Perhaps best known for her role as Valerie Pollard for 11 years in the long running ITV soap Emmerdale, Charlie Hardwick's film roles include Billy Elliot, The One and Only, Purely Belter and The Scar. The award-winning Geordie actress also happens to be one of the loveliest people I've interviewed to date.
I catch up with her after the BFI Flare film festival premiere of the new free lesbian web series, Different for Girls (DFG). In the VIP room, there is an excitable buzz in the air following a positive reception to the screening and Q&A panel with the cast and crew. Among the hustle and bustle, we find a quiet corner on a sofa to talk all things DFG!
In the show, Charlie plays Maude, mother to British Vietnamese LGBT+ character, Cam (played by 24: Live Another Day's Tuyen Do).
What made you get involved in Different For Girls?
In Newcastle, there's a really strong group of feminists and activists, and creator Jacquie Lawrence and I have known each other for around 30 years. We were both involved with My Aunt Fanny films and did a Channel 4 drama together in the nineties called Little Richard Wrecked My Marriage.
What do you love most about your character?
I think Maude is full of love. Also the show is a representation of modern families. Most children don't live with a male / female, a different kind of family is shown in Different for Girls and I applaud that.
What are you currently watching?
I don't watch much television, but I love women's drama. I'm currently watching Gracie and Frankie (Netflix).
What's next for you?
I am not able to talk about my next project yet, but I've recently been involved in a young women's film project that is close to my heart. It gives disenfranchised young women the skills to become filmmakers, and is through the Women's Film Academy.
What are some things that not many people know about you?
For one I'm a radical feminist! I'm also a great supporter of LGBT+ causes, and I'm a vegetarian.
What is your favourite lesbian TV moment?
It's got to be the Brookside kiss between Beth and Margaret - that was epic!
What's your favourite moment in Different for Girls?
I love my daughter Cam's puking up intro in the show [this is a rather jarring opening scene for those of you that haven't watched it yet]. Another moment for me was Fran's visit to Cam's bathroom when she finds the pregnancy stick!
If you could spend the day as anyone, who would it be?
Michelle Obama; she s a goddess and the finest role model. She has decency, grace and intellect.
ABOUT DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS
Different for Girls is a wonderful FREE web series available to view via the YouTube channel Lesbian Box Office. It was created by Jacquie Lawrence, an award-winning documentary producer whose credits include the Oscar-nominated The Celluloid Closet, and BAFTA award winning Ross Kemp on Gangs.
Read the Planet Nation review of Different for Girls: https://www.planet-nation.com/lifestyle/media-reviews/different-girls-review
Charlie Hardwick is an English actress best known for playing Valerie Pollard from 2004 to 2015 in the ITV soap Emmerdale. For this she won the 2006 British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance. She starred in the 2000 comedy film Purely Belter, Billy Elliot, and won the best actress at the Monte Carlo International TV Festival in 1998 for her role in The Scar, a film about a mining community. She also played Sian, Duncan's Mum (played by Declan Donnelly) in Byker Grove.]