It was never going to be easy to fill the lead character shaped hole left in Our Girl when Lacey Turner decided to quit as the show's protagonist army medic Molly Dawes and return to EastEnders after just one series. However, a lot of fans are convinced her eventual replacement Michelle Keegan has more than lived up to the task. Keegan joined Our Girl in 2015 as the more experienced army medic, Georgie Lane, and with fans now asking if Turner will return to Our Girl for the show's fourth season, I want to know, are Michelle Keegan and Lacey Turner friends in IRL?
Let's first look at their characters. The show's two female leads thus far, Molly and Georgie, are friends within the Our Girl television universe. In a previous episode, Georgie could be seen confirming to Molly's husband Captain James (Ben Aldridge) that she and Molly are, at the very least, Facebook friends.
So, their Facebook status pretty much confirms Molly and Georgie are friends of some kind in the show (for now... more on that later), but are actresses Keegan and Turner friends in real life? Well, the pair have never publicly been pictured together IRL, and there doesn't appear any hard evidence that they've actually met. However, the pair both attended the National TV Awards in 2017, and by looking through pictures, several other ceremonies previously, so it seems likely that their paths would have crossed at some point before. Nonetheless, while they may not be publicly close friends outside the Our Girl universe, Keegan is certainly a fan of Turner's.
Keegan's casting in Our Girl was announced in June 2015, with the former Coronation Street actress telling the Daily Mirror at the time of her casting that she was a fan of the original Our Girl series. She said: “I’m a massive fan of the series so I can’t wait to be a part of it. It’s going to be a big but exciting challenge for me.” So, how did Keegan rate Turner's performance as her character of Molly? Pretty well, actually.
In another interview with the Daily Star, Keegan implied she was nervous about replacing the actress as the Our Girl protagonist as she was such a fan of Turner's performance. Keegan explained: "There is pressure replacing Lacey [as the lead]. I was a massive fan of the show and I thought she was amazing. I will do my best. My character is going to be so different from hers so hopefully people won’t compare us too much."
So, at the very least, Keegan and Turner's characters are friends and Keegan certainly has a lot of respect for Turner. It seems the feeling's pretty mutual, as Turner said told the Radio Times in 2017 that she's a "huge, huge fan" of the show. But, will Molly and Georgie remain Facebook friends as the events of Season 3 continue to unfold?
Hmm. Something tells me a fallout and swift un-friend could be on the cards for Our Girl's two leading ladies — whether onscreen or off — if Georgie gets together with Molly's husband, Captain James.
An episode of Our Girl last month saw Captain James injure his foot and confess for the first time that he had developed feelings for Georgie (Keegan), telling her that his feelings had "crossed a line" into romantic infatuation.
While the pair have yet to resolve their current relationship status — as Captain James has been away from 2-Section ever since — the answer to whether Georgie and Captain James will get together is coming, as Aldridge previously told Radio Times: "I think, when [Captain James and Goergie] next speak, she finds out sort of what his true intentions are and where his head’s at.”
The shock revelation by Captain James also has some fans suspecting it will open the door to welcome Turner back into the Our Girl fold just in time for Season 4, which could see Molly and Georgie finally meet on screen.
Encouragingly, the possibility of Molly's return has never been entirely out of the question, as Our Girl creator Tony grounds recently told Radio Times: "If [Lacey] ever wanted to do it she’s only got to ring me up – she knows that. I think it’s all about logistics. I don’t know how EastEnders works and we’re invariably filming a broad. But I love that Molly Dawes character."
Exciting times may very well lay ahead, Our Girl fans.
Our Girl continues on Wednesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. on BBC One