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My role in lesbian drama Lip Service

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Ruta Gedmintas Ruta Gedmintas | 11:11 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I was trying to read the scripts for Lip Service, between scenes, covered in raspberry syrup, sat on a really cold and dirty set of a horror movie I was doing called Prowl in Bulgaria.

And two thoughts crossed my mind: Wow, Frankie is an awesome part, and... that'll never happen.

So with that in mind, I went to the audition, pretty much straight off the plane, bit scruffy, bit tired, bit shell-shocked from the horror film, probably a little bit of the crusty blood-syrup still in my hair.

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I had a bit of a chat and a read. I really liked the producer, Polly Williams, and the writer, Harriet Braun, who were with Jill Trevellick (the casting director) but I fully expected nothing to come of it. Then my agent called me and told me they liked me and that I wasn't allowed to go to New York. (I had been planning to move there for a little while.)

I thought Frankie should have stayed in New York and everyone else flew out to see her. It may have messed with the story somewhat, but we all would have had a great time in NYC.

Next came a couple of chemistry read sessions - these are auditions to 'test' the connection between two actors in front of a camera. Sometimes there is something that just works between two actors, and you're not quite sure what it is. This was when I first met John McKay, director of episodes one and two.

It was quite interesting for me to stay in the room after the other actor's audition was over. Usually you get around 10 minutes to prove yourself for a team you could potentially be working with for four months.

It's pretty cool to hear the commentary after an actor has left the room. It was never nearly as bad as we actors always assume it is. Kudos, the production company, and Jill brought in some brilliant actors for all the roles.

Being cast as Frankie was fantastic. I couldn't wait to get my grips on her. She's dark and wild, troublemaking and impulsive. She flips from being intensely introvert to bolshie and provocative.

Ruta Gedmintas as Frankie with Laura Fraser as Cat in Lip Service.

I remember John coining the phrase 'cold fire' for Frankie, referring to her emotional duality in any given scene. Because whatever Frankie appears to be thinking or feeling, there is quite often an intense contradiction underneath.

I liked that you couldn't put anything past Frankie, and that none of the characters would know what was coming next from her. That's quite exciting to play.

I got to work with some amazing actors on Lip Service. Not only were they abundantly talented, but really lovely people. We all got on really well, and although I didn't have much time to socialise whilst filming, we found our moments for dancing and debauchery.

I had very little time off. But I relished every moment of filming. We had to do some pretty intense scenes. And luckily we had a great crew around to support us.

Our director of photography, Neville Kidd, was fantastic. He shot Lip Service beautifully, and would make us feel very safe and comfortable, especially in the sex scenes. Even when his head was right by our bottoms.

One of the funny filming moments was the scene where Jay picks up Frankie from the airport. This is where the magic of editing is truly evident.

Because filming that scene, Emun Elliott (Jay) couldn't drive, so we had a driver double. This meant that during Jay's shots they had to fix a steering wheel to the passenger side of the car, and flip the shot in the edit.

Now, the car was quite small, so we had the driver double and Emun in the front, and I was sandwiched between John McKay and Neville and his camera. Giving my lines from the backseat, and vice versa with Emun for my takes.

If you look closely, you can see the shadow of the stunt driver's glasses on the seat next to Frankie. It goes to show how much work goes into what seems like a simple scene. I felt somewhat close to Neville and John after that.

The cast of Lip Service

Filming in Glasgow in the winter is bloody freezing. Underneath our costumes would be a multitude of thermals and secret handwarmers stuffed in bras and back pockets. During December we did not enjoy taking any of these clothes off.

We had a great costume and make up team on the show. They came at us with these fantastic ideas, and really listened to our thoughts and conceptions. I think every one of the characters has a very distinctive style that suits each of their personalities.

I also like the music in Lip Service. I think moments are picked out nicely with certain tracks, yet there isn't a need to have a score running under the whole show. Some times the silent moments are the most effective.

Funnily enough I listened to The XX pretty much every night when I was doing script work during filming, and one of their tracks has ended up scoring a very important scene for Frankie.

