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Keeley Hawes says it was an amazing experiece to read JK Rowling’s novel The Casual Vacancy, knowing that she would play one of the lead roles in a BBC/HBO adaptation.

Keeley will play Samantha Mollison, the mother of twins and a woman who’s becoming rapidly disenchanted with her life in the drama set in a small West Country community which is torn apart when a parish councillor dies and other locals vie for the position. The subsequent battle reveals factions and deep schisms and soon dark secrets become public knowledge…

Keeley told What’s on TV: “I read the book, The Casual Vacancy, on holiday and I absolutely loved it… You read a book and you always imagine the people you know as the characters. Well, I do. There’s always someone you have in your imagination and it was amazing to read it with me in it!

“I read the script and then I read the book because I knew I’d have time when I was away and it was so exciting to be reading a book and be reading about me and put myself into that situation!”

Keeley says The Casual Vacancy shoot begins in Bristol in 2-3 weeks, adding: “I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait, it’s something completely different for me and totally and utterly different from [Line of Duty detective] Lindsay Denton.”

Watch Keeley Hawes talk about The Casual Vacancy: