CHANCES are you will recognise Kiran Sonia Sawar. She first turned heads a couple of years ago with a powerful performance in award-winning BBC drama Murdered By My Father, playing a young woman who died at the hands of a so-called “honour” killing.

The Glaswegian actor has since gone on to appear in Diana and I, The Boy With The Top Knot and most recently in hit Netflix series Black Mirror (more of that in a minute). Sawar is currently gracing our screens in ITV thriller Next of Kin alongside Archie Panjabi and Jack Davenport.

The six-part series, which continues this evening, centres on a Muslim family in London who become caught in the crossfire of terrorism and radicalisation. Sawar and Panjabi play sisters whose charity worker brother Kareem has been kidnapped and executed in Lahore.

Kareem’s student son Danny, meanwhile, has gone missing and is also now in Lahore, apparently under the wing of radical Islamists. Yet, things are perhaps not as cut and dried as they first seem. Suspicion and divisions emerge among the close-knit clan.

It is a role which Sawar has clearly relished. Not least the chance to work alongside Panjabi, who has starred in The Good Wife, A Mighty Heart and Bend It Like Beckham.

“On the first day when I met Archie Panjabi, she tapped me on the shoulder and I called her Kalinda – her character name in The Good Wife – and was then like: ‘Oh my God, sorry …’ because I was so starstruck by her,” she says.

“I was trying to teach all of the cast how to do Scottish accents and told them: ‘I would really like to do a Scottish-Asian family [in another film or TV show], so you all need to learn this accent please.’”

While viewers won’t hear her Glasgow-honed dulcet tones in Next of Kin, Sawar did use her own accent in Black Mirror playing an insurance investigator who utilises technology – a device dubbed “the recaller” – to extract memories and resolve claims.

The episode, Crocodile, was filmed in Iceland and is one of the most achingly beautiful – and bleak – within series four of Charlie Brooker’s satirical and sci-fi creation. Sawar starred with Andrea Riseborough, who was fresh from her role in Armando Iannucci’s satire The Death of Stalin.

“It was an absolute dream project,” says Sawar. “I still don’t believe that I even got given that opportunity. John Hillcoat directed it and I have been such a huge fan of his films for so long. I couldn’t even believe I was in the same room as him.

“The whole experience was just magical. The script was incredible. I got to work with some amazing actors. And when I turned up they were like: ‘We like the Scottish [accent], keep it,’ and I said: ‘What? I’ve never got to do Scottish yet. That is amazing.’”

That was largely down to Hillcoat. “He loves people being truthful and honest and real and raw,” she says. “We didn’t really wear make-up. He didn’t like anything false or fake. He wanted it all to be loose and messy. That is very rare in a director and I loved working with him for those reasons.”

Filming in Iceland gifted a raft of breathtaking panoramas and stunning landscapes, but there came regular reminders of the unforgiving, raw power of nature.

“You would film a scene walking into a house and then 20 minutes the whole mountain would be covered in snow in the background,” says Sawar. “The art department would be wiping down windows constantly and trying to wash hot water onto the driveway or cleaning the cars.

“Everybody else in the cast was involved in this two-day night shoot and mine was the only character who wasn’t in it. I woke up at 7am, opened the blinds to my little balcony and literally the snow was all the way up the window. It was the most snowfall that Iceland had in 60 years.”

Futuristic gadgets and end-game technology loom large at the heart of Black Mirror, yet it is the behaviour of human beings rather than machines which ultimately proves most jarring.

From the dark and twisted bones of Crocodile comes the stark realisation of what we as a species are truly capable of. “They are people in extreme circumstances,” agrees Sawar. “Similar to Next of Kin, [we see] the lengths that they will go to while trying to protect the ones they love.”

Next in the pipeline for Sawar is a role in the Mark Strong-led spy thriller, Deep State, which is due to air later this year. Again, she admits to a smidge of fangirling. “I was like: ‘Oh my God, I’m sitting at a table with Mark Strong drinking soup.’”

Did she get to use her Scottish accent? “No, I’m doing a little posh RP in that,” says Sawar. “Playing an MI6 analyst. I got to play a grown-up and wore high-heels for the first time on set.”

What was that like? “Not great. The director said: ‘Where do you want to walk from?’ and I went: ‘I’ll just sit here …’” She breaks off into laughter.

The eldest of five children (she has three sisters and a brother), Sawar spent her early childhood in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow before the family moved to Melbourne when she was three.

They returned to Scotland a decade later. By then a teenager, Sawar underwent a tough transition period settling back into life in her home city. “I was 13 when we came back,” she says. “I had full-on Australian accent.

“My confidence got a bit shot and it was a hard adjustment. I think 13 is probably the worst age to move across the world. I went to a Catholic school which was interesting, especially as an Asian girl with a strong Australian accent. I lost that.”

After leaving school, Sawar did a degree in marine biology at St Andrews University before winning a scholarship to study acting at Oxford School of Drama.

“I went to university at 17 and to be completely honest I didn’t really know drama schools existed,” she reflects. “I’m not from that family or that life. I needed to learn and grow up. I did a degree in something I was interested in.”

Sawar has the air of a young actor still finding her feet in the business. Details such as her age and private life are largely no-go areas. A line drawn in the sand.

She is clearly bright and speaks eloquently. Later, when chatting about her music tastes, Sawar professes to cry easily. “I think it is a good thing as an actor, but I don’t think it is ideal for normal life. It sometimes feels like I’m walking around with no skin on.”

Sawar moved to London in 2013 and has won a steady stream of TV roles, including parts in Casualty and Father Brown. She cites Murdered By My Father as the most pivotal to date.

“I feel with honour killings, as they are called, and forced marriages that it is very much a solvable problem. We need to talk about it in order to fix it.

“As long as it is still happening – and this isn’t just specific to the Asian community, it is across the world in many different communities – then it is something that should be discussed.

“Women and men shouldn’t be put in these circumstances and lives shouldn’t be lost to something that is preventable. That is why I think it is very important to talk about it.”

It is her hope that we are seeing a sea change in attitudes. Sawar recalls how her agent took a call from an imam in Bolton to say thank you after Murdered By My Father aired. “He and the other imams had watched the film and thought it was a really important subject matter,” she says.

The issue is one that remains close to her heart. “There is a film called Forced Marriages that I did which gets played in schools and has become a campaign for a charity called Our Girl. It is about engaging men in the community – as well as the women – to show that this is unacceptable.”

One of her stand-out moments on Next of Kin was starring alongside South Asian cinema legend Shabana Azmi. “Shabana is one of my mum’s role models,” she says. “It was amazing to work with such strong and opinionated women who are so respected in their art form.

Who were her own role models? “Archie Panjabi,” she laughs. “God, it is so weird I’m working with the person I have stalked for the past 10 years …”

Next of Kin is on STV, Mondays, 9pm