I actually had a Frankie soundtrack on my iPod. Songs that would either rile me up or cool me down or make me feel sexy etc. We stayed in rented flats while filming and I turned mine into what I thought Frankie's flat would look like.

I like photography myself, so I had all my cameras strewn about, films and negatives everywhere. I had a great postcard book of magazine covers of 1950s pin-ups, which I tore out and stuck everywhere. I also had a mirror covered in all things Frankie, from photos to poems to quotes scrawled in eyeliner and lipstick.

I think Fiona Button (Tess) thought I was mad. I probably was a bit. She didn't like hanging out in my flat, so we ran lines and drank tea in hers. Rock'n'roll.

It's always a combination of terror and excitement when a show you have done is going out. You never know what an audience will make of it. You wonder who you'll take to, who you'll like or loathe or want to get to know. Every character is so different.

I'm not sure I could choose between Tess, Frankie and Cat, as to who I would be friends with in reality. I think I would need a bit of all of them in my life. Even Frankie.

Ruta Gedmintas plays Frankie in Lip Service.

Lip Service is on Tuesday, 12 October at 10.30pm on BBC Three.

Creator and writer of Lip Service Harriet Braun has written on the BBC Three blog how she created the show.


  • Comment number 1.

    Absolutely loved the 1st series of 'Lip Service' an exceptional programme, fantastic :) I cannot wait until next weeks episode......

  • Comment number 2.

    what jacket are you wearing in nearly every scene? (the black leather-like one).

  • Comment number 3.

    What a fantastic surprise - I have not felt this excited about a series sine I discovered 'This Life' on BBC2 in the 90's.
    Characterisation is superb and a whole under-explored area is being covered in an exciting new way.
    And I am a man so I have to say this - Ruta Gedmintas is absolutely gorgeous - not just outstandingly beautiful but a complex character - a hard shell with a soft centre shrouded in unpredictability. I see she was in 'the Tudors' bui don't remember her part - will have to check out the boxed set I was given!
    Can't wait till Tuesday.

  • Comment number 4.

    Omg actually in love with lip service.can't wait til 2moro :D n :O lurve the XX too.thinkn this is def my kinda thing :) xxxx

  • Comment number 5.

    About the music - loved the Delgados intro. One of my fav tracks ever!

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm guessing that people are only watching to see Lesbian life

  • Comment number 7.

    Sorry if tht wasn't supposed to be rude but I'm not watching to "see" lesbian life.I already "live" lesbian life.I'm watching cos it's awesome.I like the drama side of it and how it links to my own life.x

  • Comment number 8.

    Does anybody no if frankie is into women in reality she's amazin!! :-o

  • Comment number 9.

    Someone told me she's bisexual. She's sooo hot:)

  • Comment number 10.

    Ruta, the show and your character are fantastic. Hope it's shipped over to the US, so that the 'L' Word audience have a chance to see something a little different. Frankie seems to have just a little bit of Rita Lynch about her (a good thing). Congrats, and I hope the show goes from strength to strength.

    ps - you're looking very Frankie today!

  • Comment number 11.

    I only made an account to comment on this page , i really enjoy the show and i love the L word also and when i found out that they were doing a scottish programme with the theme i was very happy because i am a young actress and i'd love to be a part of something like that but i don't see many lesbians/BI's on tv let alone scottish lesbians/BI's ....Thank you for the boost x

  • Comment number 12.

    It's really nice to hear the human side behind all of the work that goes in to these shows. We all know how hard everyone works so it's a sweet irony that the better they are the less we notice. Kudos on the insight!

  • Comment number 13.

    Just brilliant...
    Watched three episodes in a row on iPlayer and I have to say I'm in love with all of it.

    If I could get a little bit of Frankie in my life, I'd be a happy lass :)

    Can't wait to see the next in the series and don't want it to end!

  • Comment number 14.

