Hol­l­i­day time: meet the Brit actress about to make it big

You might recog­nise her face from any num­ber of pe­riod dra­mas. But as JK Rowl­ing’s lat­est lead­ing lady, there’ll be no for­get­ting Hol­l­i­day Grainger’s name. Eleanor Steafel meets a Brit star on the rise

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - NEWS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: lara jade

HOL­L­I­DAY GRAINGER IS show­ing of her high-heeled boots – ev­i­dence, she says, that she has made an efort for our in­ter­view. ‘I’ve been liv­ing out of the same back­pack for weeks, since Glas­ton­bury, be­cause I’ve been go­ing up and down the coun­try see­ing peo­ple. To­day, I thought, “Ooh, I’ve got Lon­don meet­ings, I might ac­tu­ally put heels on!” I was leav­ing the house and my mum looked at me and went, “Oh, my God!” And I said, “Yeah I know! Get me! I didn’t just roll into the dirty clothes I wore yes­ter­day.” I’ve de­cided that this is go­ing to be me in my 30s. It’s go­ing to be my chic decade. Get ready world: Hol­l­i­day Grainger gets chic.’

Dressed in a navy shirt dress, Hol­l­i­day, 29, does in­deed look the def­i­ni­tion of sum­mer ele­gance. Her face is fresh, freck­led and make-up free, save for a touch of tinted lip balm. She laughs of­ten – at her­self, at me, at every­thing frankly – a bub­bling, in­fec­tious laugh that makes you feel as if you’ve known her for years.

And in many ways we have. Hol­l­i­day’s first pro­fes­sional role was when she was six, in the BBC com­edy All Quiet on the Pre­ston Front. She has made her name pre­dom­i­nantly in pe­riod drama, one of the cur­rent set of beau­ti­ful young ac­tors who seem to pop­u­late qual­ity cos­tume dra­mas on a ro­ta­tion (she counts The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby and Down­ton Abbey’s Jes­sica Brown Find­lay and Lily James among her friends). Hol­l­i­day is best known for play­ing Lu­crezia Bor­gia in the 15th-cen­tury crime saga

The Bor­gias, Lady Con­stance in the BBC adap­ta­tion of Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover and Estella in Great Ex­pec­ta­tions, along­side He­lena Bon­ham Carter and Ralph Fi­ennes.

We are sit­ting in the sun­shine out­side one of her favourite pubs, The Wells in Hamp­stead, north Lon­don, dis­cussing her new role in the hugely an­tic­i­pated BBC adap­ta­tion of the Cor­moran Strike se­ries of de­tec­tive nov­els, writ­ten by JK Rowl­ing un­der the nom de plume she adopted af­ter Harry Pot­ter, Robert Gal­braith. Hol­l­i­day plays Robin El­la­cott, the sec­re­tary to pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Strike (a di­shev­elled, less manic Sher­lock Holmes), who has a flair for solv­ing crimes her­self.

Work­ing on a project in­volv­ing JK Rowl­ing was thrilling for Hol­l­i­day. She is of the gen­er­a­tion who grew up with their noses deep in a Harry Pot­ter book. ‘ You know how peo­ple talk about where they were when JFK was shot? Or when they heard Princess Diana had died? I can

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