Hayley Atwell felt "disgusting" while playing a slave owner in new BBC One drama 'The Long Song'.

Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes

The 36-year-old actress was repulsed by her character Caroline Mortimer, who is a cruel British mistress who lives on her brother's sugar plantation in 19th century Jamaica, because her alter-ego's actions were against her own instincts.

She is quoted by The Sun newspaper as saying: "I would go home and I felt disgusting, I felt gross.

"And that's also at times how I had meant to feel.

"I'm doing things which are very much against my own instincts as a person and also very against the warmth of the cast.

"It was painful at times."

Hayley stars alongside Sir Lenny Henry and Tamara Lawrance in the forthcoming three-part drama series, which is set in early 19th century Jamaica and depicts the last days of slavery.

Caroline is a mistress to a young slave called July - who is played by Tamara - whom she takes from her mother when just a child, and Lenny will portray a slave named Godfrey.

The production is based on the Walter Scott Prize-winning historical novel of the same name - which was written by Andrea Levy and published in 2010.

Hayley previously revealed that while she was happy to test herself as an actress by playing such a hateful character, she was really glad to leave her villainous role behind when production ended.

She previously stated: "I've not had an experience of playing someone who could be I suppose understandably reduced to just 'villain, baddie' before and I really wanted to.

"I felt, as an actor, part of my job is to stretch and to play roles that would be uncomfortable for me.

"I remember on my last day posting something going 'I'm really happy to stop playing Caroline because I loved her, I never liked her.' "

Tagged in