The Line of Duty star, 37, on socially distanced selfies, dancing with Hastings and fighting in a video to raise money for intensive care workers.
How did you get involved in the Keep Fighting campaign?
I had seen the YouTube Boss Bitch Fight filmed in America and when I was asked to film a spoof, it was a great idea.
There’s nothing like kick-ass women kicking ass – and if it’s going to help NHS workers, you just wouldn’t ever say no.
We’ve an array of amazing talent, from Maxine Peake to Samantha Morton and Olivia Colman, Emma Thompson and Weruche Opia. It was written and directed by Collette Cooper – and shot entirely on smartphones.
You’re raising funds for the Intensive Care Society…
Yes, it’s a charity that supports doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, critical care practitioners and pharmacists.
It’s so vital right now, as Covid-19 has caused immense pressure on ICU workers. These are real people who have to deal with the added stress at work but still have to get the shopping and go home to families and deal with other worries.
People can give as little as £5 to access this campaign online from today.
Do any of your family or friends work for the NHS?
Yes, they work in lots of areas, in hospitals or in the community, and they’re all heroes to me.
The weekly clap was brilliant. I didn’t know many of my neighbours before because I work away a lot but now I know everyone in my street. I loved to see everyone coming together, showing our gratitude.
Were you affected by seeing the scenes of ICUs during the spike?
It was harrowing watching patients being turned face down on a bed to help them breathe.
I don’t think we’ll all grasp what we’re going through until we’re through it. We are having to stay strong for each other and others, and the suicide statistics are heartbreaking.
You have your own bad day but then you remind yourself of the positives – like Marcus Rashford doing magical things and this incredible community spirit.
Has Covid made you reflect or make any life changes?
Yes, 100 per cent. I’m away from home, my partner Johnny and my family are in Nottingham, we’re in the midst of a pandemic and I’ve never had to be this strong before.
But at the same time I’ve seen a lot of my friends who have been helping out and I’ve thought, ‘They’re selfless.’
At the same time, if you’re sat at home watching Netflix or you haven’t showered in three days – that’s fine too. Everyone’s perspective is changing and when we get through this, people will feel very different about everything.
How was lockdown for you? Did you bake banana bread?
We started filming Line Of Duty, then got sent home, and the general consensus was we’d go home for three weeks then be back to business – but then it slowly started to dawn that this would last longer.
Myself and Johnny started up a production company two years ago and we’ve never had the time to properly drive it forward so we found this new thing called Zoom, which meant we could speak to new writers, so I was productive.
I’m not really into the whole baking banana bread thing. I’d rather buy it and eat it and I like watching it on The Great British Bake Off.
Everybody wants to know about Line Of Duty. Did you all keep in touch via WhatsApp?
Me, Mart [Martin Compston], Ady [Adrian Dunbar] and Jed [Mercurio] have always had a WhatsApp group and Jed started to create fun tasks, like the mini scene which helped raise money for Ask For Masks.
We had lots of Zoom chats and beer, and now we’re back in Belfast. I’m lucky because I’m with two of my best mates and my extended family.
I feel so well cared-for and, although I’m homesick and worried like everyone else, this is escapism. On set here when they shout ‘action’, Covid doesn’t exist. It’s lovely to escape into this world of Line Of Duty.
Your hip-hop challenge went viral. Who’s the smoothest mover?
When me, Mart and Ady did our silly hip-hop game it blew up – I’ve never had anything on my social media viewed more than a million times before!
The best dancer? It’s funny because Mart did a film called Soulboy and claims to be the smoothest mover, I’ve danced since the age of three, yet Ady – who has no background in dance – seems to have the smoothest moves.
He really got into the groove and there were lots of comments on my social media about his hips!
Do people recognise you in the street? Do they say ‘Mother of God’ to you?
I do get ‘Who’s H?’ It’s just tricky at the moment when people want selfies because of distancing – I am miles away, smiling in the background.
Keep Fighting premieres today and is available to watch from £5. See greshamblake.com for a Keep Fighting charity mask
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