Thanks to AlbaQuine on twitter for allowing us to share another rare Jemma interview with ya’ll. You can read it right here:
Have a nice Sunday everyone and thanks again, AlbaQuine!
TNT’s limited-run series “The Grid” premieres with a two-hour episode on Monday, July 19, and will air on subsequent Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT, winding up with a two-hour finale on Aug. 9. The show’s focus is on the escalating rise of terrorism around the world, and efforts by American and British counter-terrorist experts to contain it and, ultimately, end it.
Among the long list of stars appearing on “The Grid” are Julianna Margulies (“ER,” “Mists of Avalon”), Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”), Tom Skerritt (“Tears of the Sun”), Bernard Hill (“Lord of the Rings”), Robert Forster (“Mulholland Drive”) and Jemma Redgrave (“Howard’s End”) as Emily Tuthill, director of operations for MI-6, Britain’s intrepid anti-terrorism force.
Jemma Redgrave says she didn’t hesitate for a moment when asked if she would like to be part of the TNT miniseries “The Grid.”
Redgrave (who is a member of the famous Redgrave acting family — her grandfather was Sir Michael Redgrave; her dad is Corin Redgrave; her aunts are Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave; and her cousins are Natasha and Joely Richardson) says, “I knew from the moment I read the script that this was something quite special. The story was, as you might imagine, chilling, given its subject matter. And also very well-written. All the characters are clearly defined: You know who everyone is, not just what everyone does. And you also see how what they do affects them as people, not just as professionals faced with, essentially, the challenge of saving civilization as we know it. And, I might add, that what you see on screen is all based on research into how both terrorists and counter-terrorists work.”
One of the elements that give “The Grid” that “special” quality that appealed to Redgrave is the way it takes note of both sides of the issue.
“We know we’re the good guys,” she says. “But the bad guys also believe that that’s what they are: that they’re doing what is right against an enemy — us — whom they believe to be wrong. And I feel that we need to know why they feel this way if we’re to be successful in dealing with them.”
(Note: The producers asked scholars of Islam to contribute to the production so that both Muslin and non-Muslim viewers would have an understanding of what the faith actually teaches and why some Muslims, as represented by the terrorists, feel that their interpretations, which defy these teachings, are valid.)
Redgrave says her character, Emily Tuthill, is a fascinating woman who has learned not only how to play the game in the world of counter-intelligence that has long been dominated by men, but to play it with exceptional skill.
“Women who step into any area once reserved for men,” Redgrave says, “have that sometimes unspoken, but always present challenge to prove themselves over and over again.”
For Emily, the challenge she has chosen for herself is to get the job done, however she has to do it, and preferably with little interference from her fellow agents.
“She’s been described as a lone wolf,” Redgrave says. “Maybe so. But as we see in the course of the series, there’s a lot more to her than might be apparent at first.”
Jemma Redgrave and her husband, Tim Owen, have two young sons. It’s been suggested that the war on terrorism might continue well into their adult years and perhaps even into the lives of her children’s children.
“I know,” she says. “And we can only hope that that won’t prove to be the case, and that somehow the forces of reason will prevail — sooner, rather than later.”
Actress Jemma Redgrave is back as pioneering Victorian medic Eleanor Bramwell in a new ten-part ITV series.
The award-winning Bramwell (Monday, 9pm) has firmly established Jemma as yet another star from the Redgrave family. Here are ten things you never knew about her.
\AS A third-generation member of the famous Redgrave theatrical dynasty, Jemma, 30, has acting in her blood. She is the daughter of Corin, niece of Vanessa and Lynn, granddaughter of the late Sir Michael, and cousin of Joely and Natasha Richardson.
BEING a Redgrave didn’t guarantee an acting career and she admits struggling at drama school. “I’m very proud of my family name,” she says. “Maybe it does open doors – people are more willing to see you because they are curious. But it doesn’t mean success.”
HER mother, Deirdre, split from her father when Jemma was in her teens. “I married into a wild bunch of the most illustrious, talented, pig-headed, idealistic and controversial people. It was a privilege I wouldn’t have missed,” says Deirdre.
JEMMA, who has a younger brother Luke, had an unorthodox childhood. “My mother was quite avant garde. She took me to see a Siouxsie And The Banshees concert when I was 13, which made me the envy of my friends -and scared me to death,” she says.
SHE is 5ft 8in, but was overweight as a youngster. Her favourite food is smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
“I ate for comfort when my parents split up, but I started losing weight around the time of my first ever date,” she says.
THERE was a storm of protest four years ago when she starred in The Buddha Of Suburbia.
