Grace Chan Leads a New Generation in “Raising the Bar”

TVB’s upcoming legal drama Raising the Bar <四個女仔三個BAR > may bring out a new generation of television stars. Premiering on January 26, the drama stars Louis Cheung (張繼聰) and rookie actresses Grace Chan (陳凱琳), Jeannie Chan (陳瀅), Stephanie Ho (何雁詩), and Moon Lau (劉佩玥) as newly qualified barristers and solicitors who train in two law firms led by Ben Wong (黃智賢), Ram Chiang (蔣志光), and Elaine Yiu (姚子羚).

The 25-episode drama is produced by Joe Chan (陳維冠), who is known for casting new stars.

Grace Chan Learns From Ben Wong and Louis Cheung

Louis Cheung and Grace Chan portray two newly appointed barristers who apprentice under senior barrister Ben Wong. Grace and Louis start off as simple friends, but their relationship eventually progresses to an ambiguous romance.

Grace, who only debuted last year, said she is honored to be able to work so closely with seniors Louis and Ben.“They have a lot of weight [in their acting]. They taught me how to understand the dialogue and train my emotions. I really learned a lot.”

Grace disclosed that her character has a troubled past, which makes it one of her most challenging roles to portray thus far. Grace described her character to be someone who is introverted, traditional, but hardworking. However, she still insists to become a barrister. “I really like her character. She’s a great example to show others that one can always fill in the flaws of life.”

Jeannie Chan and Stephanie Ho: Opposites Attract

Jeannie Chan portrays a young privileged barrister who often clashes with “village girl” Stephanie Ho, whose character is raised in more humble circumstances. Despite their different backgrounds, Jeannie and Stephanie’s characters are close friends.

On portraying the role, Jeannie said, “Because of our characters’ different personalities, scenes [with Stephanie] were actually more comfortable to film. Besides, most of our scenes are meant to be funny, so I hope the audience will enjoy them.” Jeannie’s role will undergo a dramatic change—from being an inexperienced student to a mature and professional barrister.

Raising the Bar is not Jeannie’s first time working with producer Joe Chan. Asked if she got special treatment during filming, Jeannie laughed and said, “He actually spent more time taking care of the others. If he kept an eye on me, I’d actually be more nervous.”

While Grace, Jeannie, and Stephanie have had previous acting experience, Raising the Bar is Moon Lau’s debut drama. Joe Chan said he cast Moon due to her calm appearance and experience in hosting television programs.

Natalie Tong’s New Acting Challenge

Natalie Tong (唐詩詠) explained that her role, Ashley, is one of her most mature roles to-date. Natalie will have an ambiguous romance with Timothy Cheng (鄭子誠), who portrays her teacher.

“It’s a rather difficult role,” said Natalie. “I really want to thank the producer for giving me this opportunity. This is my first time playing such a mature role. [The producer] even told me not to smile as much because that will expose the youthful, naïve side of myself.”

To get a better grasp of her role, Natalie sought the help of one of her lawyer friends. “For a few months I followed barrister Osmond Lam (林國輝) and learned a lot about law and what it felt like to be a lawyer. I’m thankful of his support.”

Natalie’s relationship with Timony in the drama was also a big challenge for her. “Timothy is a really good costar. We share a very mature romance in the drama. Our characters go through a lot together, but we also had very little screentime to depict that. It’s a challenge.”

Source: Oriental Daily

This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Errr….sorry I will give this series a pass! Totally not interested in the casts.

    1. Same here. This will be a boring drama and I don’t like the rookie actresses.

      1. like any job, you can’t expect a rookie to get experience if you don’t give them a chance to become a better actor/employee.

      2. exactly. at one point all of these artistes were new.

        the cycle continues.

      3. If we want to make the business comparison – you wouldn’t take a brand new employee with no experience whatsoever and put them into a management role right off the bat, would you?  Of course no sane business person would do that — you start them off in a lower position to gain the experience, knowledge, skills, etc. they need first, then they work their way up to the management position (for some people it may take 2-3 years, others might be longer – of course there are other factors involved too).  Well, if TVB is just a ‘business’ like any other, shouldn’t they also follow the same concept?

        There’s nothing against giving newbies a chance….casting them in supporting roles first to ‘test the waters’ is still considered giving them a chance.  The problem is that TVB likes to cast newbies (most of them with no acting experience whatsoever) in lead roles right off the bat rather than having them ‘work their way up’ in a few supporting roles first….not only that, they also keep artists who have acting experience and who CAN act in supporting roles for 15/20/30 years before giving them a lead role (or not giving them one at all).  Instead of casting newbies in the lead roles, why not cast ones with more experience as the leads and put the newbies in the supporting roles?  With the number of series that TVB films in a year, how hard is it to test out the newbies in a few series, then if they perform up to par, give them lead roles in a year or two (or three or four)?

