Anna Friel set for first lesbian sex scene in two decades – and she’s terrified

The famous lesbian kiss on Brookside (Channel 4)

Anna Friel is appearing in her first lesbian sex scene in more than two decades – and she’s terrified.

The actress was part of the first ever first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British TV as Beth Jordache on Channel 4’s Brookside, but has deliberately avoided taking on same-sex roles since.

Now 40, the Golden Globe-nominated Pushing Daisies actress is ready to play another lesbian character.

“I’ve played enough heterosexual partners since Beth and now seems like a good time to go back,” she told the Daily Mail’s Event magazine.

The second season of Steven Soderbergh’s TV drama The Girlfriend Experience will see Friel play the finance director of a Republican Super Pac, who has a relationship with a female escort.

The show includes a lot of nudity, and she admitted: “I’m absolutely terrified about it.”

The actress explained that “in The Girlfriend Experience, nudity and sex is the key to the role. And they want me to look real.

“It’s terrifying. I’ve definitely upped my hours at the gym.”

Looking back on her Brookside role and the couple of decades which have passed, she said society had changed for the better, partly thanks to Beth.

“I find it fascinating that my 11-year-old daughter’s generation will never even think there’s an issue with being gay, straight, bisexual, whatever, but my own generation still sees a stigma in being a lesbian,” she said.

“The next generation is already educated, and maybe this is something I started.”

The groundbreaking kiss had a huge effect on the teenage actress, catapulting her into the national spotlight – but also turned her off playing lesbians.

“I don’t think I had any concept of how that kiss would change my life,” she said.

“For a very long time I was defined by that kiss. And I didn’t want to be.

“I spent years turning down other lesbian roles because it felt like going back to Beth.”

However, she said the kiss “did also make me want to take on parts that showed extreme sides of women.

“I tend to go for difficult, dangerous and damaged characters – I’m always attracted to extremes.”

This was crucial, Friel said, as there was still progress to be made when it came to lesbians being depicted on TV.

“I still think it’s more okay to portray male gay relationships on television than female, and this is pushing that boundary,” she said.

A personal relationship also helped nudge her towards once again portraying a lesbian character in the show, which is due to air next year.

“My best girlfriend has just come out.

“She and her partner are both gorgeous and they constantly have men saying they could turn them, as if their sexuality is a choice.

“There’s also an assumption that one woman has the male role and the other has the female role. That’s not right.”