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Life

Jo is still 'mortified' by live gaff on EastEnders

Jo Joyner came to prominence as the feisty nurse Beth in No Angels and went on to appear as Tanya Branning in EastEnders. Following an appearance in the successful drama Ordinary Lies earlier this year, the 38-year-old mother of twins is now starring in The Interceptor. She talks to Susan Griffin about first jobs, bad paparazzi shots and that live EastEnders mishap

The moment Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner) fluffed her lines in EastEnders

CONGRATULATIONS ON ORDINARY LIES. DID YOU KNOW IT WAS GOING TO BE A SUCCESS?

It's one of the auditions I went for because I read it and thought, 'I want to be part of it', but equally, after the interview, I thought, 'I'm going to watch this no matter what happens'. That doesn't happen as much as you'd like it to. Or it does but for the parts of a 27-year-old when you're thinking, 'Oh this would be great' and then told, 'You're not going for the one in the leathers, you're just the wife at home.'

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN THE INTERCEPTOR?

Lorna is the wife of Ash (played by O-T Fagbenle), who's a detective. She's been in love with Ash since school where they were childhood sweethearts. There's a classic thing with Lorna and Ash whereby you fall in love with these qualities in a person that you ultimately try to change and then it goes wrong. She fell in love with the naughty boy at school and she loved it because he walked this fine line between detention and doing well. Now that he's married her and they've had kids and settled down, she's trying to change him, but you can't.

WHAT DO YOU THINK SHE MEANS TO ASH?

I think she is his safe hold. She definitely saved him from trouble when they were teenagers and he could have gone to the other side. It's a true detective thing isn't it, they could always have been one of the baddies and Lorna's definitely been instrumental in stopping Ash being one of the baddies. He's been a good guy, but he's an edgy good guy.

WHAT WAS IT THAT APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT THE ROLE?

It was because the director, Farren Blackburn (Luther, The Fades, The Musketeers), who set it up had a really strong image for it. It's shot beautifully and it's going to be quite unusual with a retro-vintage feel to it. It's also something I've never done. I'm not in the high-action stuff, but I've never been part of something like this.

THERE ARE A LOT OF CRIME SHOWS ON TV. WHAT DO YOU THINK SETS THIS APART?

Apart from the vintage feel, which I love, early on, [the detectives] struggle with some of the activity. They're chasing someone and they don't quite get them and there's a fallibility about them. What's lovely is you see Ash at home unloading the dishwasher and emptying the bins and you see him not quite making the catch. There's a little bit more honesty about it, which I think is really novel about the show.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU WERE AN ACTRESS?

I worked in a dress shop, but I was only a temp, so I couldn't get commission and then the area manager came up to me after a few months and said, 'I've been looking at the books and every time you're on, we make our sales, so we're going to put you on commission'. And then she said, 'I know you want to try this acting thing, but an assistant manager job's coming up'. I said, 'Oh, I'll just give acting another year'."

HOW DO YOU COPE WITH PAPARAZZI PICTURES BEING TAKEN?

It's always when you're making a stupid face. It doesn't interest me really because when you've done a soap, you just get used to it. They become like another shopper walking along and you know they're going to use the s**t ones. You know you're going to have your eyes wide shut and then they're going to say you're drunk, pregnant and all this sort of stuff.

HAVE YOU RECOVERED FROM THE LIVE EASTENDERS EPISODE [JOYNER MISTAKENLY SAID HER CO-STAR ADAM WOODYATT'S ACTUAL NAME AND NOT HIS CHARACTER'S]?

I was mortified that I'd done that and I have no idea why. I can't tell you how well-rehearsed we all were. I had such a giggle up until the 'How's Adam?' moment. It's not a line fluff, you couldn't talk your way out of it. The next night I didn't want to go on but my husband drove 160 miles to tell me I was going to do it and it was going to be fine. And then I met up with Chris Addison, who I've worked with quite a bit and he said, 'Well it could've been worse because you could've sworn straight afterwards'. At least I didn't do that.

:: The Interceptor is an eight-part series beginning on BBC One on Wednesday.

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