Martine McCutcheon has revealed she feared she would knock Hugh Grant unconscious on her first day filming Love Actually.
The former EastEnders star plays the Downing Street tea lady who falls in love with Grant’s prime minister in the 2003 Christmas film and said her first day on set was filming the reunion scene at Heathrow Airport, which is the finale of the movie and in which she leaps into Grant’s arms.
She told the PA news agency: “It feels really clear, it’s something that I will never forget and I was so excited, I was so nervous, I was so grateful to be there.
“I was in disbelief that I was there, and it was a real pinch-me moment.”
She added: “Our first day of filming was actually filming the last scene which was the Heathrow scene and that was wonderful, it was one of the only times that everybody was together, if not the only time, and you realise that all these people are actually connected in some way without realising necessarily.
“It was just so special to look around and see everyone around us, Oscar winners, the talent on that set that day was unbelievable.
“But I was really nervous because I had to run and jump on Hugh, that was my first scene, and I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m going to kill him!’
“He was like ‘Come on, go for it’, and I was so nervous because I had never had to jump on anybody in a scene in my life and now as I do it, it’s with the heartthrob that is Hugh Grant, in front of everybody, in front of all these amazing actors, and what if I knock him out? What if I do something wrong?
“And every time I ran up to do it, I stopped.
“Hugh called me Teeny, and he was like ‘Come on Teeny, you can do it,’ and I was so scared I was going to hurt him or knock him over or something.
“Luckily everything went great and we did good, he was fine, he can handle it.
“He makes it all look effortless.”
McCutcheon is now starring in a promotional campaign for a doorstep greetings service inspired by the film, in which she recreates Andrew Lincoln’s famous scene when he declares his love for Keira Knightley on flash cards.
Now TV’s Greetings Gram service allows people to send loved ones a free, personalised, socially distanced doorstep message printed on cards and performed by a messenger.
She said: “Over the years I’ve been asked to do tons of things related to Love Actually but I just felt this year more than ever people need that human contact and human connection.
“What has been so lovely about Love Actually is it has just got a timeless quality to it and I think people forget just how much time has gone by.
“It’s been wonderful for me because every Christmas people have that reminder of you that a lot of actors and actresses don’t have and it’s been really really a blessing for me, I still pinch myself that I was in that movie with such an amazing stellar cast and I made some lovely friends too, it was really brilliant.
“We knew we were making something special, we knew we were making something wonderfully written and it was Richard Curtis’s directing debut and we were all so excited, but I don’t think we thought it would be this much of a timeless classic at Christmas.”
Even though the film is watched time and time again, McCutcheon said she has not watched it in full since it first premiered.
She said: “I have seen snippets because it’s always on and I find myself watching it and I can watch other people’s bits, bit when my bit comes on I’m like ‘Turn it over, turn it over!’
Members of the public can apply via www.greetingsgram.nowtv.com to send friends or family a Christmas message.
The streaming service is also offering a digital Greetings Gram alternative on the same site.