BBC The Split star’s physical and emotional challenge in new Paramount+ role

From chatty cop Lizzie Maddox in Lewis to Waterloo Road ’s warm-hearted headteacher Kim Campbell, Angela Griffin often shines as likeable characters. However, the former Corrie star takes on the role of a cold, uncaring detective in a new Paramount+ thriller – and admits it was a welcome change.

Angela, 47, plays DI Aline Edgeworth, who is investigating multiple murders in an idyllic seaside town in which local doctor Tom (Spencer and Poldark star Jack Farthing) is the main suspect. After arresting Tom at his own surprise party, Aline clashes with his seemingly perfect wife Beth, played by The Split ’s Annabel Scholey, as shocking discoveries come to light.

Speaking about how Aline compares to her previous roles, Angela says, “Everyone wanted to talk to Lizzie Maddox – she was warm. But nobody wants to talk to Aline.

“She is not relatable, she’s not approachable and it really was a challenge! You can’t help reacting and you generally empathise with the other person when you’re working. Aline doesn’t have a range of emotions but she starts in one place and she does end somewhere else. I got to play nothing, which is very rare for me – so it was dead attractive.”

Meanwhile, Annabel was put through the “physical and emotional” wringer to play Beth – whose perfect façade begins to crack when her husband is arrested for murder and she begins her own amateur investigation. “She’s a doctor’s wife, a mother and she’s happily married, she thinks,” Annabel says.

“She had a very tricky upbringing and it’s very important that she seems in control. But she’s got a quite interesting dark side, a physical side, that she shares with husband Tom. They are into certain types of sex together. She’s done a very good job of hiding the person she really is for whatever reason and goes on a journey of self-discovery to work out why she’s made these decisions in the first place.”

Aline is the opposite and when she’s assigned to Tom’s case, she finds that Beth makes her feel “uncomfortable”.

“Aline is single, she has no family, she goes home to nobody – not even a cat – because there’s no warmth to her,” Angela reveals. “Beth, who is quite sexually open, really unnerves her. She makes her question what it is that she may be hiding from while she’s at work. She is offended by Beth the second she meets her because she is everything she isn’t. So she feels the best thing to do is to destroy that.”

Annabel’s intense filming days involved lengthy scripts and intimacy rehearsals for “the more athletic sex scenes” with her co-star Jack. “It was like a dance and we knew the steps so we could just focus on the story,” she says. “I had a lot of lines and was colour-coding my scripts. I don’t often learn like that but because [Beth] had so much, I had to.”

When it came to switching off after a full-on day, Annabel turned to TV. “I have a little cross trainer in my living room so I used to do that and watch Netflix,” the actress, who shares a daughter with actor ex Ciaran McMenamin, says.

“I re-watch things that I find comforting so I sometimes go down a Downton Abbey spiral because it’s non-threatening and comforting.”

Meanwhile, Angela took a different relaxation route. “Annabel was in every single day and had a hectic schedule and a massive emotional journey to play, but I didn’t.

So the way I wound down was by going into the bar at the hotel with Ben O’Mahoney [who plays DS Mike Pearson] and drinking wine and discussing the details we put into that day,” she laughs. “I just had a great time.”

Angela managed to get Annabel out on the town however when the cast shot scenes in Italy. “I couldn’t resist that!” Annabel says.

Annabel and Angela first share the screen when detective Aline crashes Tom’s birthday party and, much like their characters, both stars have differing opinions when it comes to surprise bashes.

“I’m about to turn 40 and I don’t think a surprise party would be particularly pleasurable,” Annabel giggles. “I like a party, but I would like to be prepared because I’m a control freak.”

Meanwhile, Angela can’t get enough of them. “I love a surprise party,” she grins. “No one can ever surprise me with anything so if someone could pull off a surprise party, I’d be dead chuffed. I am always organising everything, so if I didn’t have to do anything, that would be amazing.”

The Serial Killer's Wife arrives on Paramount+ on Friday 15th December.

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