Meeting prostitute helped Friel relate to Street role

Anna Friel has told how she met up with a prostitute while researching her new role for drama The Street and said that as a mother she can empathise with the desperate measures her character takes.

The actress, 32, who has a three-year-old daughter named Gracie, said the show demonstrated "what a woman will do to protect her children".



The stellar cast for the third BBC1 series also includes Bob Hoskins, Gavin and Stacey's Ruth Jones and Timothy Spall.



The award-winning show is the work of writer Jimmy McGovern, whose credits also include Brookside, The Lakes and Cracker.



It focuses on the lives of different residents who live in the same street in the north west of England.



Former Brookside actress turned Hollywood star Friel plays Dee, a mother-of-two who tries to scrape some cash together by working in a sauna in Bolton.



One of her children is being badly bullied and she wants him to change schools, but moving house hikes up her mortgage and she is forced to subsidise her earnings from her day job in a DIY store.



Friel, whose partner David Thewlis has also appeared in the show, said she absolutely identifies with Dee's drastic actions.



"I prize our own daughter... above everything else in the world," she said.



"Having a child completely changes your perspective on everything.



"The drama demonstrates what a woman will do to protect her children, and I quite understand that feeling."



In researching the role, Friel met a real-life prostitute.



She said: "She taught me that when she's at work she puts her mind into a different place.



"She absents herself. I didn't have a sex scene as Dee - you didn't need to see that.



"But I got the sense from the woman I met of the prostitute's disregard for men.



"In a sense, the woman has power over the man, she manipulates the situation and is in charge of how it goes."



She added: "It makes you realise just how lucky you are...



"The piece is saying that, while prostitution is never the answer, people should not get too judgmental about women who have to go down that path...



"I hope this drama will make people empathetic of those in Dee's situation.



"It's all about the forces that drive you when you're a mother - and that's something many of us can relate to."



The Street picked up both the 2007 and 2008 Bafta and Royal Television Society Awards for best drama series, as well as winning international Emmy awards.



The Rochdale-born actress, who first broke through as Beth Jordache in Brookside, added: "Jimmy and I never worked on Brookside at the same time, but I've loved all his work. I adored Cracker and The Lakes...



"It was lovely to go back to where I started... this is one of the best scripts I've ever been involved with."



Hoskins plays Paddy, a principled publican who takes a brave stand against the local gang boss, Miller (Liam Cunningham).



When Miller tries to intimidate Paddy and his wife Lizzie (Frances Barber) into rescinding the ban on his son Calum for smoking in his pub, the landlord refuses to back down and a bloody confrontation looms.



Hoskins said: "The whole concept behind this episode is fantastic. It's Jimmy's version of High Noon!



"I very rarely watch telly - it's like having a plumber round and showing him your pipes."



Jones plays a lonely young woman called Sandra who lures her married workmate Eddie (Spall) back to her flat one evening and makes a move on him.



Jones said: "It doesn't end joyfully for either of them."



McGovern said of the show: "All the stories are about heart and humanity.



"Viewers can relate to these characters - we can all put ourselves in their shoes and think, 'there but for the grace of God, go I'."



He added: "People come up to me all the time in pubs offering scripts.



"I get offered about 250 per series. But we only accept very few of them."



The show will go out in a peak time slot from July.

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Australia's Eurovision contestant and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable