Friday 14 Mar 2014
Could you tell us a little bit about your character?
Mandy's been married to Mike for quite a long time. They've been together since they were very young and they have two children who are 12 and eight. They're at the point where their marriage is at rock bottom and I don't think they're really going to recover from it.
Mike has had a few affairs that she knows about and he's, in the heat of the moment, throwing that in her face a bit. So she's not in a great place emotionally anyway but they've stayed together because of the kids.
When Tom comes along, I think she does it just as a fling and I think he's sees it as the same. Then as the story progresses, both of them are quite surprised that they actually start developing feelings for each other.
What attracted you to the role?
Did you know Danny and his work?
Yes I did. The script in itself was just extraordinary. I just felt I'd been through every emotion just even reading it, never mind watching it. By the end I was in tears – I thought it was such a moving piece and also quite a damaging and scary piece.
I knew John [Simm] was on board and I had loved John's work for years. I had always hoped at some point our paths might cross and we might get to work together. So when I knew he was doing it – I could hear his voice in it and thought; he's just going to be amazing.
I hadn't worked with John Alexander before – he's just absolutely lovely, such a brilliant director and a director I would absolutely love to work with again.
How did you find playing the role?
Mandy was a character that was very different to anything I'd done before. I'd never really played someone married or a love interest. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because it's quite a simplistic part. I found it almost harder to play it because there were no huge things to react off – it was quite understated.
Had you worked with any of the cast before?
No none of them – so it was great to work with them all. I didn't know Jim was on board until I'd already got the job and I had a call from the make-up designer! So suddenly this job just became even bigger and equally with Shaun. I've seen Shaun in so many programmes. Weirdly we've just done the same episode of Hustle even though we weren't in the same scenes. So the whole experience was just lovely really.
With the element of the Alzheimer's in the story line, do you have any experience of it?
No, thankfully not, because I think it's just the cruellest disease ever. I have seen documentaries on it. I remember saying it at the read-through; I can't really remember ever seeing that many television dramas that have portrayed it. You see it a lot in documentaries or in film but I can't think of any telly where I've seen it and I thought it was just written so well.
I think the place where Danny's picture is, is really spot on because you get these moments where Sam [Jim Broadbent] is absolutely normal and then these moments where there's just absolutely nothing there – I think that's almost worse than just them having nothing there at all. It's when you never really know if they're there or if you're getting through or not.
So is this the first big role since you had your baby?
Yes, definitely and it is amazing. I kept saying I can't believe my first job back in and this is what I get. So touch wood, long may it continue – I couldn't have asked for a nicer part to get me back into work.
Did you miss it? Were you dying to get back into work?
I did miss it. I thought it was going to be quite interesting going back into work because I wondered if I would still feel the same about it.
Actually as soon as I got back on set and was learning lines I thought, you know I really miss just even being on set, talking about scenes and how we're going to do it. It was just so exciting to be back working. But also when you know you're on something that's so good – that just takes it to a whole new level.
You're from the south originally, what was it like filming up north?
I loved it. I've filmed quite a few times up in Manchester and every time I go up there I just love it – I just love the people. Shopping-wise they've got everything you need and actually it was a really lovely time to be up there because they have all the Christmas markets – it just felt really magical.