Vicky McClure, 34, played the role of Lol in the This Is England films and TV series, winning a best actress Bafta for her performance in This Is England ’86. She has also appeared in the TV series Line of Duty and Broadchurch.
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I always wanted to perform. I’ve danced since I was three, and from my teenage years I wanted to act.
Private school or state school? University or straight into work?
Fernwood, a comprehensive in Nottingham. I had an incredible time – there was a very mixed bag of people and we all hung out together. I never skipped school because I really enjoyed being there.
I started at the Central Junior Television Workshop when I was 11. I then went to college in Nottingham to study drama – no disrespect to the college, but I’d been in the Workshop so I already knew quite a lot. And my grades were so bad they wanted me to retake my exams. So I left after about four months.
My first job was in H Samuel the jeweller and I was there about three years. I pierced a lot of ears and changed a lot of Swatch batteries.
Who was or still is your mentor?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in this industry and I am heavily influenced by normality and reality – my partner Jonny, my family and my friends.
How physically fit are you?
I’m not an avid gym-goer or exerciser – I wish I was. But I don’t sit down. If I’ve got nothing to do, I’ll go and sort a drawer out.
Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
Ambition is a great thing but talent will give you longevity and I’d much rather quality over quantity. My CV reflects that. I haven’t got 100 projects on it but everything I’ve done, I’ve done because I think I can do it well, or at least give it a good go.
How politically committed are you?
I have my own strong views. I make sure I vote. But I don’t talk about politics.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
I waste way too much time cleaning. There’s nothing I like more than getting my house straight. I can also waste a lot of money on stuff for the house. I’ve got a mini ironing board that I’ve never used.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
My own street with all my family and friends living there.
In what place are you happiest?
What ambitions do you still have?
To create television that speaks to a wider audience and make sure the choices I’m making speak to more of a working-class audience. There isn’t enough content being made that my upbringing can relate to.
What drives you on?
I’m starting to learn that some things don’t have much of a purpose — and some things really do. I get people asking me to do work for charities, and that’s worth getting out of bed for – it could make a difference.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
Winning a Bafta. I worked in an office for eight years and could never have dreamed of it. It feels a long time ago now but I’m still immensely proud that it happened. And having cemented a career, even if it ends tomorrow, and earned money doing something I love.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
I can’t bear lateness.
If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?
She’d think I was a bit boring. At 20 I was very hyper.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
My dancing clothes. I used to get them out every now and again. I’ve not seen them for about 10 years – they’re either lost or somewhere in my mum and dad’s loft.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Social media. It’s a massive challenge to get back to reality, freedom, living in the moment, capturing a memory rather than a post.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes. I have to, because I’ve lost too many people I love to think they’re completely gone.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
A healthy nine. I’m surrounded by the best people on the planet.
Vicky McClure stars in “Action Team” from March 5 on ITV2 at 10pm