TV preview: Lewis

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One of life’s natural chatterers, Angela Griffin is used to whiling the hours away nattering to anyone and everyone, but it’s at home, with her youngest daughter, where she has the most illuminating and unusual of conversations.

Recently, the actress, who is mum to 10-year-old Tallulah and seven-year-old Melissa, found herself having a philosophic chat in the garden over the girls’ trampoline.

“I want to throw it away because it looks horrendous. It’s torn and has bits missing, so I was like, ‘Right, it’s going. I’m sick of it!’” she explains, laughing. “Melissa said, ‘Mummy, mummy, trampolines are like marriages’, and I was like, ‘What?’ [She replied] ‘Well, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it’s about how much time you spend on them’.

The girls are impressed with their mum’s latest role, as “ambitious” detective Lizzie Maddox in long-running crime drama Lewis, alongside Kevin Whately, who stars as the titular detective, and Laurence Fox, who plays DS James Hathaway.

“They watched the first two episodes with me and they loved it,” she reveals, smiling. “Lewis is probably just on the edge of what they can watch. They really, really enjoyed it and really liked the character. They were telling me they were really proud of me. I was like, ‘You can watch more of my things!’”

Griffin’s mum also approves. “Lizzie is probably my mum’s favourite character I’ve done. I brought her on set with me and she met Laurence and Kevin... I have a lot of brownie points now. That got a lot of ticks in the mother-daughter sticker chart!”

She may be new to Lewis, but she’s already had some meaty storylines.

“When we initially meet Lizzie, she’s not in a particularly brilliant place at work because Hathaway has been promoted to detective inspector, so he is her boss,” she explains. “Unfortunately, he is having trouble delegating and sharing the workload. Lizzie’s more than capable of doing the jobs he takes on, and she just feels a bit [like she’s being] treated like a child.”

Leeds-born Griffin, who has also starred in shows like Cutting It and Waterloo Road, has been in the biz now for more than 20 years - so she’s often approached in supermarkets by viewers who recognise her, setting her mind to wonder how long it will be before she overhears someone saying, “Oh, there’s that girl from Lewis”.

Happy to chew the fat with fans, there is, nevertheless, one question that puts her nose out of joint.

“I really hate it when people ask, ‘Where do I know you from?’,” Griffin admits. “I can’t bear saying, ‘Well, I’m an actress from the television. You may know me from such shows as Coronation Street or Holby City’. I can’t do that.”

Surely it’s better than being mistaken for fellow former Corrie actress Natalie Gumede, though, which has happened on a fair few occasions...

“Natalie was in Strictly Come Dancing; I have had a bit of, ‘Well done, you did brilliantly on the dancing!’” Griffin confesses, laughing.

Unsurprisingly for someone who started her screen career while in her teens, she feels “completely at home” on a TV set, and is far too grounded to throw a diva strop over a mistaken identity.

And while it’s safe to say that Griffin’s size-nine feet are rooted firmly on the ground, she does allow herself a moment of quiet glory.

“I liked winning a National Television Award when I was in Coronation Street for Best Newcomer,” she says, recalling the gong she picked up in 1995. “I’ve got to say, that was so unexpected. I still lived in Leeds when I was in Corrie, and I went over and did the job but I still had the same friends. I didn’t feel like I was showbiz or on the telly or anything like that. I felt really proud of that.”

A cursory glance at Griffin’s jam-packed CV suggests her career has been a very fruitful one, but she’s not one to take success for granted.

“Every time I get a job, I feel quite proud, because it’s usually quite a slog to get there,” says Griffin. “There are so many actors out there, so many people going for the same roles. Just getting a job in the first place... you’re got to give yourself a massive pat on the back.”

Lewis, Friday, 9pm ITV

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