No acting required
Playing a career-minded mum came naturally to Haydn Gwynne, she tells Jon Peake
She's a working mum herself. So actress Haydn Gwynne knows exactly how hard life can be for her Mersey Beat character. Supt Susan Blake, as she struggles to cope with a family and a career.
"Everyone expects her to be Super-woman but she's not. She's juggling her children with a very demanding job,' says 40-year-old Haydn. In this week's episode of the police drama, Susan gets in trouble with her family when she is called out to an emergency during her daughter's birthday party. "She thinks she'll be back before it's over, but she's not and it becomes an issue," says Haydn, whose on-screen husband, Dr Al Blake, is played by Paul Bown.
It's a similar story for the actress. While filming Mersey Beat she rented a house near the set so she could look after her children, Orlando, four, and Harry, one. But it was no picnic.
"My children are around the same ages as my screen kids and, like Susan, l had to sort out childcare for them while I was working," explains Haydn, who is based in London. "Thankfully, my partner Jason, who's training to be a psychoanalyst, came up from London to help out. After work the other actors relaxed in the bar, but I was straight home to the children. And I had to find time to learn my lines. It was exhausting."
At least Haydn's not a real policewoman. I've never even considered it," she says. "But meeting people who do the job for real made me realise that it's a very good career. And it was useful research as I realised basing my character on John Thaw in The Sweeney wasn't right!" Before Mersey Beat, Haydn played Dr Joanna Graham in Peak Practice alongside Gary Mavers as Andrew Attwood and Joseph Millson as Sam Morgan. Accepting the mainstream role surprised some people, she admits.
"Peak Practice may not have been what people expected me to do, but having children changes your choices," says Haydn. "It was regular work in one place and I enjoyed it. It's a popular show and because I did that, I got this role in Mersey Beat. That's the route you have to follow in TV.
As a cop in Mersey Beat, a doctor In Peak Practice and a journalist in Drop The Dead Donkey, it would seem Haydn has cornered the market in professional" roles. Do I long to play a junkie prostitute? It'd be different," she laughs. "Perhaps you'll find me in Bad Girls one day. Never say never!"