She may be best known for playing head housemaid Anna Bates in every episode of Downton Abbey, but 39-year-old Joanne Froggatt first found fame in Coronation Street in 1997 as teen mum Zoe Tattersall.
Now she’s back on our screens, reprising her role as teacher Laura Nielson in ITV’s psychological thriller Liar, following the success of the first series back in 2017.
But Joanne has revealed filming the new series of Liar was lacking the glamour you may expect from a prime-time ITV drama, mainly down to unpredictable British weather!
Recalling one scene, in which she and co-star Ioan Gruffudd were filming in a restaurant at the end of Deal Pier in Kent, Joanne explains, ‘There was a big, big thunderstorm and the lights went out.
‘It was quite epic, actually, because as soon as Ioan would start talking, there’d be a big clap of thunder and lightning. I was like, “Wow, you’re really on fire tonight, Ioan! You’re electric!”
‘But then the storm was just closing in all the time. At midnight, after we’d finished filming, we started walking down the pier to the shore. A bolt of lightning cracked and everyone’s hair stood on end,’ she says.
‘So I decided, “I’m getting inside, I’m leaving now, that’s it!” It certainly added to the drama.’ But that wasn’t the only time Joanne had to deal with the elements.
‘There was a scene outside a pub that was probably one of the coldest ever,’ she adds. ‘It was just the iciest wind, and Katherine Kelly and I had our final scene together. We were blue, our teeth were chattering and we had to brace ourselves to be filmed. We would inhale sharply so we could stop shaking while the cameras tried to get a take.’
We ask Joanne – what would she tell her younger self now?
Despite her stellar career, Joanne does have regrets and would love to tell her younger self to be more questioning.
‘I’d change my mindset and not be so hard on myself, and impart the knowledge that other people’s intentions aren’t always as well-meaning as my own.’
And, even now, Joanne says that her worst trait is ‘caring too much about what other people think’.
Originally from North Yorkshire, these days Joanne lives in Buckinghamshire where, until recently, she lived with husband, James Cannon. Discussing their amicable split after eight years of marriage, Joanne has said, ‘We’ve actually been separated for a little while. I’m looking to the future.’
But, as for many of us, work is undoubtedly a distraction for Joanne, and life as an actress means you never know what you’ll end up doing on set. Her character in Liar is a keen kayaker – a skill she had to learn quickly during shooting for the first series.
She tells us, ‘I’ve spent quite a lot of time on those marshes. It is a beautiful location and it’s quite invigorating.
‘But I can kayak now. I did have a body double, who did the wide shots, who made my technique look better!’
So will she be bringing these kayaking skills to a third series?
Joanne coyly finishes, ‘It’s not my place to say, but who knows? The writers, Jack and Harry Williams, come up with all sorts of things I would never have thought of, so I don’t know, we’ll see…’