BEHIND THE SCENES WITH best
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