Great LezBritain: Interview with Roxanne McKee of “Lip Service”


AE: Lip Service will mean a lot to the gay community and indeed a lot of people will be able to relate to the closeted character of Lou – do you feel any pressure as an actress because of that?
RM: I certainly don’t feel any negative pressure but I did want to portray something that looks and feels real for people. Prior to filming, Fiona and I talked about how we didn’t just want our relationship to be just two girls kissing on a television programme. We wanted the relationship to have chemistry and to make it look as real as possible.  I hope that the scenes look raw, emotional and realistic. It certainly felt VERY real so I am sure that it will come across like that! [laughs]

AE: Were there any elements of Lou that you recognised in yourself?
RM: If I was in her situation and I had to tell my family that I liked girls, my family wouldn’t care, so I couldn’t identify with Lou in that respect.  But I certainly know people who are gay and have had to face difficult situations with family and friends so I could completely understand where her fear was coming from.

AE: How was filming in Glasgow, it certainly looks pretty special on screen?
RM: It was amazing — I would live in Glasgow in a heartbeat. I just thought it was the most amazing place, the people were so friendly and I just couldn’t knock it in any way.  It was my favourite place that I have ever filmed in and it would be worth filming the second series just for Glasgow alone.

AE: The other Lip Service actresses said there wasn’t too much time for going out and about but you did have a few nights on the tiles?
RM: We didn’t go out too much but we did have a brilliant night out in a lesbian bar one night, Harriet and the whole of the cast including James and Emun came along just so we could all get in the spirit of things together.

AE: Will you be watching Lip Service when it’s on?
RM: Yes definitely, I think as an actor you have to watch things back and then learn from it. You watch it with a different eye from everyone else and you then become critical and see what things you could have done better. Maybe Meryl Streep wouldn’t need to watch her work but I’m not at that stage yet. [laughs]

AE: Do you feel any concern about how it will be received?
RM: Not concern, more an eager anticipation. I’ve spoken to Fiona and we’ve been out since we finished filming and she has seen bits and says she is pleased with how it looks — but everyone views things differently. I suppose I am both excited and nervous about the reaction it gets.

AE: You previously appeared in the soap opera Hollyoaks — when you left did you consciously try to get away from that type of role? Many ex-soap characters end up playing similar roles because it is maybe hard to be re-defined?
RM: I enjoyed Hollyoaks and I would never say anything bad about it. I don’t feel there is anything negative to say — it gave me a platform and I will always be thankful for it.  I was in the show for four years and the role was so diverse.  I played a bitchy, scheming student who then became an alcoholic, who then married a gangster, who then plotted the death of her fiancée — so my character went through many different changes and it was very heavy at points.

But I do think it’s important that when you come out of a soap opera people see you in a different light and since Hollyoaks I have consciously tried to pick roles that are challenging and different. 

I knew that the role of Lou Foster was for a very different audience. Lip Service is a different style of show — it is very real and it is very funny. There was comedy in Hollyoaks, but I was definitely not part of that comedy.

AE: What other roles have you been working on since Lip Service?
RM: I have a small part in a horror film called F with Ruth Gemmell and Eliza Bennett where I am killed in a very grotesque manner. I’m also filming A Game of Thrones, which is an upcoming HBO series based on George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series of books. We’re filming it all in Ireland and I have been taught to horse ride which has been fantastic, although I did get a call yesterday asking me to come and do some more filming which they called "The Devil on Horseback." I need to work with stunt riders and I am wondering what I’ve got myself into.

AE: Are you on any social media sites?
RM: No I’m not any of them even though people come up to me in clubs and say, "I was talking to you on Facebook" and I have to say "that wasn’t me."  I should probably be on them because so many people are but I am not very technological. I bought a laptop and then lost the lead for it and couldn’t use it for ages so I am pretty hopeless. My dad is a computer programmer which makes this even more embarrassing.

AE: If you ever do take the social media plunge your first point of call should be to engage with the Roxanne McKee Twitter Fan page. (@roxannefans)
RM: I feel really bad for not being on it now! I think you should engage with people and it’s lovely to hear that I have my own fan club on Twitter but I am just not very good at stuff like that. Tell them hello and maybe I should just give them a phone call? That would be a lot easier so maybe I’ll just do that?

If you want the chance to go to the Lip Service Finale party, don’t forget to register for you tickets here:

"Great LezBritain" authors Sarah, a Londoner, and Lee, a Glaswegian, met in a gay discotheque one bleak mid winter, eight years ago and have been shacked up together ever since. When not watching Tipping The Velvet, they find time to write, run a PR company, DJ at their own club nights and love a bit of jam on toast. Follow them on Twitter at greatlezbritain.

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