Gemma Arterton appeared in 'Made in Dagenham' because she didn't want her singing voice to be compared to anyone else's.

The 28-year-old actress plays the role of Rita O'Grady - a working mother from Essex - in the new West End production, and she concedes that one of the main attractions of starring in the show is that it allows her to expand her musical talent and perform new songs.

She explained: ''I've always wanted to do a musical. Always. I sang when I was younger and that went out of the window when I went to drama school.

''I've been offered a few musicals before but it just didn't feel right. I wanted to do something that nobody else had sung yet. I just don't want to be compared to somebody who has sung it better. I've not got the most amazing voice but I don't think Rita would have either.''

While Gemma admits that her working-class alter-ego contradicts the broad perception of her, she believes there are some notable similarities, too.

She told the Daily Telegraph newspaper's Review magazine: ''I guess I am a bit glam. But my background isn't glam. Obviously people see me in films and on the red carpet and they don't really see me in any other way. I lived opposite Dagenham. I'm not from Essex but I could see it from where I grew up in Gravesend.''