During the controversial series she did her ironing in the nude, writhed naked with Anthony Sher and took part in an explicit orgy scene.
“I would do it all again if I wanted to play a part as badly as I did that one,” she says.
SHE wed barrister Tim Owen, 39,in July 1992. They live in north London and have a three year-old son Gabriel who visits her on the set of Bramwell. “He is very well behaved and know when to be quiet when filming starts,” says Jemma.
HER most frightening experience was watching the Childcatcher entice the children in to his cage in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
“My brother was three and wet himself. I had to be enticed out from behind my seat in the cinema,” she says.
JEMMA is an accomplished stage actress, starring with her aunts Vanessa and Lynn in The Three Sisters and romantic comedy Chatsky. She also starred in the Oscar-winning Howard’s End with Emma Thompson and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
TWO of her acting heroines are Ava Gardner and Ingrid Bergman.
“They were both strong and feminine at the same time,” she says.
Jemma is surprised and delighted how successful Bramwell has become. “I had no idea how well it would be received,” she says.
PEAK Practice star Gary Mavers doubles up from his regular medical role to play a copper in this one-off thriller tonight.
As Det Sgt Adam Ross, he is drawn into a web of adultery, deception and murder when he falls for the rich, beautiful and mysterious Gale Francombe (Jemma Redgrave).
But no sooner has he started an affair with this femme fatale, than he meets another woman who, in other circumstances, would probably have been his ideal partner.
Adam and Gale meanwhile plan what they believe will be the perfect murder.
As a cop who would be given the job of investigating himself, Adam thinks he will be able to cover all of the angles and leave the murder unsolved. But life is never that simple…
Jemma says: “Gale is completely cold-hearted and calculating, which was an irresistible challenge after playing someone was intensely warm as Eleanor in Bramwell.
I really liked the contrast, plus the fact that Gale was so open to interpretation.
“She’s a real chameleon. Just as you think you’re working her out, she changes again. …
Genteel English rose Jemma Redgrave is set to stun cinema audiences in a shock Jock movie…
Playing mum to the Scots baby from hell!
For Ms Redgrave has joined Irvine Welsh’s gravy train and is about to be seen in the sickest movie idea of the year – a drugs shocker, The Acid House.
The plot turns on a teenage drug fiend (Ewen Bremner) who swaps personalities with a newborn baby.
At nine months, the weird bairn swears like a trooper, supports Hibs and spells out his needs… mostly booze and to be taken on to the terracing at Easter Road!
“When I got the script I thought it the most bizarre thing I have ever read,” says Jemma.
The role highlights Jemma’s versatility.
The 32-year-old member of the Redgrave acting dynasty stars as the Fascist leader’s first wife, Cimmie Curzon, in the Mosley series which began on Channel 4 on Thursday.
And she will be back on our TV screens as the prim Victorian, Doc Bramwell.
“After two years of period drama, to go to Glasgow and wear jeans and swear a lot and work with Martin Clunes was Nirvana,” she says.
The Acid House, which hits cinemas this spring, stars Martin Clunes, of Men Behaving Badly, as the shell-shocked dad.
It’s a tale of a jobless druggie tripping on LSD one night through Edinburgh’s West Pilton Park during a thunderstorm.
As he passes an ambulance in which a woman is giving birth, a bolt of lightning triggers the personality swap.
The mother suspects something is wrong when she smells booze on her child’s breath.
“It was quick tricky,” says Jemma. “I was followed around by four puppeteers working bits of the baby.”
We’re concluding our “quotes by Jemma” series with another interview from 1996 where Jemma talked about the complexity of her character Eleanor Bramwell. You can read the interview below:
You’ve heard of the Redgrave sisters: Vanessa and Lynn. Then, there’s their father, Sir Michael, and Vanessa’s acting daughters, Natasha and Joely Richardson. Now meet Jemma Redgrave – England’s answer to Dr. Quinn.
Redgrave stars in “Bramwell,” a four-part “Masterpiece Theatre” series that concludes at 9 p.m. Sunday on PBS (Channel 28). The British actress plays a Victorian-era doctor who perseveres through the prejudices of the time, much like our own homespun frontier doc, CBS’ Michaela Quinn.
“She’s very complex, and contradictory. She’s so courageous, bold and unconventional for her time,” says Redgrave of her character, Dr. Eleanor Bramwell. “And, she’s vulnerable. She’s naive about men and relationships.”
“Bramwell” runs as a regular TV series in England; here, new episodes of the series will run as another four-part series, slated for the fall.
