When Zawe Ashton first started out on Fresh Meat, she had no idea her character, Vod, would land such an ardent fan base... "I started out playing her, thinking, 'Oh god, everyone's going to think she's not empathetic,'" she told RadioTimes.com.
But two series later, Vod has had a strange effect on the telly-viewing women of this country. "In the past year there's been this amazing girl crush movement for Vod," explained Zawe. "I get tweets saying, 'Watching Fresh Meat, my boyfriend's jealous because I can't get enough of Vod.
"There's this whole league of girls who have openly got in touch with me saying they have huge girl crushes on me. They're straight, gay, in a relationship or married and it's amazing because I think it takes a really special female character to create that.
"I read this article on all the traits that you need to have as a woman for people to feel comfortable having a girl crush on you and they're pretty great traits so I've been thrilled by that."
Zawe – who was recently the bookies' favourite to fill Matt Smith's vacated role and become the first female Doctor – also discussed the future of Fresh Meat, now in its third series.
"I think Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the show's writers, are very classy in their way of not wanting too much of a good thing, although… Peep Show series nine?
"But I think of all us care about the show so much that we would never want it to go into the territory of causing people to roll their eyes, going, 'Oh, is that show still on?' From top to bottom, I think we all want it to be a show where everyone’s still excited about it and if that means cutting the cord then I think that’s what everyone would want to do, but we can’t bear the idea of not working together. That’s the most sad thing about it."
Series three of Fresh Meat begins tonight at 10pm on Channel 4
Read about what's new in Fresh Meat series three