Maura Tierney stars in The Affair – but she wants less nudity and more talking on TV

The American actress gives us her TV dos and don'ts

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Childhood favourites?
Mary Tyler Moore. In the 1970s, I was a young woman seeing this character who was a single, independent, professional woman. She and Carol Burnett were very funny. It was exciting to watch.

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First childhood crush?
Starsky from Starsky and Hutch – in that cardigan, give me a break! He was so hot.

Who do you wake up to?
Howard Stern on the radio. I’ve loved him for years and years.

Any TV guilty pleasure?
I sort of hate that phrase. What’s that gear show? Yes, Top Gear. I used to watch it with my ex-boyfriend. Those guys are great, but I don’t know if that counts as a guilty pleasure.

What show can you watch again and again?
I’ll watch Friends over and over. If it’s on TV, I’ll watch an episode I’ve seen before.

What’s the last thing that made you cry?
Olivia Colman in Broadchurch – she’s a wonderful actress.

And the last thing you watched that made you blush?
I don’t know if I blushed, but Game of Thrones. It’s a very fun show to lose yourself in, but sometimes I’m like, “Can you please stop having sex for one minute and talk? Wow, everyone is just so naked right now!”

Does anything on TV make you mad?
Sometimes reality TV makes me mad. I know there’s great cooking stuff, but I don’t enjoy this obsession with celebrities in reality shows, and Real Housewives or the Kardashians. Also high-definition. It’s so uncomplimentary to how everyone looks, especially women over a certain age.

What makes you switch channels?
I hate it when the commercials are too loud – it’s such an assault!

Do you google yourself?
I have googled myself, but it’s bad. I try not to do it. People can say very mean things so I don’t go on forums… And then there’s the opposite end where people make fan sites which can be a little overwhelming to look at. It’s like, “Oh wow, that’s freaking me out a little bit, even though it’s nice.”

You’re playing one of the best roles of your career – jilted wife Helen Solloway in The Affair.
Yes, it’s amazing to keep working, and to be able to play a character at my age, 50, who is a mum – because mostly mum parts come my way – who’s such a full human. Helen’s a sexually relevant person trying to be a good mother and daughter, but she’s not a wife any more.

Tell us about Dominic West, who plays your ex-husband.
Dom is so funny, and there’s a real lack of vanity to him – even though he’s quite handsome and sexy. I think that’s very compelling and contributes to the real man-ishness of him. Dom walked to the South Pole. He’s a real dude!

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The Affair continues on Sky Atlantic tonight (Wednesday 16th December) at 9:00pm