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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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A Short Stay In Switzerland – Lyndsey Marshal

Lyndsey Marshal plays Jessica, Anne Turner's youngest daughter, in Frank McGuinness's moving drama.

"An ode to family – the strength, love and that amazing bond they share is how I would describe A Short Stay In Switzerland," says Lyndsey, after a brief moment's contemplation to give some thought to what she believes underpins McGuinness's screenplay, inspired by Dr Anne Turner and her family.

"I don't know how they (the Turners) did it, how they were able to go through that whole process. It's an unbelievably strong bond that got them through what they went through," says the 28-year-old Manchester-born actress.

"I found it absolutely overwhelming just being part of a project like this; it was a very harrowing piece to do. I don't think I've cried so much. I remember in one day I probably cried for almost 12 hours non-stop.

"In the script, my character, Jessica, was opposed to it – even though she goes through with it, there is still that trepidation at the end, and that's what I loved about the script because it makes you question and makes you look at both sides.

"I don't think you know what you'd do until you're in that situation. It's easy to say you would do this or would do that, but you don't know. I think you've got to respect the person that's going through it, just love them and try to be there for them," says the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate.

Lyndsey, whose credits include Rome, The Shadow In The North and The Young Visiter [sic], admits she had the utmost respect for Dr Turner's family, who she met during filming: "Sophie, Jessica and Edward, Anne Turner's children, came to rehearsals before we started filming. They'd worked very closely with Frank (McGuinness) on the script to make sure they were happy with it.

"For me, it was a very delicate balance because I felt that I wanted it to be as they wanted it. I wanted to tell their story truthfully with respect. It was really very nerve-wracking meeting them. They said, 'Of course it is our story but you have got to make it your story as well.' They were amazing.

"I felt I had a responsibility to Sophie, Jessica and Edward – we all did – to tell the story as clearly as possible, so it was incredibly challenging."

As well as finding A Short Stay In Switzerland a remarkable drama to work on, Lyndsey also admits that she made some good friends and also had the opportunity to work with one of her idols: "We got so close during filming – me, Liz (White), Stephen (Campbell Moore) and Julie (Walters) still keep in regular contact.

"I grew up watching Julie in films and on Victoria Wood as Mrs Overall; she is a massive heroine of mine. I was so nervous about meeting her because sometimes when you meet people you idolise it can turn out to be a bit of a disappointment, but Julie lived up to absolutely everything!

"She was just everything you wanted her to be. She is so generous; just amazing! I would go on set when I wasn't in a scene just to watch her. I learned so much from her as well – her work ethic, professionalism. She puts everything into her performance – and if I take something else away from the film it would be working with Julie, which is something I am so proud of.

"One of the other things I have taken away from the film is the importance of health and not to take it for granted. I now have more respect for it."

After working on such a fulfilling drama, Lyndsey is now looking forward to starting work on her next project: "It's a play called Three Days Of Rain with James McAvoy and Nigel Harman. I'm so excited."

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