Claire Foy has admitted that dressing up in period costume for new drama Wolf Hall isn’t as glamorous as it might seem.

The Upstairs Downstairs actress plays Anne Boleyn, eventual wife of Henry VIII (Damian Lewis), in the new BBC Two drama.

“In the first few weeks, the dresses were magical and amazing,” the 30-year-old said.

“But then it gets to July and you’re in a stately home, not able to drink water, sit down, not really able to breathe, and you’re regretting asking for the corset to be so tight in the fitting,” she said of filming the Tudor epic.

Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall (BBC)Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall (BBC)

Claire found her character, in the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, more sympathetic than the “cliched Anne Boleyn version” she learnt about in school.

“She is this amazingly strong woman living in this man’s world, and she has [traditionally] got to be seen as hormonal and a bit mad,” she said.

“I felt a lot of compassion for this woman. She was an incredible character with such spirit and an amazing person to be around, but she was too much of a powerful opponent for Cromwell, so she had to go.”

Wolf Hall begins on BBC Two on Wednesday, January 21.