Jane Horrocks tells Emma Pomfret why she enjoyed acting the child while filming her new series...

Having devoted the last few years to spending quality time with her two children, Little Voice star Jane Horrocks admits she's over the moon to get back to acting.

"I sort of decided to take some time off to spend with my kids which was great, but it's been brilliant to go out more and start working with other actors again," laughs the diminutive Lancashire-born actress, who is making her come-back in Jimmy McGovern's long-awaited new series, The Street.

"We're all so immature, us actors, but it's great to be childish instead of being responsible and grown-up all the time!

"I'm not allowed to be childish at home - I can be silly with the kids but then I get told off by my fella for being stupid and winding them up so they won't go bed," she grins mischievously.

The 42-year-old, famous for playing super-dizzy PR girl Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous, admits she got to indulge her childish side when she stayed with her parents during filming of The Street.

"It was lovely to go home - I've spent quite a lot of time up north this year and I've seen an awful lot of my Mum and Dad, which is brilliant.

"When you have kids they get all of your attention, so I think it was nice for my Mum and Dad to only have me there for once so they could really spoil me. I love being spoiled, I'm very lazy."

Filmed on location in Salford, each episode of Cracker-writer McGovern's BBC One series concentrates on a different house in The Street. In the inaugural episode Jane plays Angela Quinn, a mother of three, whose 15-year-old marriage to builder Arthur is growing stale.

"Angela is a bit of a rut in her life - she's been with the same guy for 15 years, they are in a very predictable relationship, and then she starts an affair with a neighbour, played by Shaun Dooley - it all happens very quickly," Jane explains.

"The whole thing starts with them having a huge row about finances and then something tragic happens in the plot - but I can't tell you what because I don't want to give it away!

"It's like all relationships - they come to a bit of a stalemate and although she's been very loyal to him, this opportunity arises and she goes for it. She spends a lot of time blaming everyone else for it - she's a bit of an old fishwife actually," Jane laughs.

"Eventually she comes to terms with the fact that she is partly responsible for it, then in what she thinks is a rational way - but to me as a viewer it isn't - she tells the neighbour's wife that she has been having an affair with her husband. Their relationship falls apart but Angela's actually goes from strength to strength and becomes a family unit again."

Although Jane - who lives with her long-term partner Nick Vivian, their eight-year-old son Dylan and their six-year-old daughter Molly - concedes that stale patches are an inevitable part of any relationship, she believes that the key to longevity is regular communication.

"I do think that relationships need working on and, if they are failing, then you need to sit down and talk about it in a sensible fashion to make it work.

"Some people just don't have the time to do that with their partner and so things get discussed in the heat of the moment and they think that all they ever do is row and bicker."

Jane says the show, which also stars Shameless actor Jody Latham, Sue Johnston,Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent, is classic McGovern.

"The practicalities of real life are displayed on screen - you know, the domestic stuff that couples have to go through is very boring, such as talking about washing and clearing up and all that - so everyone can relate to that."

Jane has been rushed off her feet since she decided to resume her acting career.

As well as being a voice star in Tim Burton's animated film The Corpse Bride, and Fifi Forget-Me-Not in the pre-school show Fifi And The Flowertots, she has also been unearthing the truth about her family tree in BBC Two's Who Do You Think You Are.

"It was fascinating and most of the research and hard work was done for me which is half the battle," she says.

"But it was also surprising because my aunt on my mother's side thought that she knew quite a lot about our family and she was told what she was led to believe was true, but it wasn't in the end.

"So it was quite hard in a way because I had to be the deliverer of, not so much bad news, but news that was contrary to what she'd been told," Jane explains.

"I didn't know whether to let sleeping dogs lie or to embark on a journey like that - my aunt was really cool about it and was fascinated but I wondered if it had rocked her boat a little bit.

"It was quite frustrating by the end of it because there were a lot of untied knots - I suppose you can never know everything - but it's a lovely thing to do," she beams, before rushing off to collect Dylan and Molly from school.

The Street is BBC1 from April 13.