Are we going to see a different side to Lady Mae this series?
I think it’s more digging underneath because at the end of the last series she was the person that you knew the least about. She was only ever there when she wanted to be there and you only saw her on her terms and when she got dressed up to the nines. Now, with the arrival of her husband, you get to see more behind closed doors.
Her other half, Lord Loxley, is a nasty character – do Lady Mae’s emotions come into play this time around?
The thing with Lady Mae is she’s a survivor and I don’t think she’s an emotional being because she’s got a lot of thick layers that she’s had to put on to get to where she is but you’ll definitely see some cracks and some more vulnerability. I think we just learn what makes her tick. Last series she was always a guest at a dinner party being fabulous whereas this series you’ll see her where she’s a bit tired and a bit cranky and things aren’t quite going her way.
What’s Lady Mae’s relationship with Harry like at the beginning of this series?
Really good. I’ve always maintained if it was different times then they’d be great business partners – Harry and Mae – she’d be like Karen Brady to Alan Sugar. They really get on this series. With the arrival of the war, Harry feels like more of an outsider than ever because all the decisions are made in the House of Lords. I think he’s going through the same obstacles as an American that she goes through as a woman. Lady Mae’s reached as high as she can get as a woman in those times and Harry’s probably reached as far as he can get being an American so they have an understanding and seem to really know what each other’s going through.
Harry’s wife Rose befriends nightclub owner Delphine Day at the start of this series but Lady Mae is wary – what’s going on there?
They’re not keen on each other at all. Maybe it takes one to know one but she’s got her eye on Delphine because she’s wondering why she’s hanging out with the Selfridges so much with no apparent agenda when there will be one somewhere.
A drama of this period of course means donning the dreaded corset – how are you finding it?
I did think 1914 – maybe it’s not corsets? And I was Googling to see because I knew the 1920s wasn’t. I wondered if that all fell just before the war… but no. I hate the corset and I’ll make no bones about it. It looks great, I understand why we have to wear them and they make you sit differently but it’s horrible. I even start getting a tingling sensation in my hands at 16 hours and my feet feel really cold because it’s just blocking everything. It’s like your body just can’t quite pump things round like it does.
What do you enjoy most about playing Lady Mae?
She’s a baddie really but she’s got a lot of redeeming factors and she’s quite delicious.