Lewis star Angela Griffin – “I was out of work for a year”

"I thought it was because I was s**t. My agent kept telling me that it happens to everyone, but I just lost myself," says the actress

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Actress Angela Griffin has revealed to RadioTimes.com that she lost confidence in her acting abilities after being out of work for 12 months.

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Former Coronation Street star Griffin – who has joined the cast of Lewis as DS Lizzie Maddox – said that the experience of not finding acting jobs hit her particularly hard.

“I had a year out of work. And I thought it was because I was s**t,” she says. “My agent kept telling me that it happens to everyone, but I just lost myself. I had worked since I was 16. I went back to work when my kids were five months old. Both times. So I just didn’t know what to with myself. I realised that I am as defined by acting as I am by being a wife, a mother and a friend. It’s that core to me.”

Griffin, who has two children with husband Jason Milligan, rose to fame as hairdresser Fiona Middleton on Corrie before landing subsequent roles in such dramas as Holby City and Waterloo Road as well taking on presenting duties for Sky1’s daytime show Angela and Friends.

In her year out of the limelight, she set up production company Mulberry Films with former Waterloo Road producer Sharon Hughff, before eventually getting the part of Dolly in the West End transfer of hit farce One Man, Two Guvnors. “My confidence is now back,” she says, with evident relief.

It’s Lewis that sees her return to our television screens, where she stars alongside Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox for a new run of Oxford-based mysteries.

“I’ve always wanted to play a police officer,” she enthuses. “If you look at any interview I’ve done over the past five years, all I ever say is, ‘I want to be a cop with a gun’. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the gun as it’s just not the Lewis way. But I do get to be a cop and I do love the days when I get to run through fields to chase a perpetrator or have a bit of a tussle.”

Another ambition would be to have a guest role on her current TV favourite Game of Thrones – but with certain caveats: “I’d have to have the ‘no nudity’ clause. I’m not getting my kit off!” she laughs. “Nobody needs to see it and I don’t particularly want anyone to see it. I think I’ve shown my top half in a bra. But no one has ever seen my boobs on TV.”

Griffin is also open about the warm reception that she’s received on the set of the Morse spin-off, where her presence will no doubt change the dynamic between Lewis and Hathaway. What was it like coming onto a show where the partnership between Whately and Fox was so well established?

“Do you know what? It’s been all right. Kevin and Laurence have been amazingly warm and accepting. And the writers haven’t brought Lizzie in saying, ‘Hi, I’m here and I’m going to save the day!’ You’ve got to be kind to your established audience who love the programme and don’t necessarily like change. So they’ve been conscious of Lizzie’s intro into the show. They’ve been really careful about the relationship.”

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The new series of Lewis begins on Friday 10 October at 9pm on ITV