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


“Great LezBritian” is a fortnightly stroll through the very best of British lesbo-centric entertainment and culture. Plus there will be some jolly good interviews with the top ladies who are waving the flag for gay UK.

Until her role in Lip Service as Lou Foster, Roxanne McKee was most widely recognised as an entirely different hot mess that also answered to the name of Lou. Hairdresser, gangster’s moll and sometime alcoholic, Louise Summers in the British soap Hollyoaks was the part that made Roxanne a frequent entrant on FHM’s “Sexiest Women In the World” polls. And indeed, Lou Foster may keep her on them if the reaction she’s had so far is anything to go by. 

We spoke to Roxanne a couple of months ago, the day after she returned from a break in the sun. She had just experienced a tangled web in her transit back to the UK, having been stuck on the Greek Island of Paros, missing flights and being re-routed back to Crete. Despite the jetlag, she was warm, bright as a button and clearly much, much more than just a pretty face.

Since last week’s episode when we saw Lou pick Tom-the-prick over Tess, opinion has been divided over how much understanding Lou should receive. We asked Roxanne what she thinks of Lou Foster, whether Lou really loved Tess, how she thinks things could develop in a second series between them and her forthcoming HBO series A Game of Thrones. How did you first hear about Lip Service?

Roxanne McKee: It was just a normal audition process — my agent called me up and asked me to attend.  I was originally asked to go for the part of Frankie but I wasn’t right for it. But then they called me back and said they did think I would be right for the part of Lou.

AE: What did you know about Lou’s character?

RM: I knew that she was quite manipulative and cunning but when I played her I wanted to make her more rounded. I wanted people to see why she was a little manipulative and that she wasn’t just one-dimensional. She has her reasons for being the way she is and hopefully the audience can see that.

AE: Lou is the only closeted character and it is difficult to completely understand what her true feelings are for Tess, what do you think they are?

RM: I think Lou is very much in love with Tess. The problem she faces is not that she just wanted to have a bit of fun with her and then get rid of her. Because she is a famous television presenter and because she originates from a small part of Northern Ireland she feels embarrassed by the fact she’s in love with a woman and not a man. 

My back story for Lou is that she comes from a family that is narrow-minded and she thinks if she was to let the cat out of the bag then she might lose the reputation that she has worked so hard to build up and she would embarrass her family. So she doesn’t follow her heart, she sticks with the man and not the woman, which I think is incredibly sad and naïve — but it certainly opens up the possibility of more Lou in a second series.

AE: So you would be interested in playing Lou in the second series? Maybe then she can try and win back Tess?

RM: Absolutely! I think if you don’t follow the course of true love then there are always repercussions. Lou chose a man that she wasn’t actually in love with just because she thought that was the right thing to do but really she should have been with a woman and that woman is Tess.

AE: What do you think was so special about Tess and Lou’s relationship?

RM: It provided quite a few of the comedy elements running through Lip Service, but there is a lot of depth there as well. Tess allows Lou to get in touch with her real emotions rather than the projected emotions she wants people to believe in. Tess is able to soften Lou and there are moments where you can see she wants to let go. Tess is really ready to deal with a serious relationship but she can’t believe her luck that Lou really likes her.

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