The daughter of actor Corin Redgrave (Vanessa’s brother) and his wife, Deidre, Redgrave says she knew from an early age she wanted to act.
“I don’t know – it’s in the genetic code, I guess,” she says.
There were trepidations.
“The only reservations I had about acting is that I didn’t know whether I had an aptitude for it,” she says. Until, that is, she received “incredible notices” for her stage debut, in a play called “Easter,” and her mind was set at ease.
“Then I felt absolutely sure that I wasn’t going to embarrass my family,” she says.
Now, how would she feel if her son Gabriel, now 2, decided to follow in the footsteps of the theatrical Redgrave family, rather than in those of her husband, Tim, a lawyer?
“I think I’d just try and encourage him – and give him a few phone numbers,” she says, laughing.
JEMMA Redgrave is getting a bit irate. The subject of her recent film,I’ll Be There,in which she starred alongside Charlotte Church making her acting debut,has been brought up and she’s being fiercely protective of it.
Despite its universally bad reviews, she is adamant it’s not a glitch in her career.
“I had such a good time making that film,” she says.“I remember not wanting to work for a while after that because I had such a good experience. And I didn’t work for a while, you have to be careful what you wish for don’t you?” shelaughs.
Jemma has a great laugh. It begins with a snort before evolving into a full-blown, raucous guffaw.It’s very infectious,as is her enthusiasm for I’ll Be There.
“It was very easy to hang any kind of prejudice or dislike for Charlotte on the film,” she continues.“I may well be wrong but I think it’s a delightful movie.
“I’m not stupid. I don’t think everything I’ve ever done is fantastic.I’ve done a lot of stuff where I’ve thought maybe I’m not so good,but I did think that was good.”
Jemma, 39, is equally effusive about her famous co-star.“She was entirely instinctive and very natural and brought a lot of her warmth and humour to the part,” she says.“I think,for a 16-year- old in her first part, that’s great. I couldn’t have done it at 16,I was hugely impressed by her.”
Thankfully for Jemma,one of the famous Redgrave/Richardson acting dynasty, she has more hits than misses in her career -her most notable success was the costume drama series Bramwell -and doesn’t often have to stick up for her work like this.
Her next project looks set to be another hit for the actress, the two-part psychological thriller Amnesia,on ITV1 this week,in which she stars alongside John Hannah.
She plays the wife of an amnesiac whose life is turned upside down when Hannah’s troubled detective starts investigating her husband’s past.
Despite the intense plot, Jemma found the shoot an extremely enjoyable one. Her character and her husband run a boatyard and so the actress spent the heat wave during the summer of last year filming in a harbour on the Isle Of Wight.
“I took my three-year-old son Alfie and we had a very good time,” she says.“It doesn’t get much better than filming on a harbour and as long as Alfie had a crab net and a bucket,he had plenty to do. The weather was glorious and each day I’d go and do a bit of work and then come out and count the crabs with him.”
Jemma has two children,Alfie and nine-year-oldGabriel, with her husband of 12 years,barrister Tim Owen. She refrained from offering any advice to her co-star John, who recently became a parent himself,however.
“It was very early doors when we were working together so you never do when it’s only early,” she says.“Plus I think it’s really awful to give advice about pregnancy or parenting in any way at all. If anybody was to ask me for advice I could go on until the end of time,but I certainly wouldn’t offer it without being asked.”
Jemma often keeps her children with her when she’s working. Both her sons went with her to South Africa when she filmed her previous drama for ITV,The Swap.
“Being a mother doesn’t get harder or easier,it just changes all the time,” she says.“It’s always challenging. I thought it would get easier as they get older. I thought it would be really difficult to go to work when they were babies because the bond was so strong,and that as they got older they would be more independent.
“But I’ve found that I’m completely wrong and the reverse is true. They want you home more and more as they get older. The negotiation is endless.”
Her children are part of the next generation of a family that has produced acting talents like Jemma’s grandfather Sir Michael, her aunt Vanessa,her father Corin and her cousins Natasha and Joely Richardson. Her son Gabriel is already showing signs of keeping up the family tradition of a show biz career.
“He wants to write comedy,” says Jemma.“Well, that’s what he wants to do at the moment. He loves comedy. He watches all sorts of comedy and I think he must think he’s quite funny. And he is funny.”
Jemma showed similar determination when she was growing up,deciding she wanted to follow the family tradition and become an actress when she was barely a teenager. “I was unimaginative,” shelaughs. “Didn’t I want to rebel against family tradition?No.Isn’t that boring?I’m clearly unrebellious.”
