Cumbrian actress Lisa McGrillis has returned to the small screen in a new BBC2 sitcom.

The 33-year-old actress, who grew up in Scotby, near Carlisle, made a memorable entrance in the first episode of Mum as Kelly, the ditsy, over-enthusiastic Essex girlfriend of Jason. It’s the morning of his dad’s funeral and she turns up in a bright red mini dress.

Lisa was thrilled to have bagged herself the part as she’s a huge fan of the show’s writer Stefan Golaszewski, who also wrote the BAFTA award winning BBC3 sitcom Him and Her.

“As soon as the meeting came through to audition I was so excited. I thought I can’t mess this one up. I’m such a huge fan of Him and Her.

"I really wanted to do a good job and nail it,” said Lisa, who had been spotted by Stefan two years ago when he saw her on the stage in The Pass.

In the first episode of the series Lisa’s character Kelly meets her boyfriend’s mum Cathy for the first time in awkward circumstances.

Lisa thinks Kelly could be perceived as being a one dimensional, dippy, blonde Essex girl but said she’s so much more than that.

She said she’s insecure and quite fragile but finds solace in Cathy, played by Lesley Manville.

“She was a really lovely character to play. It was lots of fun as well. She gets all the good lines,” said Lisa.

“We’ve all got high hopes. It would be a shame if they didn’t [do a second series].

The series of six episodes follows the course of a year from January through to New Year’s Eve and in the second episode, which was broadcast on Friday, it was Cathy’s first Valentine’s Day without her husband.

The show has received praise from critics.

Lisa, who starred in BBC shows Hebburn and more recently Inspector George Gently, said: “The response has been really brilliant.

“People of all ages are able to relate to it in one way or another. Unfortunately most people have had to deal with some sort of grief.

“It’s very observational of human behaviour. [Stefan] writes these characters who are really recognisable in every day life and I think people can really relate to it.

“There’s a joy in watching something which is very simple in form,” said Lisa.

“It’s been pretty positive on the whole. I think as the show grows and as the episodes go on the audience will get to know the characters and hopefully fall in love with it as I did when I read it.”

Lisa has just opened a play called Human Animals by Stef Smith at London’s Royal Court Theatre.

She plays a character of her own name and the play touches on how hysteria can make people react to something the don’t know much about.

The former Trinity School pupil, who has previously performed on Broadway, enjoys the variety of theatre and TV roles. “They’re very different. Television is much smaller and much more focused whereas theatre requires projecting a bit more. It’s brilliant to do both,” she said. “I don’t prefer one more than another. I get a real buzz out of both of them.”

Lisa married Glaswegian actor Stuart Martin in Florence last year.

She tries to get back up as much as she can to see family, who run Willowbeck Lodge in Scotby.