The star of ITV's new crime thriller The Level Lindsey Coulson is delighted to be leaving the strain of playing a long-running soap character behind

Detective Chief Inspector Michelle Newman is a strong woman, but there aren’t many other similarities between her and the character Lindsey Coulson’s most famous for playing, EastEnders’ Carol Jackson.

Lindsey stars as the police chief in ITV’s sprawling new crime drama The Level and the actress has been telling us how nice it has been to play a reserved authority figure rather than someone who wears their heart on their sleeve.

“I didn’t want anything with too much emotion attached to it,” said Lindsey, who left EastEnders last year. “So when this arrived I was very excited. I felt a bit washed out by all of the EastEnders stuff and I wanted to play someone who doesn’t go home with her emotion.”

Lindsey co-stars with a cast that includes Robert Glenister, Karla Crome, Robert James-Collier and Noel Clarke in this new six-part thriller about a young detective (Crome) who struggles to hide a criminal connection from her childhood.

Yet while Lindsey has a lot of love for EastEnders and would never rule out returning to the soap, she’s enjoying the different direction her career is now taking.

“It was nice to play someone who wasn’t always under pressure and always angry,” she explained. “It was good to feel like I’ve slightly stepped away from Carol. I absolutely adored playing her, but I just needed some space from that.”

With producers hinting that The Level could return for a second series if the first is a success, Lindsey said she’d definitely be on board.

“I had a wonderful time on this series. I would love to do it again and it would be lovely to come back, but you don’t know if people are going to like it, so one day at a time.”

The Level premieres on ITV on Friday, September 30