British actress Angela Griffin targets selfie culture in Ordinary Lies
Actress Angela Griffin has strong views about social media and the growing selfie culture.
As canny as they come, Griffin is well aware of the dangers of living your life through social media.
Griffin believes that social media has fuelled an unhealthy desire to appear perfect to others.
"I think it absolutely has," Griffin states. "It's all about 'selfie' or 'no make-up selfie' or 'filter selfie', so I think it definitely has. It's where everyone tries to make it look like they're perfect."
This selfie subject is one of the major themes in the second series of the British drama Ordinary Lies.
Griffin stars alongside Matt Di Angelo (Hustle), Con O'Neill (Happy Valley), Kimberley Nixon (Cranford), Joel Fry (Game Of Thrones) and Griff Rhys Jones (Not The Nine O'Clock News), in the drama's second season.
The first run of Danny Brocklehurst's show was set in a car showroom. This series has an entirely new setting and cast. It is located in the call centre and warehouse of a sports sales company in Wales.
In each episode, the life of one of the main characters threatens to unravel as the secrets and lies they have been hiding are exposed.
Griffin, who has starred in Coronation Street (as hairdresser Fiona Middleton), Holby City, Cutting It, Waterloo Road, Mount Pleasant, Brief Encounters and Lewis, plays the company's disciplinarian and apparently flawless general manager Jenna.
Ferociously organised and always impeccably dressed, Jenna appears to glide effortlessly through life. This inspires great admiration in her PA, Holly (Nixon), who believes that everyone else is leading a far more thrilling life than she is.
But Holly does not realise that troubling secrets are bubbling just below the surface of Jenna's immaculate facade.
Griffin, 41, who has also hosted her own chat show, Angela And Friends on British TV, observes that how she is regarded is vital to Jenna.
"What other people think of her is very important to Jenna," says Griffin. "Our lives feature so much through social media at the moment, with Instagram and Facebook. There doesn't seem to be as much face-to-face conversation...
"Everyone is always at work, checking social media. It's easy to control what other people see. But underneath, it's never what it seems.
"I think that technology and social media play a big part in this series. You see people 'stalking' each other on social media sites and what is put on social media is key to other people's perceptions."
Jenna works hard to project a faultless image on social media.
Griffin muses that, "Jenna is a meticulous, perfect human being – or so she would have the world believe. She comes across as very well educated, well dressed, is a strong woman, has a perfect life, a perfect husband, a perfect car and a perfect apartment.
"She's worked incredibly hard to get to where she is in life, running the company. She enjoys her life – or so the world thinks.
"But underneath, she has a lot of turmoil going on. Her life isn't as perfect as she'd have everyone believe, and that comes out."
Griffin says she is not at all similar to the secretive Jenna.
"She is probably someone who is far away from me in terms of hiding where she's come from. I can shout about where I'm from all day long. I'm really proud of my background.
"If anything, I probably put out the opposite image to Jenna, where my life isn't as perfect as Jenna tries to make hers out to be. I try to play everything down, rather than up."
Having said that, Jenna was a really fun character to portray.
"Oh my goodness, yes," says Griffin. "I loved her wardrobe. I've never had a job with such beautiful clothes, so that was really nice. The makeup was amazing too.
"I'm always playing quite down-to-earth 'mum' characters. So to play someone who takes a lot of time getting ready was a nice change. I really enjoyed that."
The actress also relished lighting the emotional fireworks.
"Episode six, Jenna's episode, is the most challenging role I've ever had in terms of what I had to do. Her life becomes a complete mess...
"So in a strange way, I absolutely loved playing Jenna."
Ordinary Lies, TVNZ 1, starts Friday August 4.
- TV Guide