In three part ITV drama Tina and Bobby, which premieres on Friday 13 January, Michelle Keegan plays the wife of English soccer legend Bobby Moore. Here she tells all about the role and how daunting it was having the real Tina on hand at the first read through.
How much did you know about Tina and Bobby before you took on the role?
“Mark (Wright) is a West Ham supporter and knew a lot about both of them. He gave me the low down on Bobby’s teammates, Geoff Hurst, Mar1n Peters, Jack Charlton, Malcolm Allison and Noel Cantwell.
“Being from Essex Mark told me what Bobby meant to people here, how he was regarded as one of the greatest defenders, what a legend Bobby was and what he meant to football. To hear it first hand was unbelievable.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot about Tina outside of Bobby. The first time I heard their story was when I watched the documentary, Bobby. A few weeks later I received the scripts so it felt like fate.”
Tina Moore attended the read-through. How did it feel to be portraying her whilst she was in the room?
“It was really daunting. I’d forgotten Tina was going to be there until I walked into the room. By then I’d seen pictures of her and had done some research. As soon as I saw her I thought ‘Oh my God, it’s Tina Moore, she’s here at the read-through’. I panicked. It’s a really daunting thing to do – I’m portraying Tina and I want to tell her story to the best of my ability.
“After the read-through Tina shared a lot of stories and memories about their life together. It’s a real coincidence as I now live in Essex, close to Morlands, so we had lots to talk about.”
What events took place in the week leading up to your first day on set?
“When I was offered the role of Tina I was filming in Manchester for Our Girl. I actually only wrapped on Our Girl on the Friday (July 1st) and went straight in to a week of prep and rehearsals for Tina and Bobby on the Monday (July 4th).
“Afer the read-through I spoke to Tina Moore and the rest of the cast. I’d not worked with Lorne or Patsy before so we were able to have a chat about the people we were portraying and their dynamics. We all clicked straight away.”
“I then had a chemistry read with Lorne and the director, John McKay, and then a separate one with Patsy and John. With Lorne and John we talked and explored Tina and Bobby as a young couple and we closely followed their journey into married and family life. We did a lot of improvisa1on together and I definitely think it helped us ahead of filming.
“It was the same with Patsy – we wanted to explore the close mother/daughter rela1onship Tina and Becy had with each other. How they interacted and cared for one another.
“I had various conversations with the hair, make up and costume teams and then went back to London and had my hair-dyed blonde ready to begin filming on the Monday (July 11th). It was a complete change and so very different to Georgie in Our Girl who I’d played for 5 months.”
You undertook a big transformation to play Tina Moore. Were you apprehensive about this?
“I went through a massive transforma1on to play Tina. The colourist, Vernon Deysel, did a great job with changing the colour of my hair.
“I was apprehensive at first but I wanted to embrace the character fully. A lot of actors make dramatic changes to their appearance for the characters they are playing. I thought this was a great role and I wanted to give everything to it.”
You previously worked with Director John McKay on the BBC drama, Ordinary Lies. Did this established relationship help for Tina and Bobby?
“Yes, one hundred percent. I trusted John, I know how he works, I think he’s an amazing director and he’s got a very kind presence on set.
“Even when John’s under pressure you would never know it and that’s what I love about him. He’s very calm and he really looks after everyone he’s working with. Everyone thinks the same about him too.”
Andrew Cox, Costume Designer, was someone you’d also previously worked with too.
“Andrew was the Costume Designer on Our Girl. We have a great rela1onship and he instantly knows my style and what I like.
“A lot of the crew from Our Girl worked on Tina and Bobby so it was nice to be star1ng a new project but working with some friendly faces.”
At what point in Tina’s life will the audience first meet her?
“Viewers meet Tina as a 15-year-old girl. She’s on a night out with her cousin Jenny at Ilford Palais, a place they go out dancing together.
“Tina lives in a terraced house with her mum and stepdad together with her auntie, uncle and her cousin Jenny, who she’s very close to.
“In the first episode viewers will see Tina go from a young woman to a wife to a mother.”
How would you describe Tina?
“Tina is a very confident and strong woman. She’s very independent too. A lot of the time Tina was the backbone of their marriage and Bobby always went to her for advice. Although she was in the background when it came to his career, in their marriage she was always at the forefront of their rela1onship.”
Were Tina’s characteristics part of the appeal?
“I love playing strong women but I just loved the scripts. Tina’s story mentally and emo1onally engaged me.”
Do you think the audience will relate to Tina?
“Yes, I think they’ll really like Tina and I think women will be able to relate to her. She’s a really caring person. She’s a great mum and a brilliant wife. Her life was Bobby and you can tell that from the outset. Tina’s life was her family and she did everything she could for them.”
Were you able to relate to Tina in anyway?
“A little bit. I think having a relationship that is in the public eye certainly related to me.”
Even on their honeymoon Tina and Bobby are interrupted by football. Was football always in their lives?
“Noel Cantwell and Malcolm Allison gatecrashed their honeymoon in Majorca. Football took over. Tina wasn’t just married to Bobby she was married to the game. One of the footballers wives says to Tina, “You married a footballer, you might be his wife but the game will always be his mistress”, and that’s exactly how it was.”
What is the significance of the Yellow outfit Tina wears to the World Cup matches?
“Tina’s favourite colour was yellow and she wore this to the World Cup in ‘66 believing it would bring good luck and it did!”
The series was filmed on location in Manchester. Were you able to catch up with family and friends?
“At the weekends I did. During the week when I was filming I stayed in a hotel, which was my choice. I could have stayed at home but when I’m there I get easily distracted being around my mum and seeing the dogs so I think I made the right decision to be in the hotel and concentrate on my work. It was lovely being back up North.”
Filming also took you to Palma. What can you tell us about the scenes you filmed there?
“Palma was a great location. We filmed the scenes when Tina and Bobby are on their honeymoon in the 60’s. We also filmed some scenes from the 70’s when Tina and Bobby are in Acapulco and I also did some driving scenes along the coastline, which are from the 80’s. There was a lot to cover whilst we were there but we all had a great time.”
Tina and Bobby airs on ITV from Friday 13 January 2017 at 9.00pm