The Last Post’s Jessica Raine on TV’s potential – and killing plants

The Call the Midwife star reveals her favourite show and that she's an amateur gardener – with mixed results

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Do you have a massive TV front and centre of your living room?

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Oh no, I don’t like that. It freaks me out when TVs are too big. Ours is in a corner. There’s a working fireplace in front of our sofa so me and Tom [her husband, actor Tom Goodman-Hill] can get a nice fire going. I don’t really like eating in front of the telly, but sometimes it’s just the best.

Do you watch much TV?

I love watching telly. I hate it when actors say they don’t watch television – they’re like, “Oh, why would I waste my time watching television?” It’s like saying you can’t spell – why wouldn’t you watch it?

I cannot bear it. Is watching a drama a bit of a busman’s holiday?

No, I find it really fascinating – more so because I know the process. I think it can go one of two ways when you are in the business. You can get a bit bitter about the parts you haven’t got, or you can appreciate how difficult making amazing television can be and be generous to other people’s efforts. And so when I see really, really good telly I absolutely love it. The potential in this media, beamed into people’s houses, is just huge, and I aspire for everything I do on it being the best it possibly can.

What have you been watching?

The Crown. My God, it’s so good. It was really inspiring. The writing is beautiful and subtle and I loved all the nuances – nuances that a lot of period dramas miss. Instead of trying to shoehorn in a load of events that we’d all recognise, it concentrated on character.

Are you a binge-watcher?

I do like a binge. But I feel a bit gross if I do more than two episodes in a row. Two is fine. Three’s too many. You’ve got to binge judiciously.

Are you a second-screener?

Yeah, and I hate myself for it. Looking at your phone while watching TV is such a horrible habit. I have got to stop but it’s a case of rewiring my brain. I don’t do Twitter but I am on Facebook – but no one would know my name on it. When you’re not in the living room you’re… Cooking. I cook and drink with big music on and dance madly. I quite like making a nice jambalaya, while singing “Jam-ba-lay-aaaa” to the tune of the Gypsy Kings’ Bamboleo.

Any surprising hobbies?

I’m really into gardening. Our new house has a garden and the gift list for our wedding was all plants. When I got back from filming The Last Post in South Africa I went totally garden crazy. I should say that I’m in the trial-and-error stage, where I am killing a lot of things.

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Jessica Raine stars in The Last Post, Sundays 9.00pm BBC1