Lie With Me's Charlie Brooks reveals how friends' horror gaslighting ordeals inspired Channel 5 drama

EASTENDERS star Charlie Brooks reckons the final episode of her sexy thriller Lie With Me will divide the audience – but she’s more than ready for it.

Charlie, 40, who returns to Albert Square this autumn as Janine Butcher, made her long awaited TV comeback in the four-part Channel 5 drama during Tuesday night's opening episode.

Viewers have been gripped as her character Anna Fallmont, a vulnerable mum-of-two, has been mentally tortured by her cheating husband Jake to the point where she thought she was losing her mind.

Twisted Jake, played by Australian hunk Brett Tucker, 49, had been sleeping with their nanny Becky Hart, who he met when they lived in London, and moved her into the family home following their move to Australia.

Tonight viewers will finally discover which of them ends up in the body bag.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online Charlie admits that she’s been lucky in her real life relationships and has only been gaslighted once or twice.

But having spoken to a number of her friends she knows all too well what Anna has been going through at the hands of her manipulative husband.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online she said: “Don’t you just hate those guys with their gaslighting? They make you feel like you’re just going mental.

“I spoke to people who had experience of it for the role. I’ve been really lucky in my life, maybe gaslighted once or twice but it’s never been a big part of my relationships.

“If I’m not happy with something I get the hell out of there. It’s a good thing in many ways, but when they’re like, let’s talk it through? I’m like no, I’m done!

“Also I can sniff it out. I’m really attracted to good people. So many people like a bad-boy but I really don’t. They nauseate me slightly.

Nearly all of my friends that I spoke to have been in this situation and far too many women have.

“There’s so many different experiences that women have gone through and especially that you’re made to feel like you are going mental. No you’re the mad one how dare you accuse me of doing that!

“And it was going on all along. Even after they’ve been caught they still continue to make her life a living hell… you should be on your knees grovelling and apologising!”

At the end of last night’s gripping third episode viewers saw a stronger Anna plan to leave Jake by telling Becky, actress Phoebe Roberts, 25, that she was moving with the kids to a safe house.

Viewers know that someone ends up dead but have no idea which of the three main characters dies, which will all be revealed in tonight's dramatic finale.

Charlie added: “It’s final. That’s the strap-line, whether it was the right one or not? I think it will divide the audience.

“Some will be going, yes! and others will be like, no. It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction and I’m more than ready for it.

“Of course as Anna gets stronger people will compare her to Janine. But I think the difference is that Anna definitely wears her insides on the outside more, she’s more vulnerable and she’s just surviving out of love for her two children.

"Where as Janine wears a mask and keeps everything on the inside and doesn’t want to let anybody in, she’s got a suit of armour.

“I think the differences are in the vulnerabilities, the insecurities and uncertainties and an awareness that Anna has about her own behaviours, which is lacking slightly in Janine.

“Janine doesn’t have any awareness because she doesn’t care about anyone or anything!"

Charlie was approached to star in the drama by creator and executive producer Jason Herbison, who also produces Channel 5 soap Neighbours.

She started filming the four part mini-series in Australia in March 2020 but had to fly home when the COVID pandemic hit.

She said: “We did a two week rehearsal and went into the shoot but then COVID hit. I had to fly home as nobody knew what was happening.

“And honestly I thought that might be the last we ever hear of it. But the troops rallied at Channel 5 and Fremantle, they really pulled together to get this little baby made.

“They flew me back out on Boxing where I had two weeks quarantine in Sydney which was fun, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

“I was lucky I had a glass balcony so had fresh air which was good. But it was very weird. And then we finished the shoot and I was away for all of January living it up in Melbourne.”

Despite his on-screen manipulation in the dark thriller, Charlie struck up a close friendship former Neighbours star Brett.

But admits she felt she was ‘punching above her weight’ when the show’s top boss showed her a picture of him.

She said: “I adore him. He’s amazing. I struck up a really nice friendship with Brett and Phoebe, I adore them both. I was punching above my weight slightly!

“When Jason showed me a picture, I was like, are you sure? He’s going to be my husband? I’m definitely punching above my weight here.

“We all had an amazing, that was the best thing to come out of it hanging out with those two.”

Charlie also admits that she’s got worse at watching herself on TV.

She said: “I guess it is my TV comeback, I’d not done anything for a while, but I just can’t bear it.

“I just want to run away and hide. I feel like, it’s always quite exposing, but it’s also very exciting.

It’s been nice to play something different and for people to see something different.

I’ve definitely got worse at watching myself, I’m not great because it’s out there, when you’re on stage you go out there and you can try again tomorrow night, I find that I can be really critical of myself.”

Charlie took part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special back in 2011 which she won and admits she could take part on the main show one day.

But at the moment as well as being back filming at EastEnders she spends her spare time concentrating on her online drama school, I Am Pro, which helps kids from working class backgrounds get into the arts.

She said: “I could do it one day. I’ve been really busy working on an online platform called I am Pro which is a real passion project of mine.

It’s a creative online learning platform here we’re making the arts accessible and affordable for young creatives in front of and behind the camera.

“I’m really really proud of it, and we’re getting it out into the big wide world now. The industry is elitist, especially with all the cuts recently, drama schools are amazing but people can’t afford it.

“So what I’m trying to offer is an alternative route in that will compliment those that are going to drama school but also offering the possibility and opportunity for those how can’t afford.

“I come from a working class background and want to help others get into the industry.”

Readers can watch the final episode of Lie With Me tonight at 9pm on Channel 5. The full box set will also be available to stream on My5 after the episode.



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