Lewis star Angela Griffin talks to TV Times about inspiring her daughters, playing positive female role models and how proud she is to be a working mother. ()

How would you describe your lastest role as DS Lizzie Maddox?
“A perfect job.”

How do you juggle work and being a mum?
“I’m very confident in the fact that I’m a working mum, I love my job, which doesn’t diminish the fact that I love my children and I enjoy spending time with them. I try very hard not to have massive guilt about it, because I want my daughters to feel the same. They’re both very confident young women and I want them to grow up and go to work if they would like to. There’s nothing wrong with dad staying at home.”

You’ve had some brilliant opportunities in your career, do you think you’ve been lucky so far?
“I’m so lucky, I’ve consistently worked since I was 13 and I’ve done lots of different jobs. Some people would say it’s been quite a commercial career because I haven’t done the big films and the two-part dramas, but I’ve worked and I’ve played some really ace roles. Something like 97 per cent of actors are out of work at any one time, so in my eyes I’ve done all right.”

A couple of years ago, you had a short spell out of work, how did you cope?
“I hated it. I was moaning about not working and people would tell me that lots of actors face this all the time and don’t go from job to job, I’ve just been really lucky. Of course that’s true, but I didn’t cope with it at all well. It made me realise how much my job defines who I am. It would be nice to say that I’m a mother and a wife who just happens to work, but it’s not like that. I am an actor and I have to do it, whether it be on ITV prime time or in Theatre in Education. Otherwise I don’t feel very nice about myself.”

Was your husband supportive?
“He saw a completely different side of me during that year and he had to work hard at being the supportive partner – he passed!”

Is Maddox a strong female character girls can look up to?
“I’m so aware of so many female coppers on TV being a bit broken at home. I’m trying to make sure she’s an equal among the boys and it’s always in the back of my mind to create good strong female role models, rather than weak, silly ones, or ambitious, angry ones. She just works hard and is really good at her job. Plus there’s no sexual chemistry between Hathaway and Maddox. They aren’t going to end up in a stationery cupboard somewhere getting off with each other! She’s a happily married woman and he’s happily married to his job.”

What’s the relationship like with Maddox and her boss, Chief Supt. Innocent, aka Rebecca Font?
“There is a really warm relationship between them. Innocent is very pleased to bring Maddox into the workplace, and it’s very nice to see women being nice to other women in the office. I love Rebecca’s work too and she’s friends with my best friend, [former Holby City co-star] Nicola Stephenson. They have dinner all the time, so it’s lovely to be working alongside her.”

Kevin Whately previously joked to TV Times that he wanted to pass his exhausting action scenes over to you. Does that excite you?
“It’s dead exciting! If you look back over my interviews from the last 10 years, all I’ve said is I just want a gun! I don’t necessarily get a gun because it’s Lewis, but I do run around a bit chasing after criminals and I’ve done some fast driving too. I love all that physical stuff. I’ve got two older brothers so I think that’s where it all comes from – I just want to be a boy!”

We hear Laurence Fox is notorious for playing pranks on Kevin and the cast, how do you handle him?
“Laurence is quite a joker, he keeps you on your toes. Kev said to me this morning, ‘It’s taken me eight years to work out how to handle Lol and yet you’ve done it in eight weeks!’ We have a lovely time. I saw he had painted the face of one of the crew the other day. Maybe he’s just on his best behaviour with me because I’m a girl. I can give as good as I get, though – Laurence might find I’m very good at playing practical jokes too!’

Lewis screens on ITV on Friday evenings.