Keeley previously told HuffPost UK of her solitude while filming the hit drama in Northern Ireland - away from her family, in accommodation separate from the rest of the cast, as she describes it, “properly sad”.
The same, it appears, cannot be said for her role in ‘The Durrells’, now returned to Sunday evening primetime for its second series of the antics of the real-life Durrell family, famous for its writer sons Lawrence and Gerald, and the family’s en-masse decampment to Corfu for four years in the 1930s.
“It was most definitely the antidote to the ‘Line of Duty’ experience,” agrees Keeley. “It was just a joy, mostly because of the cast. All the youngsters were very professional on set, but off-set, they were a delight, they were very generous with me, wanting me to party with them all the time, definitely leading me astray, even though they’re all young and beautiful, and I’m 100 years old.”
Keeley plays mother Louisa, busy sort of harnessing her brood, as well as trying to make some money and recover from the broken heart she suffered in Series 1.
“Someone does of course appear on the horizon,” reveals Keeley, “but there’s a rival for his affections, his ex, and of course she’s very beautiful which leads to Louisa trying to compete and dressing extremely inappropriately and all that.”
Could Keeley do something similar herself? “Good god, no, I have no idea how she pulled it off. She had nothing set up.
“For some reason, we couldn’t fly direct to start filming this time, so we had to catch a flight to Italy, and then get two boats to Corfu. It took us 22 hours. It was a bit of an insight into how remote it must have been for them then.”
Meanwhile, Keeley has plenty to keep her busy. Following her breakthrough role in ‘Line of Duty’, she’s appeared in ‘The Missing’ Series 2 and the mini-series ‘The Casual Vacancy’, success she wasn’t expecting at this stage in her career.
“I was always told, women work less in their 40s,” admits Keeley. “So I was preparing myself for it, but it hasn’t happened. I also don’t buy into this myth of ‘Strong women’ on screen. I don’t think that’s true. We don’t need the tag.”
“They come up to me to ask about a particular storyline, and then they quickly say, ‘Don’t tell me, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know,” she says. “And often they just say thankyou, which is moving – that they’re thanking me for bringing them these broken characters.”
‘The Durrells’ continues on Sunday evening at 8pm on Sunday evening.