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Andrew Buchan was uncannily good at playing Matt Hancock in Covid drama This England…

By her own description, Leila Farzad was kind of like an ugly duckling growing up. “Badly coordinated, oversized features, very hairy, buck teeth,” she recently summarized her teenage appearance.

Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The actress, who currently stars in the BBC’s latest Monday night drama, is beautiful, charismatic, not to mention fiercely intelligent – a sisterhood champion, speaking out against societal pressures on women and how they are expected to behave.

“As women, we’ve been taught to behave and be a certain way,” the Oxford graduate said a few weeks ago. ‘Sometimes that’s impossible.

“There’s a little gremlin inside you saying, ‘I don’t want to act like this. My stomach hurts, I feel terrible, I’m incredibly premenstrual and haven’t slept enough and maybe I’m struggling with whether I should have a child or not.” not.”

On-screen partnership: In Better, Buchan (right) plays a gang boss for Farzad’s corrupt detective (left) and on-screen sexual arousal crackles positively between them (pictured for BBC drama Better)

Looking back, did Andrew Buchan's previous role hint at a romance with Leila Farzad?  (couple pictured in Better)

Looking back, did Andrew Buchan’s previous role hint at a romance with Leila Farzad? (couple pictured in Better)

“And yet I am expected to be this smiley, sweet, affable creature. Hell with that.’ She added, “I’m the queen of self-sabotage. I get angry and have a short fuse. I’m not very self-conscious.’

But could her talk of falling short of expectations — and of “self-sabotage” — be interpreted differently in light of recent revelations?

For just a few months after setting up a movie business with her wealthy and seemingly doting husband who still wears his wedding ring, mother-of-one Leila Farzad has moved on with co-star Andrew “Andy” Buchan, whose nine- year the marriage ended at the same time.

In Better, Buchan plays a gangland boss for Farzad’s corrupt detective and the sexual excitement between them positively crackles on screen.

It’s not known when Leila’s marriage to businessman James Maizels ended, although a source who spent time with her on another production last summer, when the affair with Buchan apparently got off the ground, says that by then she’d “lost any semblance of bachelor’. .

The source says: “She never mentioned her husband and was always joking around with the cast and crew. I thought she was single – I think a lot of people did.”

He adds, “She came across as single and just the kind of person you shouldn’t be left alone with your husband.”

As for Buchan – the ‘nice guy’ from Bolton, known for his devotion to his former soap opera actress turned Downton star wife Amy Nuttall and their two children, his gray eyes and his kind smile – it’s a turn of events that has left many suprised.

End of the road: It was recently revealed that Andrew Buchan and Amy Nuttall had split after nine years of marriage (pictured in 2017)

End of the road: It was recently revealed that Andrew Buchan and Amy Nuttall had split after nine years of marriage (pictured in 2017)

Fire on screen: Sexual excitement crackles between them as they star Leila and Andrew in BBC drama Better Together

Fire on screen: Sexual excitement crackles between them as they star Leila and Andrew in BBC drama Better Together

Buchan, 44, was Andrew Parker Bowles in The Crown, Mark Latimer in Broadchurch and disloyal former health minister Matt Hancock in the drama This England (where he filled the role to a disturbing degree).

His idol is the actor Jimmy Stewart, the “nice guy” of the cinema. He has played him in a short film he wrote and the company he founded with his wife is called SlowTalkinJimmy in honor of Stewart. But just before Christmas, the marriage came to an abrupt end.

Buchan has moved out and reports this week suggest his wife became suspicious after noticing him staying in hotels close to their home.

A gift of lingerie that was not in her size was reportedly the latest devastating evidence that he had strayed. She confronted him and he left.

Amy posed solo in front of her Christmas tree and on Valentine’s Day wrote in a telling Instagram post, “I’m not impressed by money, social status or job title.

“I’m impressed by the way someone treats other people.”

It was a heavy hint that all was not well. Since news of the split broke, Amy, 40, has been spotted pink-eyed while running errands in the Buckinghamshire town of Gerrards Cross, where the couple shared a £1.2million home.

Their circle of friends includes Amy’s fellow Downton Abbey actress, Joanne Froggatt, who lives nearby.

Her parents – Elaine, an artist and former model, and Andrew, a successful lawyer – are said to be “shocked and appalled.”

Andrew Nuttall was also counsel to members of South Yorkshire Police during the Hillsborough inquiry.

