‘I Love Play­ing Strong Women’ With a new ITV drama un­der her belt, MK re­veals all about bal­anc­ing ca­reer goals, love and life in the public eye…

Look (UK) - - MICHELLE KEEGAN INTERVIEW - WORDS: giselle Wain­wright

his is set to be Michelle Kee­gan’s year. With a ca­reer on the verge of go­ing strato­spheric, we have an inkling that MK’S about to own it – big time.

Michelle is cur­rently work­ing her magic on the small screen, with ITV’S new three-part drama se­ries Tina And Bobby (Fri­day, 9pm). Joined by Lorne Mac­fadyen (The Level, Grantch­ester) the duo play the orig­i­nal ‘golden cou­ple’.

When Eng­land won the World Cup in July 1966, Bobby Moore be­came a na­tional hero. Swept up by the me­dia frenzy and the coun­try’s ado­ra­tion, he and wife Tina be­came celebrity roy­alty and ITV’S bound-to-be-a-hit show charts the cou­ple’s rise from hum­ble child­hood sweet­hearts to the dizzy heights of su­per­star­dom. There’s cer­tainly a sim­i­lar­ity to Mich’s own very public re­la­tion­ship with hus­band of two years Mark Wright.

Ex­cite­ment for the show has been at fever pitch – no pun in­tended – ever since Michelle was spot­ted film­ing, com­plete with blonde hair, last year. So is the 29-year-old feel­ing the pres­sure now the show’s on air?

How much did you know about Tina and Bobby Moore be­fore you took on the role? Mark’s a West Ham sup­porter and knew a lot about both of them! He gave me the low­down. Be­ing from Es­sex, Mark told me what Bobby meant to peo­ple there – how he was re­garded as one of the great­est de­fend­ers and what he meant to foot­ball. To hear it first-hand was un­be­liev­able. But I’ll be hon­est, I didn’t know a lot about Tina out­side of Bobby. The first time I heard their story was when I watched the doc­u­men­tary Bobby. A few weeks later I re­ceived the scripts, so it felt like fate. Tina Moore at­tended the read-through. Was it awk­ward por­tray­ing her while she was in the room? It was re­ally daunt­ing. I’d for­got­ten Tina was go­ing to be there un­til I walked into the room. By then I’d seen pic­tures of her and had done some re­search. As soon as I saw her, I thought: ‘Oh my God, it’s Tina Moore – she’s here at the readthrough!’ I pan­icked. It’s a re­ally daunt­ing thing to do – I’m por­tray­ing Tina and I want to tell her story to the best of my abil­ity. Tina shared a lot of sto­ries and mem­o­ries about their life to­gether. It’s a real co­in­ci­dence as I now live in Es­sex, close to Moor­lands [the name of Bobby’s for­mer home], so we had lots to talk about. You had to go blonde to play Tina. Were you scared? I went through a mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion. The colourist, Ver­non Dey­sel at the Paul Ed­monds salon, did a great job with chang­ing the colour of my hair, though. I was ap­pre­hen­sive at first but I wanted to em­brace the char­ac­ter fully. A lot of ac­tors make dra­matic changes to their ap­pear­ance for the char­ac­ters they’re play­ing. I thought this was a great role and I wanted to give ev­ery­thing to it. It was so dif­fer­ent to Ge­orgie in Our Girl who I’d just played for five months. You’d worked with the cos­tume de­signer be­fore, right? Yes, Andrew Cox worked on Our Girl too. We have a great re­la­tion­ship and he in­stantly knows my style and what I like. A lot of the crew from Our Girl worked on Tina And Bobby, so it was nice to be start­ing a new project and work­ing with friendly faces. I worked with di­rec­tor John Mckay on the BBC’S Or­di­nary Lies too. How would you de­scribe Tina? She’s a very con­fi­dent and strong wo­man. She’s very in­de­pen­dent too. A lot of the time Tina was the back­bone of their mar­riage and Bobby al­ways went to her for ad­vice. Although she was in the back­ground when it came to his ca­reer, in their mar­riage she was al­ways at the fore­front of their re­la­tion­ship. Was Tina’s strength part of the ap­peal? I love play­ing strong women, but I also loved the script. Tina’s story en­gaged me men­tally and emo­tion­ally. She’s a re­ally car­ing per­son. She’s a great mum and a bril­liant wife. Her life was Bobby and you can tell that from the out­set. Tina’s life was her fam­ily and she did ev­ery­thing she could for them. Could you re­late to Tina? A lit­tle bit, yes. I think hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship that’s in the public eye cer­tainly re­lated to me.

I pan­icked when I saw Tina at the readthrough

Michelle gets some prac­tice in for the fu­ture on the show

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