Best - - BEST GIRLS’ NIGHT IN... - I keep com­ing back to Manch­ester!

Manch­ester-born Anna Friel, 42, shot to fame in Brook­side when she was just a teenager. The sin­gle ac­tress is a proud mum to 13-year-old Gra­cie.

How did you be­come in­volved in the TV show But­ter­fly?

I read the script and thought, ‘This story is go­ing to teach me some­thing.’ If this was my daugh­ter, Gra­cie, I don’t know how I’d deal with it. I don’t know what my views are, be­cause I’m so ill-in­formed. So, I thought it was the per­fect rea­son to [be apart of this cre­ative pro­ject].

What story is it try­ing to tell?

It’s es­sen­tially about a fam­ily that has been bro­ken up, be­cause they can’t agree about Max tran­si­tion­ing into a fe­male. They are to­tally torn and don’t know what to do. In­stead of find­ing an­swers to­gether, they break up and go off on their own jour­neys.

Tell us about your char­ac­ter in the show, Vicky…

Vicky still loves Stephen [played by Em­mett J Scan­lan], but he just can’t bear the sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves in. Vicky is hav­ing a silent bat­tle with her­self while she faces up to what is go­ing on with Max. Es­sen­tially, she’s hav­ing to say good­bye to her son as he be­comes Max­ine. That’s some­thing I had never thought about.

What’s it like work­ing with Ali­son Stead­man, who plays your mum?

Can you imag­ine? Since Abi­gail’s

Party and Shirley Valen­tine, I’ve al­ways loved her. I said, ‘Re­ally?! Can we get Ali­son Stead­man?’ I know I want to work with her again. She just draws you in! I mean, she’s Ali­son Stead­man. And I don’t say that about lots of peo­ple! Was it good to be work­ing back home in Manch­ester?

I’m al­ways wel­comed home. It’s good to set an ex­am­ple – you haven’t got to come from a wealthy fam­ily, have a sil­ver spoon, or to speak with a posh ac­cent [to make it into TV]. If you’ve got de­ter­mi­na­tion and self-be­lief, you can do any­thing. It’s nice to be able to fly that flag!

Why should peo­ple watch tune in to But­ter­fly?

Be­cause it’s not just about trans­gen­der. Ev­ery­one is ques­tion­ing them­selves. It’s look­ing at those de­ci­sions and think­ing, if that hap­pened to you, how would it af­fect you? But­ter­fly is on Sun­day 14 Oc­to­ber at 9pm on ITV

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