In BBC1’s new drama The Deep (Tuesdays), Minnie Driver plays the captain of a submarine on an expedition to find unknown life forms deep beneath the Arctic ocean.

They’re also looking for a sub that mysteriously disappeared years earlier…

This is your first appearance in a British TV drama for 14 years – what made you take the part?

“I don’t really think about whether something is film or television when choosing a project. It’s all about the right script for me and as soon as I started reading this I thought, ‘Wow, this actually reads like a film.’ The plot is truly mysterious and takes some very unexpected turns. It really was a page-turner.”

You play Frances Kelly, the no-nonsense submarine captain who has to take charge in a crisis and try to save the lives of her colleagues. It’s refreshing to see a woman take control in such a situation!

“I really like watching strong female characters on TV and Frances Kelly totally fits into that mould. She’s a very committed, apparently single-minded captain and scientist and I was really attracted to playing someone like her who has to keep her cool when making decisions that could literally mean life or death.”

You filmed The Deep in a purpose-built replica submarine – how do you think you would handle the real thing?

“I would absolutely hate to have to live in an actual submarine. It was horribly hot and unbelievably claustrophobic in there. I really have no idea how those men and women do it for real. I take my hat off to them because for me, by the end of filming, I was so happy knowing I would never have to set foot in that flipping submarine ever again!”