Ex-Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan has revealed that filming her BBC1 drama Our Girl has given her 'awesome respect' for armed forces
Former Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan has given TV Times an interview about the new series of BBC1's Our Girl.
What's the story?
Last year, former Corrie star Michelle Keegan had the unenviable task of replacing popular actress Lacey Turner as the leading lady of BBC1’s army drama Our Girl, playing new character determined medic Georgie Lane.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Michelle, 30, has made the series her own, wowing viewers and securing a bumper commission of twelve new episodes, split into three separate missions, all set in far-flung exotic locations.
The first story starts next Tuesday, with the next two expected to hit our screens next year. Michelle’s still got her feet on the ground, though, and after an action-packed day’s filming in the blazing Malaysian heat, she sticks the kettle on and calls TV Times from her hotel room, to tell us all about her latest adventures…
Michelle Keegan's TV Times interview
TV Times: How has Our Girl changed your perspective on the army?
Michelle Keegan: "I’ve always admired the armed forces, but I think you find an awesome new respect for them when you’re filming a show like this. The army is their life and they give their lives to their country. Our Girl has really opened my eyes. Unless you watch the news you don’t really know what’s going on in the world. The army are always going out to help people; it’s not just about gun fights and finding bad guys. They make a massive difference, and it’s good to explore that on TV so people can see what they do. I’m happy to represent female medics as well."
TVT: So where do we pick up with Georgie this year?
MK: "She’s still in the army, facing every challenge head on, and as the series begins we see her in Syria with the Special Forces. Then we cut to her getting a phone call from Captain James (Ben Aldridge) asking her to go on a humanitarian mission to Nepal, where there has been a series of devastating earthquakes. We join her as she heads out there to help rebuild villages, provide medical support and look after the children."
Georgie takes every challenge "head on" in Our Girl
TVT: At the end of last series, Georgie rejected both fiance Jamie (Royce Pierreson) and old flame, Elvis (Luke Pasqualino) to focus on her army career. But, with Elvis still on the scene, could love be on the cards?
MK: "Well, you’ll see old flames and new romances this series, both of which cause more trouble for Georgie. It’ll be quite a rollercoaster for her, and there’ll be heartbreak as well as joy. She has to work alongside Elvis again and she tells him they’re just mates, but the audience knows the two of them can never just be friends. There’s a really organic chemistry between those two characters and I love working with Luke."
TVT: Does it feel different coming into series three now that you’re more established on the show?
MK: "Yes I feel more comfortable now, I know what I’m doing and I know the character better. I was a big fan of the first series so last year I was really worried how the audience would feel about us taking the show in a new direction with a new actress. Personally I did wonder: Could I be believable as someone in the army? Could I do the part justice?
"It’s very hands-on and physical and I’ve never done anything like that before. My army advisor told me even my walk wasn’t right for a soldier. But I’ve loved the experience and now as soon as I get into the uniform all of my mannerisms change."
TVT: The series has been commissioned for an extended run; you must be delighted?
MK: "I’m really excited. Last year I thought the series ended quite abruptly; it could have gone for a few more episodes. This time we’re out filming in lots of locations and telling different stories in every mission, so it keeps the show fresh. It’s almost like a travelogue – Georgie is going to the ends of the world so you see her everywhere from the jungle to the mountains. Not only is it great storytelling, but it looks beautiful on screen."
TVT: You’ve been filming all around the world, from South Africa to Nepal. Is it fun shooting abroad?
MK: "Well it is very, very humid here in Malaysia – the crew are constantly giving me ice packs, and sometimes I have them hidden in my army vest! It takes a while to acclimatise but it’s amazing. I can’t believe I’m being paid to go to parts of the world you never get to see. There’s not a lot of time for sightseeing but we went to Table Mountain in South Africa and saw the beautiful temples in Nepal. The other day I was walking through a river in the middle of the Malaysian jungle, it was so picturesque, a real pinch yourself moment. I’d like to explore the Caribbean soon, so I’m going to pitch that as a mission for next series!"
TVT: Is there much joking around on set?
MK: Yes, we’ve become like a platoon ourselves! I’m one of the lads now and all the boys rib each other. There’s a lot of corpsing, and when one person goes all of us follow, it’s like a wave and it takes ages for us to get serious again.
TVT: There’s always a boot camp before filming, how was it this year?
MK: "It’s great, it really gets you in the right frame of mind. We spent a week doing medical training and learning about IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices], we even went to Sandhurst to meet up with some of the army. The stunts this year are amazing and I actually did a lot of them myself, but sometimes I wasn’t allowed, it was too risky. I always end up with bruises!"
Our Girl returns on BBC1 at 9.00pm on Tuesday 10 October.
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