Angela Griffin on joining Lewis, Happy Valley – and the end of Waterloo road

"All you need for Lewis is the script"

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Joining an established show like Lewis in its eighth series must have been nerve-racking?
It was, but I never considered not doing it. My mum’s a massive Lewis fan so I watched my first episodes with her and she really thought I fitted in. She doesn’t give compliments easily. There’s lots of things I’ve done where she’s said, “I don’t really like it, but I’ll watch it because you’re in it.”

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When did you know you’d got it?
It was the last day of a five-month run of the stage play One Man, Two Guvnors. I was gutted it was finishing, and unemployed. Then my agent phoned between shows.

Did you have to learn a lot of police procedure jargon?
I thought I’d have to shadow a detective sergeant, but Lewis is about the relationships between the characters and Oxford, so all you need is in the script.

What other TV are you watching?
I’ve finally caught up with Happy Valley. It’s phenomenal. I want to be Sarah Lancashire. She was in Corrie, like me; she’s done both mainstream and gritty stuff and she won a Bafta this year for Last Tango in Halifax.

What’s your dream TV night in?
I love sociological documentaries like The Secret History of Our Streets. I recorded the last series so I could save it for Sunday evenings.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Celebrity Wedding Planner. My husband [Jason Milligan] voices it so I thought I’d better watch it– and you just can’t stop. They give people like Denise Welch £10,000 to plan a stranger’s wedding. It’s as good as Don’t Tell the Bride.

Who controls the remote?
Me. One hundred per cent. My daughters [Tallulah, ten, and Missy, seven] like those shouty things on Nickelodeon where the kids are so vile. I turn them off, but the girls sneak them back on.

What do you watch together?
I love Horrible Histories. My daughters can name every king and queen because of the songs.

And in the morning?
Either BBC Breakfast or, if the kids are there, Good Morning Britain because it’s brightly coloured and a bit softer. It’s the only news I get all day. I don’t read the papers because they’re so depressing. 

You were in Waterloo Road – so how do you feel about it being axed?
I’m really sad about it! All different ages can watch and find something to identify with. But I think Educating Essex and Educating Yorkshire became its competition and it’s tough to compete with real-life stories.  

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Angela Griffin plays DS Lizzie Maddox in Lewis, Fridays 9.00pm ITV