Belfast Telegraph

Actress Michelle Keegan happy to leave 'sexy girl' roles behind

Michelle Keegan has said she is happy with the roles she is being offered because they are not "typically sexy" ones.

The Manchester-born actress played Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street for six years until 2014.

From 2009 until her exit, she was repeatedly voted sexiest female at the British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards. D efunct men's lifestyle magazine FHM crowned her Sexiest Woman In The World in 2015.

During promotion for her guest spot in ITV2's Plebs, the 28-year-old spoke about the "sexiest female" tag.

"I was lucky with Ordinary Lies," she said. "My character, Tracy, wasn't a sexy girl, she was just a normal girl who got in trouble.

"And again with Our Girl - I'm going in the Army - so all the roles I'm getting are not the typically sexy, stripping off ones, which is great for me."

However, she is not offended by the focus on her looks. "It's flattering ... that I've been labelled in the past as 'sexy'," she said.

Keegan won praise for her portrayal of receptionist Tracy Shawcross in BBC One's 2015 drama Ordinary Lies.

She will soon be seen in series two of Our Girl, and she also has a guest spot in the third series of ITV2 comedy Plebs.

Carving a path outside soap is not easy for some actors, but Keegan revealed she liked "the buzz" of trying to secure the next part.

"I still think I've got a lot to prove, but that's fine, I'm enjoying it," she said of life after Corrie.

"Everyone thinks you just get given jobs but you don't. You still have to audition and go through the normal process of getting the next job. I enjoy the buzz of it. I like the fact I'm not settled in one job like I was with Corrie."

Keegan will showcase her comedic talents in Plebs alongside actors Tom Rosenthal (who plays Marcus), Joel Fry (Stylax) and Ryan Sampson (Grumio).

In the Ancient Rome-set series, the Mancunian star has been cast as "brazen Vestal Virgin" Ursula.

Keegan's guest role came via the Brit Awards in 2015 - she was seated at the same table as Sampson, who often steals the show as Plebs' feckless slave.

"I mentioned that I was a massive fan and he said 'Oh, you should come for an audition. Next time we're going to be casting, I'll let you know'."

She auditioned for two parts, and won the role of Ursula.

Compared with the more dramatic vehicles in which Keegan has made her name, Plebs was "much lighter" and "so much fun".

"Not everything was about screaming and shouting or crying like I'm so used to," she said. "It's nice to have something quite lighthearted."

But Keegan, who married ex-The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright in 2015, admitted she is more comfortable within the drama genre.

She has replaced EastEnders' Lacey Turner in forthcoming war drama Our Girl, which will now follow recruits on a posting in Kenya.

As new female medic Corporal Georgie Lane, Keegan portrays a committed soldier who loves the adrenaline and adventure of her job.

"I do like the variety," she said when asked about playing comedy. "I've done Drunk History and Plebs, so I've done something that's out of my comfort zone with the comedy, but I do love the drama.

"I'm a fan of drama and I love watching drama so that's probably more in my comfort zone. I'm so used to it."

:: Plebs will be broadcast on ITV2 in April.

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