Hayley Atwell was dubbed ''Fatwell'' at school.

'The Duchess' actress admits she carried a little extra weight when she was younger, leading the other children at school to give her the cruel nickname.

She said: ''I was Hayley 'Fatwell' at school. I was on only child, very quiet and very shy, I was surrounded in primary school by skinny girls in crop tops, when I had puppy fat. I wasn't cool.''

Hayley, 30, has since slimmed down and started turning heads with her dazzling looks, which have been likened to stars of the 30s and 40s.

Discussing the comparisons with old time movie stars, she said: ''Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's the square jaw. Stars in the old days used to be more angular. I think my face works on screen because there's a lot of angles to it.''

Hayley also counts the pinnacle of her career so far as meeting Meryl Streep, who complimented her acting abilities.

She added in an interview with The Times newspaper: ''I was presenting at the BAFTAs, and she came up to me and said my performance in 'The Duchess' was 'Wonderfully imagined,' and I just went, 'Waaaaaaaahhhhh.' ''