The actress plays DI Vera Stanhope in new ITV1 crime drama Vera. She revealed that she watched Cole on The X Factor, as well as Denise Welch on Loose Women to prepare for the role.
Speaking on Paul O'Grady Live, she said: "The X Factor happened to be on the same time we were working so I'd go back and listen to that while I was learning the next day's scenes."
Mimicking the judge, she said: "You're right up my street pet!"
She continued, "It's a notoriously hard accent to do. I listened to Denise Welsh on Loose Women as well because hers isn't that strong and mine didn't need to be that strong."
Paul O'Grady Live airs at 9pm on Fridays on ITV1.