Lorraine Ashbourne plays Cath
Lorraine Ashbourne accepted her new role in The Street like a shot. The actress, who has headlined in memorable dramas such as Playing The Field, True Dare Kiss, Jane Eyre, City Central, and In A Land Of Plenty, says that she was immediately drawn to Cath, her character in The Street.
A decent woman struggling to bring up three children while her husband is in prison, Cath becomes embroiled in a momentous drama when her eldest son, Ian, takes the blame for a murder. What she doesn't know is that the crime was actually committed by a near relative and all sorts of moral dilemmas are thrown up in this gripping episode.
Lorraine, who is married to fellow actor Andy Serkis, gives a full description of her character: "Cath is a really balanced woman. She's honest, loyal, and a good wife and mother. Against difficult odds, her husband is in the nick because his attempts to make a better life for his family backfired, she has succeeded in building a loving home."
The actress goes on to laud the complexity of the episode: "What's great about this drama is that it highlights Cath's internal conflict. She is torn between loyalty to her son and to her sister. She adores her son and knows he's innocent of this terrible crime, but she's equally terrified of losing her sister's love. She is in this dreadful quandary because she's always trying to do the right thing."
She continues: "It makes for fantastically absorbing drama. At the root of the episode is the fact that both sisters are fighting for their sons'
lives. They're absolutely believable characters."
The actress is full of praise for the writing on The Street: "As an actor, you're nothing without a good script. This is very easy to play because it's all there for you on the page. I've got four children and I rarely watch any TV. And as an actress, I'm really picky. If I watch anything, I always end up shouting at the telly, 'God that was rubbish!'
"But I tuned into The Street last year and loved it. Jimmy McGovern is one of the most important writers in Britain today. What he writes looks simple on the page, but when you perform it, it really comes to life. He really knows how to write people we all care about and understand."
Lorraine closes by underlining how much she enjoyed playing opposite Gina McKee, who takes the role of Jan, Cath's sister.
"She's a wonderful actress," she beams. "It was a really good piece of casting because she's so different from me. Gina has a totally different screen presence, but I think that contrast between us works really well. I hope the viewers will be as gripped by the conflict between the sisters as we were!"