Our Girl Lacey Turner is the Army's new recruit
Best known for her long-running stint as Stacey Slater on EastEnders, Lacey Turner has traded illicit kisses for khaki in her new army-based drama Our Girl. She talks to James Croot about why she enlisted for the show.
What was it about Our Girl and the role of Molly Dawes that attracted you to the project?
She is such a great character who grows so much throughout the series – from being a narrow-minded, young girl to an excellent soldier! It was really important that we put across what the real soldiers and army do for our country.
What did you know about the armed forces before you signed up for this and how did you prepare?
I didn't know a lot, to be honest, although my grandfather was in the Royal Air Force (RAF)! I did lots of training and fitness to get me ready and we had a boot camp in South Africa to acclimatise. This was probably the hardest part for me, as wearing all those clothes in that heat was so different to working in England. It reached 42 degrees (centigrade) at one point.
What was the toughest challenge of the role?
The toughest part was learning all the army side of it. Things like matching and how to hold a weapon and fire. Then there's the discipline that the soldiers have. It's amazing.
What was it like filming the series in South Africa?
It was great. It's such a beautiful place, but very hot.
You grew up near Elstree and had EastEnders' Albert Square almost literally outside your window, but what was it about acting that made you want to pursue it from an early age?
I fell into it accidentally. It was more of a hobby that turned into a job. I used to go to a little drama class in Wembley once a week and casting directors sometimes came to sit in on classes.
Was it tough playing Stacey on EastEnders for so long and did viewers have trouble distinguishing you from the character? What persuaded you to go back on the show last year after a four-year break?
EastEnders is a massive part of my life I grew up watching it and then spent my teens and early 20s playing Stacey. She is very close to my heart, so it's great to go back and play her again.
What do you think it is about the character of Molly that seems to have struck a chord with viewers?
I think she's funny and brave and so unpredictable and I think that's what people love about her.
I hear you're very good at DIY – why do you think that is?
I don't know probably because I'm very impatient!
Molly is something of a West Ham fan on the show, but what's your footballing allegiance, if any, to?
I'm not great with football, but I grew up being a Tottenham fan.
Finally, what's up next for you? Would you like to return to the character of Molly? Do you have any ideas of what you'd like her to do next?
I never like to make plans, I like to see how things go! At the moment I'm very happy at EastEnders and I'm excited to see what Stacey's journey is next.
Our Girl 9.30pm, Sunday, TV One.