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Keeley Hawes: 'I look like a bag of old rubbish in Line of Duty'

(Image credit: BBC/Steffan Hill)

Keeley Hawes (opens in new tab) has relished the opportunity to throw vanity to one side for her role in BBC2 crime drama Line of Duty, saying she looks 'like a bag of old rubbish'.

Her dowdy character, DI Lindsay Denton, who comes under suspicion of corruption in the second series of the acclaimed drama, which premieres on Wednesday, is a far cry from her previous glamorous roles in the likes of Ashes to Ashes and Upstairs, Downstairs. But Keeley has told TV & Satellite Week (opens in new tab) that dressing down to play Lindsay has been a breath of fresh air.

"It is incredibly liberating not having any mascara on and it is brilliant to have a part when vanity doesn't come into it," says Keeley. "Shows like Ashes were a lot to do with the look and I suppose because I can look a certain way, people pigeon-hole you a bit in their own minds and can't imagine you doing anything else, but somebody clearly thought I could look like a bag of old rubbish and got me in! I just don't look in any mirrors.

Although Keeley has jumped at the chance to show off her grittier side, the role has also seen her suffer for her art as Lindsay is put through the wringer in a range of shocking scenes.

"It's an extraordinary role and it is all stuff I have not done before, but some things were not nice," she says. "I was waterboarded at one point which was appalling, but the worst thing was being shut inside a car boot; I really didn’t like that. In other shows I have been in coffins for example and I will do most things and take a deep breath, but after being pushed into a car boot and having it slammed... I really had to have a word with myself."

For the full interview, buy TV & Satellite Week which is on sale now.


Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.