all the nostalgia. It’s quite an easy show to enjoy, even being in it.


I can’t believe it’s already the season finale. I feel like I got the phone call telling me I was cast just a few days ago and it’s all coming to an end.