British actress Sacha Parkinson refused to change clothes or even wash herself properly for more than eight weeks to get into character as a 19th-Century orphan in new drama The Mill.

Parkinson underwent the filthy transformation to get under the skin of her character Miriam Catterall and give a true portrayal of what life was like for cotton mill-workers who worked 12-hour days and slept on the floors of the factory.

She tells Britain's The Sun on Sunday, "They never washed our costumes for the whole set - they were horrible by the end but we needed to feel grimy and dirty. I didn't really wash either as it helped me get into the role.

"They slathered us in fake dirt everyday, it just embedded into my skin. It was particularly disgusting when you were eating."

The Mill, which is based on the real-life accounts of life at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, England, aired in the U.K. on Sunday (28Jul13).