Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Article: "Latest Locks of Long Blonde"

From The Manchester Evening News, 20 August 2008.

KEELEY Hawes has an almost Madonna-like way of reinventing herself. From mousey-bobbed MI5 agent in Spooks to time-travelling cop with an '80s perm in Ashes To Ashes, she manages to pull off any guise with style.

So I'm not surprised, when we meet on the set of her latest show Mutual Friends (BBC1, tonight) to see her sporting long blonde locks.

"The Ashes hair was huge, but this still takes an hour and a half!" she fumes, flipping it up to show it isn't all hers.

In her latest incarnation Keeley plays Jen, the unfaithful wife of Hustle star Marc Warren's Martin.

There's not a police badge in sight in this comedy-drama, which follows the trials and tribulations of the 40-something couple as they recover from the suicide of Martin's best friend Carl - Jen's former lover - and try for a baby.

"We meet them at a time when they're not particularly happy. They've got this son Dan, but Jen would like another baby," Keeley explains.

"They do love each other and they could be very happy, but they just get on each others' nerves. And she's been having an affair with his best friend, which is never going to go down that well. So they've got a long way to go to repair their relationship and recover from that.

"The crux of their problems is that she thinks the grass is greener and it's not really. Carl tops himself, so it couldn't have been that great could it?" Keeley adds with a laugh.

"But she doesn't really feel guilty, none of them feel guilt. I think they're all too selfish really."

Mother-of-three Keeley turned 32 this year and admits it was 'slightly odd' playing an older woman who's struggling with her biological clock.

"In the script, I keep saying things like 'I think I might have left it too late', and Marc says things like, `You know Jen, we're in our 40s'. I have taken it up with the writers ...but I do have to use anti-ageing cream, I'm there!"

Besides suicide and infidelity, the six-parter tackles the subject of fertility problems.

"Jen and Martin opt for IVF treatment because he's got weak sperm and she also doesn't really want to have sex with him, so she thinks it would be easier that way," Keeley says.

"I do have friends who do IVF and they're all late 30s and 40s, so I feel I can play that.

"And it's quite good to cover it in a humorous way. We're not laughing at it, but there's a lot of comedy to be had."

The show started life as a one-off pilot filmed before Keeley joined Ashes To Ashes. Unusually for a brand new drama, the BBC liked it so much that it was immediately commissioned for a full series and the 60-minute episode never even aired.

Keeley will be back in her 1980s perm in September when she starts filming the second series of Ashes To Ashes.

There's no chance of a sneak preview of what to expect however - she insists the plot is still a closely-guarded secret.

The follow-up to the award-winning 1970s-set cop drama Life On Mars sees chauvinistic DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) come to terms with a new sidekick in feisty Alex Drake, who wakes up in 1981 after being shot in 2008.

There is also an undeniable sexual chemistry between the pair. "We're always the last to know the plot," Keeley moans.

"I'd like to see Gene and Alex get together just so people stop asking me about it!"


The Independent also has a detailed article about Mutual Friends that includes a long quote from Keeley.

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