        Bottom line is that TVB’s artist management system is messed up.  Sure, they’ve had the same system for decades, but at least in the old days when they had the original version of the acting classes to complement the system, they had potential graduates participate in series as ‘kelefes’ to test them out first (and even after they graduated, most only did supporting roles for awhile, though of course, some moved up quicker than others…and there were deifnitely exceptions too).  Nowadays, not only do they no longer have a ‘proper’ acting class (the ‘accelerated’ courses that they do now can’t compare to the full length ones they did in the past), they also haven’t improved their system at all.   It’s truly time for TVB to overhaul their system!

      4. I feel acting is a different rule. See the role, find the actress that fits the role in age and appearance and hopefully can act. This series are about young lawyers, chambering students and they need fresh perspective. I only hope some of them can act decently. Gotta start somewhere.

      5. @Funn:Yes and no.  Of course, the artists need to fit the role too, that part I agree with – but that doesn’t mean they need to cast all newbies with little to no acting experience.  I’m sure they can find actresses with at least 1 to 2 years of acting experience (or whatever the equivalent is in number of series with supporting roles) who would still fit the role age-wise and personality-wise.   Also, to me, if they need to rely solely on the veterans and the supporting artists rather than the leads to carry the series (which it looks like will be the case here), then that already tells me that TVB doesn’t have confidence in those leads…if that’s the case, then why cast them in the first place?  Seems kind of pointless to me.

        As for trying something new and fresh – nothing against that either….but again, this isn’t the first time – TVB has done this (cast newbies with little to no experience in lead roles) way too many times already, to the point that it’s a ‘way of life’ for them.  If it were once or twice (or even three or 4 times) to see what happens, sure, I could accept that, but to do it so many times and have it backfire so many times, yet continue doing it?  Especially when they do have people who are more capable and also fit the role(s)?  Doesn’t make much sense to me….

      6. Totally agree with you llwy12. I’m not against new blood, but you can’t put all newbies into a drama without the old blood to support.

      7. I know there are more capable actresses but age wise, come on, most of them are stretching the age limit. But they can be supporting to give the series gravitas.

      8. Not everyone who won in pageants started in a leading role. Some did start from supporting role and then worked their way up. Some chose to host instead to act. Eg. Kelly Cheung.

        E.g. Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Myolie, Fala, Eliza Sam, Charmaine Sheh, Gloria Tang.

      9. Just saying. Some of the tvb artistes don’t care of what you guys think. They cant please everyone, esp old generations who think they are everything.

      10. many actors/actresses was started as supporting but they never came far,also many was started almost intantly as lead but after a few dramas they vanished.acting is an art,no mather how the system is,is something that you cant really can learn the basic skills but thats are tony leung or not,you are leslie cheung or not,so if you are really good and possess a strong character,no mather which system you begin with,you will be succesfull in sorry ilwy i do agree with funn that acting is a different story.

    2. Complain about TVB lacking talent and always uses the same actors.

      Refuses to give new blood any chance.


  2. Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong is in this drama but only as supporting role? I rather see them lead in this drama.

    Also I’m not impressed with the romance in this drama, Elaine and Natalie’s roles are both romantically linked to men over 50.

    1. It is not fair to Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong. They both can lead a series, but they just act supporting roles to promote those newbies who may not be able to act.

      Moreover, Elaine Yiu hasn’t had a leading role for a long time. Her acting is acting better and better now and should deserve some promoting from TVB. This applies to Natalie Tong too.

      1. in my opinion elaine yiu doesnt have enough 1st lead presence/charisma to become lead,but i agree why tvb didnt natalie tong,she have lead a drama before but it seems tvb have enough other choice now,a new generation of promising fadan like grace chan,eliza sam, etc.

    2. They can’t be the lead if the series is focusing on new generation in legal world, unless and it does happen where perhaps a legal clerk gains a law degree and practice as a lawyer. But in TVB world, this does not happen.

  3. Like a said before a bunch of nooks even tho Elaine and Ram chaing is in this one I think I’ll pass for sure like the rating will go nowhere

    Why in the world is grace leading ova Elaine and Natalie any how

  4. Will watch it for grace. Am intereted to chart her progress

      1. More like whether or not TVB has made the right choice on giving Grace lead, that’s all.

  5. I’m not fan of any of the cast but will give them a chance.

  6. Wait, so who is this Grace Chan girl?! She needs more acting experience to be cast as lead. TVB, what’s going on?! Are you scared more veteran TVB actors/actresses are leaving TVB so you’re pushing rookies to come forward when they’re not ready? Sigh.

  7. Excited to see Grace in this. Was very impressed with her debut in Overachievers.

  8. i think this is the tvb series to watch for the year. it will define the direction the company is moving toward. whether tvb has it in finding new talent or don’t know what they are doing.

    1. ok not they don’t know that they are doing. this series will define what to expect from tvb for the year.