    I absolutely love Lip Service. I too only registered on here so I could comment. I really hope there will be a Series 2! Love the characters. Love Frankie, she's my favourite and love Ruta Gedmintas as an actress anyway, I think she plays a fantastic role as Frankie in this programme. Couldn't help but follow her on Twitter after watching the show! Looking forward to next Tuesday night!

  • Comment number 15.

    it's a great drama to watch it and I really enjoy the twist and the point of this series. It made me realize lots of things about living with a woman and see the different perspective of view. I hope more interesting points will come up... I like Cat/Sam character, I would be happily approached by "Sam" any time! :D
    Keep a good work girls!

  • Comment number 16.

    Absolutely lovin it. The drama shows the complexities with girlie love and its not all 'happy days/nights' I think Sam (Heather Pearce) comes across abit wooden considering how sexy she was in London's Burning etc. But I really do hope that the beeb make another series just as hard hitting and dark as this one!!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm enjoying the show, and looking forward to where they take the story with Frankie's identity after her search at the Registry Office. Loving the characters and nice to see Heather Pearce back on our screens. I hope the BBC continue the series. Thanks for bringing this show to our screens.

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank you so much for all your sweet comments and taking the time to write them.

    We have had an overwhelming reaction from the internet, and it is really interesting reading peoples views. Whether Lip Services connects with people or not I am so glad we seem to arouse an impassioned response, a show that actually sparks debate. That's pretty cool.

    Frankie is not an easy character to like on the surface, so i am glad people are finding a deeper connection somewhere in her, and seeing where she will go!

    gravybeard: i never thought about Rita lynch.. but yes i see the similarity!

    tactilecazza: i really like what Heather has done with Sam. She seems to be the most grounded and rational of the bunch. Maybe seeing her along side Emotional-Frankie and Neurotic-Cat, might make Sam seem less 'dramatic', but i think that is only a good thing... i love her poise,strong heart and subtle vulnerability.Its a wicked contrast to the hearts on sleeves tendencies for the other characters. (plus i think she's awesomely sexy in this!)keep going with her!

    and frankie's jacket?

    again thank you!

  • Comment number 19.

    I am loving this series completely! I love all the characters and find it easy to follow and get drawn into their lives.
    As soon as the episode finishes I want to watch the next one.
    Well done for bringing such a good quality programme to our screens :D

  • Comment number 20.

    hii ruta i really enjoy the drama and i think that your one of the best actors there i am really looking forward to watch the next serise =) x

  • Comment number 21.

    Frankie seems like such a great character to play and it's really professional how you prepare for your scenes through music and how you had your flat etc. I think you are fantastic in the programme. I tweeted you on Twitter the other night but not sure if it worked as it was my first time tweeting. I said I had never watched a programme like it before, since then I have heard people say that it is similar to The L Word. I have watched a couple of episodes of the L Word lastnight and I think Lip Service is so much better! I really hope there will be more series. And I absolutely love the short hair, I think it looks great and is definitely suited to Frankie's character..!

    Love Claire x

  • Comment number 22.

    Just great to see British gay women portrayed on screen at last, however contrived the set-up. Good lighting, fab music - Roxanne McKee is a revelation & Laura Fraser is gorgeous!

  • Comment number 23.

    All the characters are amazing characters, I agree with what Frances wrote about how great it is to see a British Gay Women Portrayed on the screen.
    Is there only going to be one series of the Lip Service or is there going to be more, it would be a shame for there to be only one.


  • Comment number 24.

    LOVE! the show. It is like xmas in a box! I am pretty sure that I saw a teaser for it AGES ago though. The scene from episode one in the bar with frankie, tess, ed and Jay. I was soooo excited and told everyone and they thought I was a complete nutter. Until now! Everyone I know loves it! Even my nana! I made her watch it as she is a tad homophobic. But I think the show is diluting her views. Well done everyone who had anything to do with getting it on the telly!


    xx xx

  • Comment number 25.

    I love the hair style that Frankie has.
    Won't have long to copy it but would like some pictures that shows what it's like at the back.
    Really Love the Programme awsome. xx

  • Comment number 26.

