Lacey Turner says she was left in awe of female troops after shooting Our Girl because of her own lack of bravery.
The EastEnders star was given time off from the BBC soap to work on the drama, where she plays soldier Molly Dawes, but said she was nothing like her character in real life.
She told The Sun: “I’m not brave like her. I am the opposite, scared of everything. I spent most of the time running away from a cat.
“I’m there with 12 weapons, two military advisors and 10 boys, and I am scared of a cat. It was pathetic.
“Molly is brave, so brave. I would love to be like that. To say, ‘I am going to do this with my life.’ I am comfortable in my own skin, but not brave enough to get on a plane to Afghanistan.”
Lacey added that she got the chance to swear in Our Girl, which she is not allowed to do in soap: “I got home and thought, ‘My god, my language is disgusting’.”
The actress plays Stacey Branning in EastEnders and said she was glad to get the opportunity to do other things, but found drama easier than soap.
She admitted: “I was curious to find out what else was out there and how everything works. It’s actually easier. Once you’ve worked on EastEnders you can work anywhere. Dramas are single camera, very slow. There’s time to be creative.”
Our Girl screens on BBC1 this autumn.