  9. Grace looks rather ill/frail in the above pic.

    Does this mean Timothy won’t be playing a villain again in this series? That might make it worth a watch…

  10. Grace is getting prettier…. hope her acting have improvement. Even though its all new casts, gotta give it a try. Well, newbies had to have chances rite?

  11. wow a full rookie class serie… TVB is taking some risk… they’ll probably rely on Ram Chiang due to he recent popularity.

    1. At the same time HKTV is running a series with young people as well.

  12. Natalie Tong with Timothy Cheng? It doesn’t sounds right.

  13. I think Grace is overrated. She is average looking… don’t understand why so many people think she is pretty. She looks India. She has no figure… flat in the front and back. What is so attractive about her?

      1. Well I’ll see how she fairs in her second series vs Tracy Chu (who’s only done 2 series only so far?).

      2. Tracy has 5 series- only 2 of them have shown. She has filmed 2 series this year and have a cameo in another series.

      3. By the way:
        Elaine Yiu, Grace Chan and Jeannie Chan are the three female leads while Natalie Tong, Stephanie Ho and Moon Lau are the supporting female characters.

        But anyone can outshine despite the position, as seen in BK. Depends on their acting.

        What’s interesting is despite elena only having a cameo, her name is mentioned on the poster.

        江美儀: 客串 Cameo
        劉佩玥: 女配角 supporting character
        唐詩詠: 女配角 Supporting Character
        姚子羚: 第二女主角 second female protagonist
        陳凱琳: 第一女主角 first female protagonist
        何雁詩: 女配角 Supporting Character
        陳瀅: 第三女主角 Third female protagonist

  14. some1 needs to lead a new generation of producers and writers to create better scripts and stories and better dialogue…and put more money into production and film in real HK locations

    1. tvb does have some good producers and writers. They do film in real locations.. not sure what you meant

  15. i know we should give the younger generation a chance…. but i don’t want to, so pass.

  16. btw on chinese wiki page, it is jeannie, elaine and grace’s characters who are the female protagonists.

    Stephanie, Natalie and Moon are supporting characters.

    Elena kong has a cameo appearance and her name appeared on the poster.

    1. So saying Grace is leading the new generation as the title is misleading, not accurate translation.

  17. Just saw the first twi episodes. Tvb is making efforts in research and it shows. But it is the casting of some secondary actor in one of the pillars sort of roles that impresses me. Grace chan is doing fantastic. That girl has serious acting chops and is the right choise as one of the four young lawyers. Balances well with the veterans. I may not like grace’s thin frame but i am just happy for once a series about young people actually has young people in those roles. Grace is a star in the making if she keeps up with the momentum and is given the right roles. She has natural talent. And i do think all the male actors seem to go twinkly eye next to her.

    1. Er, sorry, but Grace Chan does not have the screen presence to lead a drama (no matter how much hype is behind her). I cringe whenever I see her.

      1. in my opinion grace is charismatic,i follow this serie because of her. im interested in the line ben wong-grace-louis cheung.

  18. This series reminds me of ‘Survivor’s Law’.

    ‘Survivor’s Law’ also put 4 newbies as lead in a series about young lawyers and it turns out to be an enjoyable drama.

  19. Watched an episode. Acting was terrible by the main lead, Grace Chan. Not to mention how skinny she is! She needs to gain some weight to look more attractive! I am going to pass the rest of this series even though I like Natalie and Louis… Stephanie ho is doing great as well!

    1. I thought she was fantastic considering she is new. Look beyond her skinny frame and the fact most wanted the other actresses to be the lead, don’t tell me Grace was terrible? Stephanie was cute but so far cute only.

      1. I think Grace was rather good at imputing a sense of quiet dignity in her character which she did also in Overachievers. A rare quality for someone so new.

      2. Ok I’m a big critic of beauty pageant turned actress in TVB but honestly I think Grace is very talented. She was really good in her first series and was not pale next to seasoned actors like Wayne Lai, Raymond Cho and Raymond Wing. Really reminded me of Amy Kwok and her debut. Grace is heads and shoulders above the other beauty pageant turned actress (I’ll refrain from naming names to avoid upsetting people inadvertently)

  20. Not usually into legal dramas, being a lawyer myself, because they usually frustrate me to no end! But I’ve started watching this and it’s actually pretty good (let’s see how the rest of the series plays out). I am also usually against newbies playing “lead” roles, but this young cast is quite likeable – it’s more of an ensemble cast rather than any one actress taking the lead, so it’s not as annoying as some other TVB shows where they thrust a newbie into the spotlight. Beauty pageant queens often come across as vain or obnoxious, but Grace Chan possesses, as Funn said, a quiet dignity, not to mention classic beauty. Before I watched her in this I was expecting to dislike her, but now that I’ve seen her on screen I’m quite happy to see more of what she can do.

    Also: Natalie, Elaine, Ben and Louis…some of my favourite actors in the same show, playing lawyers. Enough said.

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