What’s your perfect night in?
It would be watching a box set of The West Wing. I love it. I especially like the fact that the actors are always walking and talking. That’s very tricky to do. Of course, it’s not as tricky as baking and talking, which is what Lesley and I have to do in Downton [Lesley Nicol plays Mrs Patmore].
Which show can’t you miss?
Game of Thrones. I particularly love it because my friend Rose is in it [Rose Leslie played Gwen Dawson in the first series of Downton]. I’m the bane of her life. I text her all the time with questions I know she can’t answer. I talk to her as if the Game of Thrones world is real, even though I know it isn’t. I’m one of those really annoying fans!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m desperately trying not to say Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But I find myself drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I hate myself, but at the same time can’t help myself. You can enjoy it as part of a balanced diet and edify yourself in between with something like The Honourable Woman.
Is there a show you’d like to be on?
Definitely not Keeping Up with the Kardashians! Even though the shoot clashes with Downton, I’d love to have been a “wildling” with Rose on Game of Thrones. I could never be as amazing as Rose. She’s done all this archery training and is like a real warrior woman. But perhaps I could have carried her arrows!
You play eternal jobseeker Bryony in The Job Lot – have you ever signed on yourself?
No. But our location in east London is amazingly realistic. We often get people trying to come in off the street to sign on. We have to put a runner on the door to tell them, “Sorry, this is not a real job centre. We’re making a comedy.”
In Downton, you portray assistant cook Daisy and now you’re a wicked stepsister in Disney’s 2015 Cinderella. Do you ever yearn to play the princess?
No. Holliday Grainger and I play the wicked stepsisters, and it was so much fun lording it over Lily James [who plays Cinderella and is Lady Rose in Downton]. I had 13 outfits designed by the Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell. I was supposed to look garish, but I loved everything she put me in. It was better than playing a princess!
Which TV programme would you resurrect?
I loved Pulling. It was so original and hilarious. I remember being very sad when it finished. I’d love to start a campaign to bring it back but if I did, the actors would probably say, “We’re fine. We’re all really busy, thanks. Please don’t!”
Has anyone left you starstruck?
I was starstruck when I went to the White House with the Downton cast. I said to someone, “This is just like The West Wing,” and they said, “This is the West Wing!” Also, at the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards in LA, we met the casts of Mad Men, Modern Family and Breaking Bad. It was mad even to be in the same room as them. And then we won Best Ensemble. We didn’t think anyone would know who we were! I had to pinch myself.
Downton Abbey is on ITV on Sundays at 9:00pm