I do all my writing in bed. Not due to decadence, but because it’s the place I can hide from my children most effectively.
My recent Bafta nomination genuinely came as a huge shock. I assumed it was Breeders that had been shortlisted, not me [for female performance in a comedy programme]. When I finally clicked, I blurted out, “Good God!” I don’t think I’ll win, but if by some miracle I did, my kids would immediately steal the trophy and put hats on it.
Matt LeBlanc is properly famous. When we were in Episodes together, he could just roll down his car window and people would scream. It was hilarious, like hanging out with a rock star. Compared to that, I’m nicely under the radar. I rarely get recognised and when I do, it’s often as a generic blonde comedy actress. They’ll say: “I loved you in Smack the Pony.”
Greece is my happy place. Looking at some bougainvillaea, drinking coffee. But more realistically right now, it’s by a fire with my lovely husband [musician Joe Wilson], our two dogs and two kids, watching a film. We did ET recently and cried quite a lot.
Don’t destroy yourself. There’s a perception that to be successful or create something, you have to sacrifice any work/life balance. I don’t believe that. On Back to Life and Breeders, we insist on family-friendly hours and aim for everyone to have a lovely time. Then you get the best out of people and do great work in another way.
Behaviour on TV and film sets is changing and it’s about bloody time. Things that were tolerated or ignored 10 years ago aren’t now. That’s really exciting. I pray that progress continues.
Don’t be a crisp snob. Don’t be afraid to go for Wotsits. Things that would make good firelighters will probably be delicious. I learned that once when I threw some old Pringles on the fire and they went up in flames.
It’s so hard for women re-entering society after committing a crime. Researching Back to Life we had fascinating chats with female ex-prisoners. They feel forever judged in a way that male ex-cons don’t. There’s more forgiveness and understanding of men, whereas women get classed as evil and there’s a deeper mistrust of them.
I’m a massive weed. The only time I’ve broken the law is aged 13. I took a penny sweet out of a jar in a department store and put it in my mouth, then panicked and put it back. I’m so square that when I was little, I used to run up to policemen and tell them everything I’d ever done wrong.
I never feel like I’ve made it. I quit my first job seven times, then had to keep going back and begging for it again. Because the journey’s been long, I appreciate the good moments, but don’t expect them to continue forever. I feel like I could be back working in a pub or nannying at any point. I’m fully prepared to pull pints again.
Admit who you are, figure out how you work and you’ll waste a lot less time. I don’t need to write from nine to five because the truth is, I’ll procrastinate until 4pm. I’ll Google “houses with big gardens” and “dogs that need homes”, do three online shops, then panic and do all the work in an hour. If I give myself two hours to write, I’ll procrastinate for half of it and get the same amount done.
I love getting older. I care less about what people think, feel more settled, trust myself more. Celebrate every birthday! We’re so lucky to be alive, especially at a time when so many families have been through hell.
Create the circumstances in which you can shine without being an arsehole. That’s my life motto. The disclaimer is incredibly important. Be good at what you do, but don’t be unkind or difficult.