Actress Simone Kirby has said that she enjoyed the glamour of playing a rich businesswoman in new RTÉ crime drama Hidden Assets.

Simone, who has previously starred in Ken Loach's historical drama Jimmy’s Hall, Peaky Blinders and His Dark Materials, plays very well off Irish woman Bibi Melnick, who gets caught up in murky goings on in the diamond trade in Antwerp and the role gave Simone a chance to indulge in some serious bling.

"You will see diamonds," she says. "And Antwerp is also a fashion capital and we had a designer who lives there, and she knows what rich women in Antwerp wear.

"I don’t get to wear very expensive costumes very often so I was loving it and I did come back with a little bit of them but that was all above board! The house my character lives in is this big, beautiful house so that was nice after being in my own four walls for a year during the pandemic."

The six-part series, which is set to air on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player this autumn, was written by Peter McKenna and Morna Regan and sees Angeline Ball reprise her role as Detective Sergeant Emer Berry from Acceptable Risk, along with new cast members Wouter Hendrickx, Peter Coonan, Cathy Belton, and Michael Ironside.

Angeline Ball as Emer Berry and Wouter Hendrickx as Christian De Jong in Hidden Assets

Hidden Assets is about "family, power and the corrosive effects of boundless greed" and he story moves between a small town in Co Clare and the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp.

A description of the show reads: "A routine raid sees the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) expose a link between a wealthy Irish family, a stash of rough diamonds and a series of deadly bombings in Belgium.

"But nothing is as it seems, as by-the-book Belgian Chief Inspector Christian De Jong (Hendrickx) and CAB Detective Emer Berry are thrown together in a heart-pounding race to halt a further horrifying terror attack in Antwerp."

The thriller was directed by Emmy-nominated Thaddeus O'Sullivan (Into The Storm, Silent Witness) and leading Belgian director Kadir Balci (Cold Courage).

"I think when you have women writing for women it's great because the characters become a little bit more three dimensional."

The drama was shot in late Spring/early summer of this year, and Simone says it was nice to be back working after being off for nearly a year due to the pandemic.

"I was a year at home doing bits and bobs, like audio books and writing," she says. "And then suddenly it was back in the deep end really quickly in another country with all the restrictions, but it was great to be back, but it was a very different atmosphere."

Peter Coonan

She added, "My stamina was sort of low because usually you’re going from job to job and your stamina is good from getting up at five o’clock in the morning and getting home at eight at night, you’re sort of used to it.

"When you haven’t done it for a year, your stamina needs to build up again, so I was pretty exhausted, but it was good."

Like several new drams in RTÉ’s new Autumn schedule, Hidden Assets boasts a strong female cast and Simone says she leapt at the chance to take part in the show.

"It was great. I was sent the scripts around Christmas and I immediately knew I wanted to be in it," she says.

"I think when you have women writing for women it’s great because the characters become a little bit more three dimensional and they’re filled out a little bit more and all of the female characters in this are brilliant. They’re really strong, complex but vulnerable, interesting women."

Hidden Assets will air on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player this Autumn