Why My Lady Jane’s Anna Chancellor ‘loves everything’ about her new role

WHO chats to the star about her 'perfect' new character.
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In history-bending period drama My Lady Jane, Anna Chancellor stars as Lady Frances Grey, mother to the ill-fated ‘Nine Days Queen’, Jane Grey.

With some of the best lines in the series and a plot which sees a younger man unable to resist her womanly wiles, it’s no wonder Chancellor, 59, fell in love with the role.

Here, WHO chats to the star about her “perfect” new character.

WHO: In a world of very outrageous characters, yours may be the most outrageous. What do you love about Lady Frances?

AC: Thank you. I love everything about her! What’s not to like? She gets to have sex with a gorgeous young guy. She’s got no boundaries. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her kids. She’s perfect. She’s a lot of fun. I’d get the script, I’d open the script and I’d be like, “I can’t wait to get to work  – that is so funny.”

Anna Chancellor My Lady Jane
Henry Ashton as Stan Dudley and Anna Chancellor as Frances Grey

WHO: She’s a bit of a schemer, ostensibly doing it for her  children, but do you think that is really what is motivating her or is it a bit more self-interest?

AC: I don’t think you can separate the kids’ existence from the parents’. It’s actually enmeshed. Survival is for the family, so it’s selfish, but it’s also for the kids – you can’t differentiate between the two. It’s the survival of the family.

WHO: The costumes play a big part…

AC: Yes, they could almost do it on their own – we could just send them off (laughs). It’s all handmade for you. They measure every inch of you and the strings of the corset go around and around. You’ve got a proper hoop, so when you go to the loo, you’ve got to concertina the hoop and back in to the portacabin with the whole skirt spilling out, and then the mic pack falls down the toilet… It goes on and on – it’s not easy being an actress!

My Lady Jane cast
Emily Bader as Lady Jane Grey, Robyn Betteridge as Margaret Grey, Isabella Brownson as Katherine Grey and Anna Chancellor as Frances Grey

WHO: It’s such a big ensemble cast. How did it stand out for you as an acting experience?

AC: Every day, there would be someone you hadn’t met before … so it was always quite fun. There’s always new people coming in and out, looking great with funny parts, so it was always good to get to work and socialise.

What is My Lady Jane based on?

If you’re looking for a history lesson, this is not the place to come. However, there is some truth to the events portrayed. My Lady Jane is adapted from the bestselling historical fantasy novel of the same name written by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows.

It re-imagines the true events of the woman, well teenager really, who became known as the Nine Days’ Queen after she was beheaded nine days into her reign.

As the narrator declares in the opening scenes of the series, “F–k that”.

The show, a cheeky spin on what we have come to know of a costume drama, sees Jane embark on a high-stakes journey to protect the crown – and her neck – and experience her first true love. There’s lots of swearing, humour and an excellent soundtrack.

My Lady Jane cast
Kate O’Flynn as Princess Mary, Will Keen as Norfolk, Jason Forbes as Scrope, Brandon Grace as William, Henry Ashton as Stan Dudley and Isabella Brownson as Katherine Grey

What about the fashion in My Lady Jane?

The costumes are one of the best bits of any period piece – and that’s the case here. Think gowns, capes, tights, jewels and lavish royal colours.

The costume designer, Stephanie Collie, previously worked on Peaky Blinders, which has its own signature wardrobe, as well as Argylle and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Is My Lady Jane appropriate?

If you’re missing the, ahem, romantic aspect of Bridgerton, fear not, as My Lady Jane looks set to include some heart rate-raising scenes of its own.

The trailer hints that viewers will get a sneak peek of passionate kisses and intense chemistry as well as a hint at an enemies-to-lovers trope, which can be so addictive to watch.

The tension between Jane and Lord Guildford, is subtly passionate and almost tangible, while they compare their dagger size (with Jane coming up triumphant).

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