    For God's sake Ruta you are turning into a cult (and I spelt that carefully) the series is gunna be as popular as Queer as Folk cus its different quirky and makes you think. I have a g/f who will not commit like your character Frankie and I am a bit like Cat very older and wiser and trying to 'find my perfect one' so I can empathise with the storyline. Its a brill programme and I hope the Beeb bring on a second series. x

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Ruta,I Am Not Gay But Love Frankie,(Gorgeous,Sexy,With Attitude),This Is A Fantastic Series With Great Acting And A Wicked Insight Into The Glasgow Gay Scene, Well Done,Also Like To Point Out On The Scene Where Tess Goes Back To Girls House And Her Husband Brings The Chair In To Watch,Very Funny, But The Music At This Scene Is Awesome Its From A Glasgow Band Called A Band Called Quinn Great Stuff,,Keep Up The Great Work Rutaxx

  • Comment number 28.

    Absolutely LOVE Lip Service!! Beats 'L word' every time. Frankie is my favourite character. Lots and lots more series please BBC!!! I could watch it all day xx

  • Comment number 29.

    So, what do we have here? A 1)scottish series from the 2)BBC about 3)gay women, that takes off with the best first pilot scene EvEr, embraced by the superb sounds of 4)The Delgados... The mesmerizing depiction of the photo-shoot scene plus "I Fought The Angels" almost gave me Stendhal syndrome! Thank you inventors of european tv series and of the internet. Come on BBC3, order a 2 season for art's sake! Greece also demands (oh, yes you already have some fans down here) a DVD of the 1st season. Absolutely brilliant show!

    {{PS}} Dear Ms.Gedmintas your portrayal of Frankie is at least exceptional. I adore her obscurity and her desperate yet emotionally authentic attempts to get connected and involved in something she knows could be her hindmost opportunity for a catharsis.
    Best regards to all the people who worked for this.
    Cheers from Greece!

  • Comment number 30.

    lovin lip service cant believe how sexy frankie is!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Great show, Ruta you were great in Spooks and now you are even better in Lip Service. Really enjoying watching it and hope there will be a 2nd season. Was great seeing you film in my fighting gym the griphouse, makes the show so much better seeing familiar places!

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Ruta, are you as nutz as frankie? ha...one crazy lady...played the part well tough. good show...abit over glamed ....you made it look like theres girls everywhere...no bother...take your pick! if only it was that easy?! :) anyway if your in London anytime...let me know...we could hang out maybe! Party London style :) see ya

  • Comment number 33.

    I LOVE THE SHOW. I watch it religiously :D haha
    BUT as much as I do love it I have to point out the mistake made in episode 5 when Tess is playing Jenga, you can see how they've edited it due to the jenga pieces moving around..... :( but I will let it slide as I love the show so much. I am hoping for a second series.... and a third and forth and fifth and...... :) + Cat and Frankie need to get together!

  • Comment number 34.

    i like Lip service. L word...it was like a haute couture of the lesbian world.you can see but you can't touch. and Lip service is like pret-a-porter - we can have it. characters are down to earth. they are real and alive.

  • Comment number 35.

    i've not seen this programme before but jus flipped over lastnight (what hav i been missin)i'm hooked... gutted that it's the last..hopefully NOT forever... FRANKIE is great.
    I'm gonna watch the ones i've missed on iplayer..thank god for IPLAYER

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Ruta thanks for coming back to me on my comments. I betcha didn't think this drama would get as big as this. On Facebook the Frankie Alan page is written to daily!!!
    I truly hope the Beeb do bring in series 2 its a genre never touched before in such detail. Theres no such thing as happy eva after take it from one lady would knows - birds are emotionally complex and the relationships even more so. Take care x

  • Comment number 37.

    i love Lip Servise i dont want it to end becs it is brilint and it has brilint cast Ruta Gedmintas , Laura Frazer and ETC they are all HOT exspecily Ruta Gedmintas and Laura Frazer i would love to meet them

  • Comment number 38.

    EXELLENT series!Poor Cat,stuck between Sam and Frankie,can't wait for series 2.

