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I TALK TO Rebecca Callard

Yesterday, I caught up with Rebecca Callard who plays Grace in Ordinary Lies alongside Jason Manford.

BBC One's latest drama Ordinary Lies is set in a car showroom and is about how a simple lie can spiral out of control.

The series boasts a great cast, including Jason Manford, Max Beesley (Mad Dogs), Sally Lindsay (Mount Pleasant), Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street), Jo Joyner (EastEnders), Mackenzie Crook (The Office) and newcomer Fisayo Akinade (Cucumber, Banana).

First of all tell me a bit about Ordinary Lies...

Well, I guess it's about a bunch of people that you might not notice in everyday life. I think it's really accessible, because it's about you might know... we all might now a Marty, or a Rick, or a Grace, or a Tracy, or a Beth, and you think you know someone, but actually when you look closer and deeper, you see what's really there.

That's what I think is really interesting about Ordinary Lies, obviously these people work together day in day out but they don't really know each other, and we get to see what they're really like... not necessarily what people think of them.

What about Grace then? What can you tell us about her?

Grace is a bit of a misfit. I guess she's a bit of a geek, an outsider, she's not cool and I think she would desperately like to be in the 'in crowd', but she's not, and she's never going to be.

What really attracted me to the part actually, was that she was sort of dorky and sweet and it said in the script that she was "always the bridesmaid never the bride" - and a bit quirky, and I guess I define with the geekiness of Grace.

I'm definitely a bit of a geek, and I guess my dress sense is similar to her. Someone described her the other day as wearing grandma dresses and tatty boots, and Grace is really pristine and meticulous in the way that she looks. It's sort of her version of vintage, obviously she's not got masses of money, but her hair has got that sort of fifties flick, and I love that about her!

Usually the characters that I play don't have any make-up, and lots of tears! This is what I mean about the show, I think the other characters would think that she's dull and maybe a bit boring, but there's definitely something curious about her. And when we focus in on her we get to see something that no one would ever see of her.

The first episode is all about Grace's relationship with Marty, and the circumstances that happen. Do you think she means for what happens between them to happen?

I think she's really lonely. I definitely think there's more to her... but that's just me. I think there's flashes with Grace, that you see occasionally that suggest there's more to her. For example, she's got a tattoo on her arm, a little love heart, and at one point in episode two she's defending someone quite vociferously and she sort of raises her voice... so there's definitely something curious about her.

That's what I mean about the show. With all of them there's more than meets the eye. With episode one I think she wants to be in love, and be loved, so much! It's all art of that wanting to be a part of the main gang. I think she really wants to be like Tracy.

I think she knows she isn't, and sort of accepts that, but I think she really wants to be in there. She gets really lost in what happens in episode one and she just really worried about being a spinster.

Do we see more of Grace as the series goes on, or is the first episode really where we see most of her?

Well the genius of the show I guess, is that as we leave Grace and Marty's story, we then focus in on other characters. I'm in the background and I'm there in my nice outfits giggling and stuff, but you don't really see much more of her. There are some hints, and there is some lovely stuff in episode six, there's stuff about her there bubbling away.

But I love that. I love that we go and focus on the other characters. Each episode is like a different chapter, it's almost like a different show.

The tone of each episode is quite different as well so one is lighter, one is darker... there are real moments of comedy and tragedy in it and I think that's why Danny (Brocklehurst) is just so brilliant at what he does. He reels you in, and you think you're going one way and then the next minute you're slapped in the face with something different.

What's it been like working with Jason Manford?

It's been amazing. He's become my new best friend. He was just so amazing to have on set, the crew loved him and I think he's a really really good actor and I hope that people can really take note.

I saw him yesterday in The Producers, and he's so completely different in that. I think he's brilliant in this and he made me laugh so much... just constant flicked back head on set because that's all I was doing, constantly laughing! Really unattractive actually (laughs).

He's a really good actor and he's got this amazing way, which I'm cross with him for actually, of being able to just snap into it and snap out of it. He can be really really laughing telling some amazing anecdote and then slip straight into the drama, he;s really good at that.

I was always saying to him - "I'm just going to need to take a moment here" and he's like "Really?" - he's a ubiquitous man for sure. He's definitely become a really good friend. Also while we were filming I went to see his stand up.

What about the rest of the cast? It's a pretty good line-up...

The great thing about the show is that when they were focussing on different storylines, on other characters, we would always be there in the background, doing our work or whatever, because it's all set mainly in the showroom, so we would just hang out all day!

We would just spend hours together... I think I spent four or five days in a row not saying any dialogue, but being in the background with Michelle (Keegan), or Mackenzie (Crook), or Shazad (Latif) just having fun really.

I think I've come away from this job with more friends than I've ever come away from a job before. I've become really good friends with Fisayo (Akinade) - he stayed at mine on Monday night, my kids absolutely adore him! He's taken my kids bowling... Manjinder (Virk) lives around the corner from me. Shazad has become a really good friend, Jo (Joyner), Michelle (Keegan) I got on really well with.

A lot of us, who weren't living up north stayed in a hotel there so we were out in the evenings and stuff and it was just such a great job for that reason.

Your mum's Beverley Callard who plays Liz McDonald in Coronation Street, and in 2011 you were in Corrie yourself. Would you ever consider a return to soap?

I don't think they'd bring that character back. I think she's festering away in jail somewhere. I mean I would never say never to anything, and I've been lucky enough since I came out of that to be doing different things. Obviously I've got Ordinary Lies coming out, I've got my first major role in a feature film coming out this year, called Orthodox and that's with Stephen Graham and Michael Smiley.

I mean I love soaps, I think the actors in them are brilliant. I don't know how they cope with such high drama and such large volume of lines. I think you really earn your stripes as an actor in those shows. I've got quite a lot of friends in soaps... obviously my mum as well, my friend Kellie (Bright) is in EastEnders.

There's a lot less rehearsal for soaps than there is for a feature or Ordinary Lies and I really take my hat off to them really. I think they're phenomenal actors.

Ordinary Lies starts Tuesday 17 March at 9pm on BBC One


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