Who better to play “home-wrecking netball teacher” Claire Butterworth in Ackley Bridge than Bradford’s very own Kimberley Walsh?
The Girls Aloud star plays a key role in the Channel 4 drama, which is set and filmed in Yorkshire.
“It’s filmed up north very close to where I’m from, where I grew up, so it’s very close to home in that respect. It’s actually really nice to be a part of such a brilliant northern drama,” the singer and actress tells RadioTimes.com.
“It was nice to hear the northern accent everywhere you turn. A lot of the kids were really excited that I was there because I was from Bradford. It’s a very small town and a lot of the kids came from there that were in the show.”
She adds: “I actually think it’s a very important show to have on TV. I love hearing the different voices. I think they are tackling storylines that are difficult, that are happening every day and I think they do it in a very sensitive way and the actors they have got are so, so good. It’s definitely filling the place on TV that we needed.”
Walsh’s character was mentioned in series one, but it’s only in series two that we’ve finally had the chance to meet her in person. And she doesn’t disappoint.
“Feisty” Claire shares a young son, Zak, with Steve (Paul Nicholls) – Ackley Bridge College’s PE teacher, who happens to be married to Headmistress Mandy (Jo Joyner).
Jo Joyner plays headmistress Mandy Carter in Ackley Bridge (Channel 4)
But while Steve and Mandy try to mend their relationship after both their affairs, Claire is still dreaming of a proper relationship with her son’s father.
“I think she’s still genuinely got feelings for him,” Walsh says. “I think although it was probably not a big deal to him, obviously she’s had a child with him and I think it’s quite clear she’d love to be playing happy families with him, even if that’s not where his head’s at.”
Still – Claire is doing her best to get in Mandy’s way. And that has led to some explosive scenes.
“It was fun playing the bowling alley scene and seeing Jo lose it a little bit because like I say, she doesn’t get the chance because she’s supposed to be sort of a calm and considered Headmistress,” Walsh tells us. “She could finally unleash, and I just enjoyed winding her up I think.”
Ackley Bridge continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4