  • Comment number 39.

    LOVED IT LOVED IT LOVED IT, BBC give us a second series oh go on do!!!!

    What do we want? A second series! When do we want it? Now!! :-)

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Ruta,
    What can I say about this series - its been brilliant!!
    I have just watched the last part of the series and it moved me to tears, the connection and tenderness between Frankie and Cat was outstanding. Its not just been about Lesbians, the characters are fascinating and the acting throughout has been superb. Lets hope there is another series, such a shame if it ends as there is so much to resolve and scope for the series to carry on.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Absolutely loved the series - sexy, emotional, funny, and I want MORE! I wasn't just watching for the sex - although they were all very sexy - but it did strike me as weird that only one of the girls was actually Scottish. And if they ever do a film about Iron Maiden, Emun is an obvious dead ringer for Bruce Dickinson.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hey Ruta, again its never ending. The Facebook sites are inundated with comments and Heather Peace's gigs are more popular than ever did you think this series would turn into such a cult? There is such a gap in the tv programmes for series like this - hard, gritty, tongue in cheek, atmospheric! We would all like this kinda scene going on with gorge flats and fit birds - not in Torbay tho - sob. Hope you get another bite of the cherry - so to speak - and make anova series - much love and luck C x

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    The Rita Lynch connection is interesting. I first heard her doing ‘Beautiful Eyes’ on the soundtrack to the lesbian movie Rosebud and I am smitten ever since. There are clear similarities between Ruta and Rita, not only the name, tall, blond, mad hair, sulky expression and the eyes! Frankie is similar too, wayward, intense, out of control (it’s so romantic!) and probably a bit dangerous. Good call gravybeard! It would have been great if Rita had got behind the microphone at the abandoned party scene. – she plays frequently, last seen at the 100 Club 3 weeks ago when she was as stunning as ever.
    I want that jacket too!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    how did playing the role as Frankie/Elenor make you feel, knowing what all you had to go through with frankies/Elenors family problems and seeing Cat again after coming back from New York?

  • Comment number 47.

    seems like, frankie, you become the most lucky girl in the world! dont u? You have your father, your mother, even your brother lived around you!mostly, you will get your lover back! Thats what you always want!! LUcky you! XX
    btw, I love you,you re so gorgeous!!

    to Ruta: I watched the Tudors, quite like this. After I know You played Elizabeth Blount ,I went back to find you in episode 1....thats quite shock me....honestly, I like you be Frankie but not Blount!you are hot to look like a T

  • Comment number 48.

    I live in Australia and was looking for new shows to watch when I came across this show. Being gay myself, I'm always looking for shows I can relate to my own life, which is hard as there are rarely any shows about lesbian women and their relationships and lives. I bought the blu-ray off the net and watched it all in one day. I loved it!! The characters are all believable and you can totally relate to them as though they could be people you actually know. I recommended the show to a few of my friends and they loved it also. Even one of my friends who is straight loved it aswell. I really hope you guys are able to keep writing and shooting to create more series' cause you definately have the fan base for it. There are even people awaiting the news of another series from the other side of the world!! I thought the show was very good and kept me captivated from start to finish. An excellent series, and I hope it's not the last!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Viewer from "The States" here. Completely addicted to the show. Mostly because I find "Frankie" to mirror myself. It's a bit.. creepy actually. Can't help but relate to everything the character goes through.

    ANYWAYS, my main question here is about the amazingly emotional scene in the final episode of this first season. Based on the blog, the music running is by The Xx. Now, I am a huge music buff. Love listening to and playing it. Been scouring the internet for the correct version of the song used. I keep coming across "Infinity" as the song but the version used in the aired show is not the same as the album track. Anybody have any input?

    My apologies if this question is redundant.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    i live in mexico and im surprised to find this serie, i want to see the complete chapters or buy the serie. thanks

  • Comment number 52.

    frankie reminds me a little bit of myself but less dramatic. i feel pretty close to this character n feel the decisions she makes reflect on my own

  • Comment number 53.

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