Our Girl’s Michelle Keegan says she loves filming abroad despite missing husband Mark Wright

16

When TV Magazine speaks to Michelle Keegan on the phone from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she’s only halfway through a gruelling eight-month filming schedule that’s taken her all around the world.

But instead of being homesick and pining for her husband, TV presenter and former TOWIE star Mark Wright, Michelle is actually enjoying the fact that they’re in different countries.

 Our Girl: An average of more than five million viewers tuned in to Michelle’s first series as Georgie last year

BBC
Our Girl: An average of more than five million viewers tuned in to Michelle’s first series as Georgie last year

“I’m lucky that there’s a very good invention called FaceTime,” explains the actress, 30, who plays British Army medic Lance Corporal Georgie Lane.

“The time difference is really hard [Malaysia is seven hours ahead of the UK], but we FaceTime as much as we can – and text throughout the day.

“As soon as I wrap up filming here, I’m going to see him in the States [Mark is a reporter on US entertainment programme Extra] and I’ll spend a month there, which will be very nice for me, to have a bit of time off. Everyone says absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it is nice to miss someone.

“I’m lucky – last year I had a lot of time off and we were with each other every day and night.

“But for the minute, it’s nice to spend some time apart and be able to miss each other again.

“When I started filming this series, it was the beginning of April and I thought: ‘I’m not done until December,’ it just sounds so long, but I’ve had lots of visitors. Mark, my mum and my brother have been out – and the people you work with become your family.”

 Michelle and Mark tied the knot in 2015, almost a year after her Corrie character Tina McIntyre was killed off

Rex
Michelle and Mark tied the knot in 2015, almost a year after her Corrie character Tina McIntyre was killed off

Michelle admits to struggling with the extreme heat in Malaysia, even posting a picture on Instagram of her hiding out in some toilets because it was the only place nearby with air conditioning.

But she does at least have some home comforts with her.

“I bring Yorkshire teabags with me, it’s not very glamorous!” she laughs.

“I also have to bring slippers, I’m wearing them right now. I’ve got my laptop so I’m watching a lot of Netflix, but I missed Love Island this year.

“I’ve got a WhatsApp group with all my best friends and whenever they were talking about Love Island, I had to mute them because I was so jealous!”

At least Michelle has a fellow northerner – and former Coronation Street star – to help her feel at home, as Sean Ward, aka Corrie’s evil Callum Logan, plays soldier Fingers in Our Girl.

“I left Corrie before Sean started but I loved that he worked on it because we get on really well,” she smiles.

“It’s nice to have a fellow Manc in the cast. He’s like all the boys are. They all rib each other and because I’m one of the lads now, that includes me as well.

“We always corpse [laugh unintentionally when acting]. When one goes, everyone goes, it’s like a wave. And it takes ages for us to get serious again. The worst culprit for that is Ben Aldridge [who plays Captain James]. It’s really funny – and very frustrating for the crew.”

 Our Girl: She’s discovered a new-found confidence and actually relished being away from husband Mark

BBC
Our Girl: She’s discovered a new-found confidence and actually relished being away from husband Mark

BACK IN ACTION

Our Girl series three with Michelle Keegan will be back on BBC soon

new target

New pics from Our Girl show Michelle Keegan’s character getting close to new man

Strictly savage

Michelle Keegan ‘likes’ old tweet slamming Mark Wright’s ex Lauren Goodger

SCHERZY’S BOY

X Factor heartthrob Brad Howard hints at Nicole Scherzinger romance

fighting fit

Michelle Keegan talks long-distance relationship with Mark Wright in new shoot

Michelle has made a successful transition from soap star to ‘serious’ actress – and any doubts about the challenges that Our Girl once presented have evaporated.

“I feel more comfortable in what I’m doing now, I suppose,” she reflects. “I feel more comfortable in the Army, I know what I’m doing medically and I know the character.

“We have medical advisers on set with us at all times, but you’re trying to do your lines, do something medical and bring emotion to a scene. I struggled with that last time, whereas this time I know the bones of what I’m doing.

“When I got this role, I was like: ‘Could I be in the Army? Could I be believable? Could I do the part justice? It’s very physical and I’ve never done anything like that before.

“The Army adviser said I wasn’t walking like a soldier – little things like that. However, I’ve really loved exploring that side of Georgie, even how I move and how I sit in the make-up chair.

“My whole mannerisms change as soon as I’ve got the uniform on.

“I was a big fan of the first series and I didn’t know how the audience was going to take to Georgie and the totally different direction, but I think we made it look really epic on screen.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult with the heat and the hours we’re working. But today, two cast members and I were in the middle of a jungle, walking through a river, and it was so picturesque.

“We turned to each other and said: ‘This is amazing. We’re doing this as a job.’ You never get to see these parts of the world and we’re getting paid to do an amazing job in these countries.

 Our Girl: Georgie (fourth right) is tasked with mentoring reckless new recruit Maisie (Shalom Brune-Franklin, second right) in this week’s opening episode

BBC
Our Girl: Georgie (fourth right) is tasked with mentoring reckless new recruit Maisie (Shalom Brune-Franklin, second right) in this week’s opening episode

“Sometimes you have to stop, pinch yourself and go: ‘Yeah. I’m very lucky.’”

It’s Michelle’s second series as Georgie in the hit BBC drama, after she took over the lead role from EastEnders star Lacey Turner.

And in a ringing endorsement of her performance, the run has been increased to 12 episodes – which will be split into three series shot as far afield as Nepal and South Africa.

“I’m really excited that it’s been extended – last year I thought it ended quite abruptly,” Michelle explains.

“This time round, because we’re filming in lots of different locations and telling different stories, we’re keeping it fresh.

“Not only is it great storytelling but it looks beautiful on screen as well, and that adds a different direction to the drama.”

There are new missions ahead for Georgie, including helping people after a Nepalese earthquake – where locals were employed as actors on set – and also, of course, romantic entanglements, not least with handsome fellow soldier and ex-fiancé Elvis Harte, played by The Musketeers’ Luke Pasqualino.

 Michelle celebrated her birthday in June while filming in South Africa

Instagram/michellekeegan
Michelle celebrated her birthday in June while filming in South Africa

“We open this series in Syria, and Georgie’s working alongside Elvis. She says they’re just friends, but we know that Elvis and Georgie will never be just friends,” Michelle teases.

“I can’t tell you any more than that, though, I need to be careful what I say!”

While Michelle admits that she had the same body double as in the last series, she did brave some of her own stunts.

“We had to run away from a bomb,” she recalls.

“It went off behind us and we had to dive on the floor, but we didn’t know where the crash mats were. They were built into the sand, so we had to trust the stunt coordinator to get the bombs just right – as we dived we hoped the mats were underneath us!

“And there’s another scene where Georgie is getting shot at, which was really fun. They would cut to me falling against a rock and I’d get back up again and then the stunt co-ordinator would do the running for me.

Michelle Keegan strips off for Women’s Health boxing shoot

“I wasn’t allowed to do that as it was too dangerous and over really gravelly terrain, and I couldn’t risk going over on my ankle.

“I have got bruised and I always get injured when I leap out of the truck as I’m not a very good jumper.

“They don’t look high on camera but I’m nervous about the trucks, especially when I have to do it at a really fast pace.”

When it comes to those for whom Army life is real life, Michelle is full of admiration.

“I’ve always respected the Forces, always,but I think you find new-found respect for them,” she says.

“You know how hard they work and what they give to the country. The Army is their life, they give their life to their country, so I have ultimate respect for them.”

Don’t know what to watch tonight? Get your daily guide to What’s On TV from The Sun Online

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here