The daily grind

The Mill, Chan­nel 4, Sun­day, 8pm

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Television -

are a lot of sur­prise al­liances in it. I saw the first episode the other day and I was quite shocked by it.”

Hayes’ pre­vi­ous cred­its in­clude TV dra­mas Lilies and Good Cop, and the films Nowhere Boy and Brighton Rock, but it’s The Mill that’s set to make her a house­hold name. She plays Es­ther Price, a young Liver­pudlian who de­cides to take a stand against the ap­palling con­di­tions she and her co-work­ers – many of them chil­dren forced to en­dure gru­elling 12hour shifts for only board and lodg­ing – are forced to live with.

Es­ther re­ally did ex­ist, and the ac­tress ad­mits that as a re­sult she felt an ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity when play­ing her.

“I do feel as if it was my duty to not make a mock­ery out of her and jus­tify ev­ery­thing that she does. Her life was prob­a­bly a lot worse than we por­tray on cam­era, be­cause we only have so much in­for­ma­tion to go on. It was im­por­tant for me not make a par­ody of it and be true to the per­son.”

What helped bring the char­ac­ters to life – not just Es­ther – was the fact that the drama’s shot at Cheshire’s Quarry Bank Mill, where the events de­picted re­ally took place.

“On the first day I did a scene up in an at­tic room, and then I was told that was where the event ac­tu­ally hap­pened, we were kind of recre­at­ing it,” re­calls Hayes. “So that was weird, and also a bit scary!”

Also ap­pear­ing in the drama are es­tab­lished TV tal­ents in­clud­ing Kevin McNally, Don­ald Sumpter, Jamie Draven and Claire Rush­brook. Did Hayes feel starstruck?

“Yeah,” she ad­mits, grin­ning. “Ac­tu­ally, it’s more like a pres­sure. When I came to do a scene with Don­ald, for in­stance, I was su­per, su­per ner­vous be­cause I knew that I was work­ing with some­one who’s been do­ing this for a lot longer than I’ve been alive. There’s also a pres­sure to keep up with them be­cause they’re so quick and I’m still learn­ing.”

Hayes is am­bi­tious, but she has no plans to move to Hol­ly­wood any time soon.

“I’m very ex­cited that I get to work in good dra­mas in Eng­land, and keep up a cer­tain kind of qual­ity, which is kind of what my as­pi­ra­tions are, to just be in­volved in good qual­ity work, be it here or abroad,” she says.

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