Michelle Keegan tells TV Times about her first post-Coronation Street role in new BBC1 drama Ordinary Lies (premieres on BBC1 tonight!), her future plans and why we won’t be seeing her on Strictly Come Dancing…
So, what made you choose Ordinary Lies to make your post-Corrie debut?
“I couldn’t put the script down. It has such a fresh edge to it so I knew it was the one that I wanted. I love the idea of these people all working together, but none of them knows what’s going on behind closed doors. It shows how lies can start in the smallest way and then quickly get out of control. The audience will relate to it, but also be shouting at these people on their screens!
“It’s a great gig and it’s so good to be in another big ensemble, because it’s like being in a family again.
“I’m aware though that people are watching for my next move and whether I made the right decision to leave Corrie, so I feel the pressure and I get nervous because Corrie is all I have ever known, but I just waited for the right thing to come along.”
Is your character Tracy anything like Tina McIntyre?
“They both like a good time, but Tracy is more girly and takes more pride in her appearance, although I do miss Tina’s earrings! Also, whereas Tina was settled in her life, Tracy wants to better herself, but her plans go horribly wrong and a lie snowballs her into trouble. It starts off as this great trip to the Dominican Republic and then it turns really sinister. But we did get to film there for 10 days, which was lovely.”
Did you swap soap stories with your Ordinary Lies co-stars Sally Lindsay and Jo Joyner?
“Yes, I’d met them both before and Sally and I talked about Corrie a lot. Her character was with Peter Barlow too, so we had a laugh about that. I also watched what she and all the other actors in Ordinary Lies were doing and how they deliver lines, which is what I always did on Corrie.”
Was Coronation Street a good training ground?
“Oh, it’s the best acting school you can go to because it is just constant; you’re working every single day with so many different people on so many different scripts. I had great storylines too; I was pregnant in one and had depression in another so I really learned along the way.”
Are you glad that Tina died though, so that you don’t have the safety net of going back?
“When I first found out that Tina was being killed off, I did wonder whether it was the right decision to leave, but now I think it definitely was because it makes you challenge yourself more because you can’t look back and think, ‘I might be able to go back in a year’.”
Do you still watch it?
“I’m so busy, but when I’m home, I try to catch up because there’s something homely about Corrie for me. I’ve always been a fan, even when I was in it I just watched it as a viewer. I did tune into Peter’s trial last year. It was weird seeing my face on the gravestone in a classic Tina pose; they could have used a better shot!”
You’re so busy at the moment, but what would you love to do next?
“I’m making a British film next month and I’d love to do a period drama like The Tudors. I’d also be really up for the challenge of doing comedy. Tina didn’t have a lot of comedy moments, she was always shouting or crying, but I loved the scenes where I had banter with Si Gregson, who plays Steve, they were hilarious. Also, if a brilliant job came up in America, I’d love to go and work over there.”
Your fashion and beauty ranges are doing really well too…
“Because I was contracted to Corrie and ITV, I was restricted as to what I could do so it is nice now that I can be my own boss and pick what jobs I do. To be able to design things is totally different and exciting and that world really interests me.”
How are things going with the wedding preparations?
“I’ve been trying to plan the wedding and work, but it is going really well and we are both so excited, we can’t wait. I don’t mind the attention, it just comes with the job and I’ve been lucky because I don’t get a lot of backlash, which is nice.”
Would you ever follow Mark and do Strictly Come Dancing?
“I saw what he went through and he enjoyed it and I loved going to watch him, but I don’t think I could do something that doesn’t come naturally to me. The thought of it absolutely terrifies me and makes me feel sick!”