As Georgia Taylor joins Law & Order for its seventh series, the former soap star talks to Sophie Herdman about growing up on Corrie, dealing with public scrutiny and the one reality TV show she’s tempted to do
In a swanky bar filled with red leather sofas and beaded curtains, Georgia Taylor is showing off her best dance moves.
We’re not at some swish celebrity party though. That’s not really Taylor’s thing. We’re simply having a lunchtime chat and have ended up discussing reality TV.
“I’m not judging people for doing it, it’s just not for me,” says Taylor, before realising that, actually, she wouldn’t mind doing Strictly Come Dancing.
That’s when the dance moves started. “I’m a badass dancer in my kitchen, I’ve got all the moves,” laughs the former Coronation Street actress, bopping her head and clicking her fingers, her gold dangly earrings and loose curls swishing around her face.
“When I went clubbing, I’d be on the dance floor all night, I loved it. But I guess that’s not the same as doing the foxtrot.” No, not quite. The dance moves weren’t required for her latest role in Law & Order: UK - not yet at least.
In series seven of the popular show, Taylor, 33, debuts as Kate Barker, a career-driven and passionate barrister-turned-Crown Prosecutor.
“I spent four years on Casualty playing a doctor, who was very cold and controlled, so I was hooked by Kate, who’s so different - she’s scatty, warm and a little mischievous,” says Taylor.
But like Casualty’s Ruth, Kate’s another job-orientated woman, right? “Yes, I do love playing professional women,” confides Taylor, who lives in Bristol with her boyfriend, actor Mark Letheren, and their two cats, Claude and Audrey.
As research for the show, Taylor visited Bristol Crown Court. “I watched a murder trial from the public gallery. There was a glass screen in front of us and they played everything through speakers - I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t watching TV,” she says. Witnessing the barristers at work, Taylor managed to pick up some tips for the show. “They weren’t waving their hands around and shouting. They were just confident, competent and clear. So I tried to do that with Kate.”
It must seem like a lifetime since she joined Coronation Street as the brattish Toyah Battersby, a role she played for six years.
She was just 17 then and admits that joining such a prestigious show at a young age was insane.
“I was thrust into this mad world - at the time the show was getting something like 19 million viewers. I don’t think I really understood that,” she says.
As for recent rumours that she’s returning to the show, Toyah fans will be sad to hear that it was mere fabrication.
“Mates were texting me going, ‘Is it true?’ But it was news to me. I think every time there’s a new Corrie producer, people assume they will bring someone back, and this time my name was plucked out of the hat.”
But while Taylor’s got no plans to return to the soap now, she’d never rule it out. “I still have a real affection for the show. They do comedy like no one else, it just makes me howl,” she says.
After leaving Coronation Street, Taylor appeared in a string of TV shows - Life On Mars, Blackpool, The Royal - and did some theatre work, too.
Then, in 2007 she joined the cast of Casualty, playing ambitious but troubled junior doctor Ruth Winters.
“There’s no big secret to doing well after soaps,” she observes. “Although I haven’t said yes to everything I’ve been offered.”
Taylor glances over at my Dictaphone, its red light reminding her that it’s recording her every word. It’s not the first time she’s looked uneasy during the interview.
She has nothing to worry about though - she is modest, kind and confident, especially when we discuss the all-too-frequent mentions by the media that she’s lost weight since her Corrie days.
She tries not to get annoyed by such comments. “I’ve got a round face so people expect me to be bigger,” she says.
“I did lose weight when I was 19 but I’m 33 now. People say, ‘Oh God! You’ve lost lots of weight’ and I go, ‘Yeah about 14 years ago’.
“It’s a modern fascination, isn’t it? Women’s magazines are all, ‘Look at my bikini bod’, ‘Oh no I’ve put on two stone again’, ‘Oh hey now I’ve lost it’. We’re saturated with it, so I can understand why people mention it.”
Having cited subtly brilliant actors such as Maxine Peake and Amelia Bullmore as heroes (“I’d love to do some comedy,” she admits), Taylor’s solely interested in getting on with the job. “My ethos is to do the best job you can when you’re lucky enough to work.”
l Law & Order: UK returns to ITV on Sunday, July 14