Parminder Nagra has told how she landed the lead role in new drama Maternal accidentally while reading lines for her best friend Lara Pulver's audition.
The good friends were both offered main parts thanks to Pulver's audition tape, where Bend It Like Beckham star Nagra could be heard off-camera reading the other lines in the script.
Maternal, an ITV1 drama series about three female doctors returning to post-pandemic frontline medicine after maternity leave, also stars Pulver's husband Raza Jaffrey, with Lisa McGrillis in the third lead role.
Talking about her accidental casting, Nagra said: "Lara Pulver and I are basically best mates and neighbours in LA. During the pandemic we’ve been doing a lot of our audition selftapes together.
"So when she taped her audition to play Catherine in Maternal, I read the opposite parts – both Helen and Maryam. And during her call back, I was there off camera reading in the other roles and the director, James Griffiths, said, ‘Can I give Parminder a note?’ It made me laugh but also think, ‘How dare you? I’m not even up for this project!’"
But she continued: "The following day, I got an email asking me to audition as Maryam. I did my audition tape with Lara’s husband, Raza Jaffrey, who is also my very good friend and who had been cast to play Jack, a surgeon and a former boyfriend of Catherine. So we took our whole kit and caboodle to Liverpool like a little family.
"To get a chance to work alongside my friend, Lara, who I love and respect, is just fantastic."
Pulver was equally thrilled at the family and friends project, and added that it was the first time she and Jaffrey hadn't alternated work and childcare with each other.
She said: "I was blessed because I was working with my best friend, Parminder, and my husband. It was the first time we got childcare rather than taking turns working, and it felt right."
Maternal begins on Monday, 16 January at 9pm on ITV1.