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Julie Hesmondhalgh: 'Getting Broadchurch role was like winning a competition'

Julie Hesmondhalgh
(Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

Former Coronation Street Julie Hesmondhalgh has said being cast in the new series of Broadchurch felt like "winning a competition".

Former Corrie star Julie Hesmondhalgh has said she felt like a “competition winner” when she was cast opposite David Tennant and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch.

The actress, who is best known for playing Hayley Cropper on the soap, added that taking a photo with the cast of the hit crime drama felt like a trip to the waxworks at Madame Tussauds.

She will join the cast for the third and final series of the ITV drama, playing the victim of the serious sexual assault that is the central mystery of the series, but said she jumped at the chance to be in the show regardless of the sensitive nature of the role.

She said: “I would love to say it was because of the character but when you get the call saying ‘Do you want to be in Broadchurch?’ you don’t really go ‘What’s the part? Is there an issue attached to it?’.

“It was just an amazing phone call to get.”

The attack on her character Trish Winterman will be the final case investigated by Tennant’s Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and Colman’s Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller.

Julie added: “All my first scenes were with them straight after (the rape) and I’ve had to work very hard at feeling like I’m not a competition winner. I’m a woman in my late 40s now and I’ve got to stop acting as though it’s ‘thank you very much for having me’.

“On the first day I was a little bit overwhelmed by it all. We did a photo shoot the other day and it was like being at Madame Tussauds, I was like ‘What the hell am I doing here?’.

“But I had that in Corrie as well, over the years there would be times when I would be in the Rovers thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’. I would step outside myself and just go: ‘Oh my god I’m in Coronation Street! There’s Rita!’. It’s a little bit like that.”

Julie has abandoned her native Lancashire accent for her role in the drama and will instead be offering up her “best Dorset” for the show, filmed against the backdrop of the Jurassic Coast.

She said: “That has been a challenge. I said right at the start, ‘It’s a long way from home, is this’, so I got a really great dialect coach who I had worked with when I did a play at the Royal Exchange in Manchester at the beginning of the year when I had to do American and she was amazing and really helped me.”

Broadchurch returns to ITV at 9pm on February 27.