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Cutting It

Interview with Cherie Lunghi

The beautiful, predatory, unscrupulous Zinnia Raggitt is an ex-porn star turned "sexual educator", with her own x-rated website, Ostensibly on the scene to comfort her dumped daughter Mia (Amanda Holden), she's more interested in ensuring Mia gets a whopping divorce settlement, and meeting up with her soon to-
be-divorced son-in-law, Finn.

"An adventurer and risk-taker, Zinnia is extremely self-centred, but also sexy," says actress Cherie Lunghi. "She's not inhibited about sex, however; she has problems with emotions in terms of getting a real connection with anyone and thinks sex is a great substitute.

"One of the funniest things that happened on set was the reaction I received when I wore my black PVC cat suit and was chained to a lamp post. I drew quite a large crowd on the opposite pavement!" confesses Lunghi. "It's so wonderful to play a character who has so many facets and is so richly painted. I found watching a lot of late-night Channel 5 to be a great source of research. Every night there would be something pertinent to this role!" she laughs.

"Zinnia's completely different to anything I've played before. The reason I chose to do this is that I wanted to play something a little less straight with a touch of comedy, which comes through the character rather than me trying to be funny. Zinnia is funny but she's also sad."

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so it's easy to see where Mia Bevan gets her conniving ways from. Zinnia is an opportunist and an arch-manipulator a woman who has no qualms about relying on her daughter for handouts, even though she doesn't do too badly from her trade in manuals, videos, calendars and seminars.

"Poor Mia, what can I say? Although Zinnia is a bit of an embarrassment to Mia, Mia's also a bit of an embarrassment to Zinnia, actually. She's so straight and prissy she's also a bit frigid. I think she developed her personality as a reaction to her mother!" laughs Lunghi.

What would Lunghi's own daughter think about her mothers exploits in Cutting It?

"My own daughter goes through the lines with me on occasion and her reaction is a bit like Mia's, really a bit embarrassed, and quite rightly. I think it must be embarrassing to have a mother playing a woman so sexually overt," says the Cambridge University

Lunghi explains what it was like being the new girl on set:

"The cast are great. At first it was a little difficult, it was a bit like joining school late when term had already begun. I wasn't able to fraternise a great deal or bond with my fellow cast members, because I would be on a train back home to London instead of going out and partying, but I did have a couple of nights out with them.They're a very nice, warm bunch of people."