Goosebumps and the feeling of your heart jumping: Angela Griffin was genuinely scared while filming a scene in Crime.
The Leeds native – whose big break came aged 16 when she joined Coronation Street – was acting alongside Scotsman Dougray Scott in the new BritBox drama, based on Irvine Welsh’s book of the same name.
She was so impressed with her co-star, and what he can tap into “in a millisecond”, that she had to tell him once they’d wrapped.
“Afterwards I said, ‘That was just absolutely incredible. I’ve never had that kind of physical feeling within a scene before’.”
The six-part series, set in Edinburgh, is as thrilling to watch as it sounds like it was to make.
Scott plays Ray Lennox, a troubled detective inspector battling his own personal demons and struggles with addiction.
Griffin, 45, takes on the role of Trudi, who has only recently become Lennox’s girlfriend, and has no idea of his tortured past.
Welsh – famous for his novel Trainspotting, which became the award-winning film starring Ewan McGregor – writes “really complex, dark characters that really should be quite unlikeable, but you ultimately invest in them”, Griffin notes.
Of Crime, which Welsh has adapted for the screen alongside long-standing screenwriting partner Dean Cavanagh, the mum-of-two elaborates: “It’s not going to give you nightmares, but it’s not glossy, it’s not warm.
“It’s not Sunday night, ITV, eight o’clock. It’s absolutely BritBox, ‘come grip on to your sofa, and be taken to a different place’, which is what I like in a drama, personally.
“It is raw, and it is quite explicit and much darker than the kind of things that you would find on terrestrial TV – hence why I think you do need these platforms nowadays, because people are looking,” she continues.
“We want more.
“There’s so much choice, you have got to elevate, you have got to give an audience something new.
“I think that that’s achieved in this.”
Discussing her character further, Griffin – who has starred in
numerous successful British dramas, including Waterloo Road, Cutting It and Lewis – says Trudi works for the local energy company, Dunedin
“She loves that she’s corporate. She’s in this world of rules and regulations and normality, and she likes that.”
But having climbed her way up the ladder from office junior, she is facing a situation with her workplace that is “breaking her heart”.
“What Trudi finds is that the people who she trusts, the people who she’s admired, the people who she’s looked up to, the world that she wanted to be involved in, isn’t what she thought it was.
“Trudi is literally a fighter, and she will not allow justice not to be done and she will not allow people to get away with things, and she stands up and she raises her head above the parapet.”
In her personal life, as Lennox becomes consumed by the case of a missing girl, Trudi will see her partner as a different man from the one she first knew – threatening their happily-ever-after.
What was it that drew Trudi to Lennox initially, at the start of their relationship?
“I think what she sees in him is he’s quite attractive – that might be the initial pull,” quips Griffin, chuckling.
“You don’t always see the darkness on the surface, but I think, as a woman, you can be drawn to danger, and he has got that. She obviously doesn’t know what that is to start off with.
“But also, he’s been going through his career, there are various things that have happened to him in his youth, and he thinks he’s over
those and he’s ready for a
“There’s a really lovely spark between them, which I think that me and Dougray have managed to get.”
Trudi wants to believe she can fix Lennox, explains Griffin, who has been married to actor Jason Milligan since 2006.
“Their relationship begins in quite a lovely, warm, supportive place and he wants to open his life and his family up to her, and she absolutely wants to go in there.
“She’s at the age where she’s getting to the last chance to have kids; this is a committed relationship and they’re taking it very, very seriously. And the relationship gets tested beyond all imaginings, really.
“It awakens, in him, a darkness that she doesn’t quite know how to deal with.”
Crime – directed by James Strong and David Blair – has been many years in the making.
The novel, released in 2008, is a sequel to Filth. That story – which has Lennox as a supporting character – was made into a film, starring James McAvoy as protagonist DS Bruce Robertson, in 2013.
It’s common for talent to have their own passion projects they are trying to steer to the screen, and Griffin reveals there is a book she’s been wanting to adapt “forever”
“I keep getting nearly close to it, and then the author just decides that she doesn’t want to make any of her books into TV shows any more,” confides the star.
“Each year I check in on her and just say, ‘Is this the year that maybe you’d like to do it?’
“Covid has meant that myself and my friends have been developing things in our living rooms and writing treatments and putting and handing them in.
“So, there’s definitely projects that I would like to get off the ground – but you’ve got to convince those authors that you’re going to look after them and look after their books.”
She became passionate about acting aged five when a family friend took her to a drama workshop.
Performing twice a year with her children’s theatre group she got the bug and took on an agent aged 11, children’s television beckoned when she was 13 and the rest is
She first appeared in Emmerdale, before playing Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street from 1993 to 1998. She joined Holby City as Staff Nurse Jasmine Hopkins, and also the BBC dramas Cutting It and Down to Earth.
She lives in North London with her husband, two daughters and her Cavapoo Smith.
She is the patron of the Leeds-based Getaway Girls. Speaking about the charity she said: “As a woman from Leeds and a mum, I try to be a positive role model and tell girls to aspire to be the best they can.”
Angela Griffin is due to appear in Irvine Welsh’s Crime which premieres on BritBox on Thursday, November 18.