Our Girl: Lacey Turner on her journey from Walford to Afghanistan

The former EastEnders actress on her obsession with Dame Edna and why Come Dine With Me makes her stomach turn

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What programme can’t you miss?

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One Born Every Minute is my favorite programme and has been for years. In another life I’d love to have been a midwife.

And what can’t you stand?

Come Dine With Me makes my stomach turn over. I hate the double dip: everyone tastes the sauce then puts the spoon back in the pan. Ugh! Or they drop the spoon on the floor, pick it up and use it again. Disgusting.

Childhood favourite?

My mum tells me I was a bit of a weird child. I never used to want cartoons; all I wanted to watch was Dame Edna. I can’t remember that far back so I’ve no idea why or if I got it or not.

Who was your first crush?

I used to fancy Ryan Giggs because he was on the side of Capri Sun packets. I collected them and kept them in my desk drawer at school.

What makes you blush?

I’m not very good at being Lacey. If somebody says: you can go onto BBC Breakfast and pretend to be this person, I could do that; but I’m rubbish at being me. I panic and say embarrassing things. Live interviews are the worst bit of the job.

Do you keep up with what’s happening in EastEnders?

No, I didn’t even watch it while I was in it! You don’t have time and once you’ve been there for 14 hours you don’t want to. Now I mostly watch TV at night, in bed after a cup of hot chocolate, and at the moment I’m really, really into The Following with Kevin Bacon.

How did you come to be an EastEnder?

When I was 14, I worked on a market stall near where it’s filmed. I used to see the actors drive past and say to my mum, “I’m telling you, I can do that!” So it’s weird that I ended up playing Stacey who also sold clothes on the market, although she was better at it than I was.

What drew you to your character in Our Girl – Molly Dawes?

Her strength and the determination and just this way she has about her: that she could get away with anything. Also, the military training was really fun.

Fun? So I assume you didn’t go out to Afghanistan…

No, the Afghanistan scenes we actually filmed in a quarry in Leighton Buzzard with a couple of goats. It was freezing but I relished the challenge of, say, trying to get over a 12ft wall when you’re only 5ft nothing. Most of the people in the film are real soldiers.

Did they give you any tips?

I asked them to watch me 24/7 because the Army is so strict: if even a thumb is out of place recruits have to do it again and again and again, and the same applied to me. A few times sergeants shouted at me – they mistook me for a real cadet because I was in the same uniform and didn’t have my BBC badge.

Whose shoes would you like to step into?

I’d love Anne Hathaway’s career. I think most people in my position would!

A bit like your sister, Lily, when she followed in your footsteps into Walford?

Yes, she’s 11 and a proper drama queen. She’ll make me watch her on TV and I’ll say, “you were all right”. I don’t want her to get a big head and go down the wrong path. Someone’s got to keep her grounded!


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Lacey Turner stars in one-off drama Our Girls – Sunday at 9:00pm on BBC1