Buchan’s father is also successful: he was head of customs at Manchester airport.

Sadly, his wife died when Andrew was 20, though he says, ‘She lived to see me play Hamlet in college. I still feel her presence in my life.’

It is not known where the actor is now – possibly in Yorkshire – or if he has moved in with Leila.

He has written a comedy-horror series for ITV called Passenger, and it is filmed in Wigan and Calderdale.

What, you wonder, did Leila have that drew him to his co-star so strongly that he would jettison a long-term marriage?

Likewise, it is not clear what caused the significant change in Leila’s personal circumstances.

Until recently, she shared a house in Chelsea with her husband James Maizels, a successful businessman who also runs the pub group FB Taverns.

In an interview last year, she talked about a family life where Sunday lunches were Persian feasts of butter rice at local restaurants and where her husband would make their daughter her favorite banana oat pancakes “because he’s a legend.”

Certainly, the two women now in Buchan’s life seem to be opposites in career, attitude and education.

Leila is academically brilliant with a degree in Modern Languages ​​from Oxford.

Her mother had ruled that she could only become an actress if she could go to Oxford or Cambridge.

While Amy went straight from her private art school to a job on Emmerdale where she spent 11 years.

In contrast to Amy’s early success, professional achievements have been more of a slog for Leila, who has taken pleasure in describing how simple she was as a teenager and the challenges of fitting in at school.

The only daughter of Iranian parents, who are divorced, always stood out, she says.

“I had one eyebrow and whole buck teeth, and my mom didn’t know how to take care of my hair, so it was a big frizzy mess, and everyone at my school had this slick blonde hair.

They all seemed to have very even features, and I was the ‘creature’ that felt very different and different.

Comedy was my entrance. I was the class clown, that was my position among all those very beautiful… Sophies and Arabellas, if you know what I mean.

“I felt comfortable and happy because I was the one who could make everyone laugh. My best friend even talked about it in my wedding speech: Comedy meant I felt like I belonged. That was the skill I offered.”

After graduating from college, Leila entered the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama. But years of rejection and doubt followed.

She said, “The drama school doesn’t prepare you for the level of rejection and pain and thickness of skin you need.”

Before landing her starring role in the Sky comedy series I Hate Suzie with Billie Piper, Leila prepared to retire from acting and began training as an intimacy coordinator.

All stars: Leila Farzad stars as character Lou and Andrew Buchan appears as Col in BBC drama Better

All stars: Leila Farzad stars as character Lou and Andrew Buchan appears as Col in BBC drama Better

Her struggle will be familiar to Andy Buchan, whose story parallels hers.

His father also insisted that he get a degree and Andy studied modern languages ​​at Durham University.

He moved on to Rada, where Tom Hiddleston and Andrea Riseborough were in his graduating class.

But jobs in a hotel, call center and leading tours of Coronation Street followed before he dabbled in acting.

He and Amy met in 2007, got married in 2012 and moved to the homelands soon after.

‘Before that we had a flat above a Carphone Warehouse in London. But now we’re two Boltonians in Buckinghamshire, which lowers the tone,” he joked in 2014.

He continued, “It certainly helps that Amy is an actor. Who else would be okay with the absences or doing theater on Christmas Eve?’

The couple has a seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.

Amy is a homebody who seems to enjoy being a traditional mom, telling interviewers that she is “terribly boring” and more of a “stay-in than outgoing girl.”

When she was cast in Downton as maid Ethel Parks at the age of 29, she worried that she would be “one of those women who leaves it too late – it would be terrible to miss children.”

Leila, again, seems to feel the exact opposite, once telling an interviewer, “We’re meant to feel like we haven’t achieved what we should have if we don’t have a baby.”

Intriguingly, an article last December to promote the drama Better lacked any mention of a husband.

While Leila spoke gleefully of their eight-year-old daughter, “If I didn’t get a job, I’d have this other great ball of luck. That helped me put things in context” — there was no reference to James.

Perhaps the marriage was already on its last legs at that point and she was just trying to avoid mentioning him.

In an Instagram post on Feb. 13, Leila again hinted that she was single by the time Better was filmed.

She wrote, “Reinforce the Better team that wiped my tears, held me up, fed me crumpets, and made me laugh. I don’t have pictures of everyone, but this gang got me through!’

Judging by the headlines this week, it seems that one member of the “gang” gave more support than the rest.