AVID fans of BBC television’s gripping series Baptiste may be unaware that one of the central characters in this story of violence and human trafficking grew up in rural bliss on a farm in north-west Herefordshire.

Jessica Raine, who plays the cool Genevieve Taylor, a British liaison officer working for Europol in The Hague, first made her mark with her leading role in Call the Midwife in 2012.

Her father, retired Eardisley farmer Alan Lloyd played exuberant roles in the village’s annual Christmas panto, while her mum Sue taught Jessica and her sister to play the Sailor’s Hornpipe.

A production of The Snow Queen gave the embryonic star a chance to tread the boards.

“I was (inexplicably) dressed up as a robot, a fantastic costume with me, aged six, in a cardboard box wrapped in tin foil - only to be stumped by a bad dose of stage fright and refusing to go on!”

This weekend Borderlines Film Festival is showing the acclaimed film, Benjamin, in which 36-year-old Jessica appears as a “fairly manic” PR.

Speaking to the Hereford Times, Jessica explains how the film instantly appealed: “I was keen to do some comedy so it was perfect timing,” she says.

“The character is more than a little self-obsessed, not bothered about the work she is supposedly promoting...lots of fun to play.”

Jessica reveals that her school careers adviser steered her away from acting towards a secretarial job: “I’d have had no problem with her advice if I’d shown any interest in being a secretary!” she says.

“But I think it’s important to allow young people from very ordinary backgrounds to be encouraged to think big, you never know where it will lead and what life has to offer unless you try.”

As a teenager Jessica earned pocket money at the Royal George inn at Lyonshall, unaware that her career would blossom alongside that of a fellow member of staff, though she admits she had no idea that singer Ellie Goulding had also worked at the George.

“I had no idea Ellie worked there too! That is very funny!”

Jessica began as a pot-washer, upgrading to her favourite job, puddings and waitressing.

“I loved the head chef, Lisa, who really brought me out of my shell by relentlessly teasing me.”

Jessica, whose baby son arrived last month, was pregnant while filming Baptiste.

“I filmed throughout my second trimester and finished the shoot just as the bump was becoming a character of its own!”

With her husband, fellow actor Tim Goodman-Hill, she expects to be staying in London for the foreseeable future.

“I still love it and hope to carry on acting, business as usual.”

She added: “I love coming home to visit Herefordshire, it’s important to get a bit of down time and it’s the perfect chance to unwind with my family and old friends from college.”

She also loves lengthy walks around Hergest Croft Woods. “They’re just magical.”