She trained by going to a youth theatre and then attending drama school and quickly started to get parts when she graduated. There seems to have been no downside to having a famous surname?
“No,” sheagrees.“It opened doors,absolutely. It doesn’t get you any jobs,producers will say they’ll never offer you a job because of your surname, you’d only get it if you’re a good actor. But it opens doors to get to those jobs and is entirely helpful. God knows you can do with every single bit of help you can get in this profession.”
Coming from a family of award- winning actors might have created a certain level of expectation from people hiring Jemma but she says she never let that bother her.
“I don’t give a toss about expectation. As long as I’m getting jobs I don’t care. You can stuff your expectations.”
That’s all she’s worried about in the future as well,just getting jobs. She has no big ambitions to make it big in Hollywood or become a household name on British television.
“What I’d like is longevity in my career and to do interesting work,” she says.“I think that is quite an ambition to have for an actress because it’s really tough. I would like to be working, that’s what I’d like.
“I don’t mind the odd bomb like I’ll Be There,” sheadds,once more guffawing.“It’s true,I’ll Be There was a bomb. But it wasn’t a stink bomb, that’s the important distinction. But it doesn’t really matter.It’s all work,it all pays the bills.”
Not because he has to get under the skin of a sinister baddie who plays warped mind games, in ITV1’s two-part psychological thriller The Swap, but because it teams him with his former girlfriend, Jemma Redgrave.
The two played lovers in Mosley in 1998 and romance spilled over into real life. After filming ended, Jemma split from her husband, Jonathan broke off his engagement to actress Olivia Williams, and they later became an item. Although the relationship didn’t last – Jemma was reunited with her barrister husband Tim Owen after 18 months apart – there was an undeniable chemistry between the pair, who are still on good terms.
“There was a spark between us,” says Jonathan, 34. “But that spark was a professional one. It was great to be working with a woman I like and admire. Whatever happened between us in our private lives was done and sorted long ago.
“Working so closely with Jemma again made me realise how good she is as an actress. It was very rewarding and challenging because it made me feel as if I should raise my game.”
Neither were prepared for the glare of public interest in their private lives almost four years ago, and Jonathan is bracing himself for another onslaught now that they are co-starring in The Swap.
You can read the rest of the interview here.
JEMMA REDGRAVE swaps the tender loving care of Dr Eleanor Bramwell for some red- hot bedroom action in Blue Murder, ITV’s steamy new one-off thriller – plus a spot of trigger- happy gun action for good measure.
In contrast to her familiar image as Victorian lady doctor, Bramwell, Jemma stars in the two- hour drama as a calculating murderess who shares raunchy love scenes with Gary Mavers, himself a million miles from the cosy world of Peak Practice.
“I never had any qualms about the sex scenes,” says 33-year-old Jemma, “I trusted our director, Paul Unwin completely because I’d worked with him before on Bramwell. There’s not actually any nudity, although the scenes are very erotic.
“We agreed there was no need for a lot of graphic sex. The scenes prove you can create something sexy without seeing lots of flesh.”
Jemma admits, however, she won’t be likely to be watching those scenes with her husband, barrister Tim Owen. “He knows the story and what it all involves,” she explains.
“I think he’ll agree it’s a stylish piece of work. I’ve watched the sex scenes, and I think they’re cleverly done – although I was probably under my jumper as I watched them, the way you watch Doctor Who as a kid!”
Inspired by the Hollywood thriller Body Heat and those atmospheric film noirs of the ’30s and ’40s, Blue Murder stars Gary Mavers as Detective Sergeant Adam Ross, who is drawn into a web of adultery, deception and murder when he falls for the rich, beautiful and mysterious Gale Francombe, played by Jemma.
Gale lives with millionaire husband Ben (Tim Woodward), and enjoys all the trappings of the rich and appears to be well beyond Adam’s wildest dreams. The chemistry between them is immediate and they begin a passionate and dangerous affair.
“It was great fun to play someone so wicked,” says Jemma, daughter of Corin Redgrave and niece of Vanessa.
The role couldn’t be more different from that of Bramwell’s Victorian lady doctor. “Gale’s pulse rate never raises much, so it’s less exhausting to play than someone like Bramwell who’s more emotionally engaged in life.”
Jemma admits she thoroughly enjoyed pumping several bullets into Woodward, her screen husband. “I’ve not worked with a gun before, but I was told I was a total natural!” she laughs. “I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near a real gun as I find them pretty revolting and scary things, but play- acting is different.
“It’s all make-believe and it was a real release. We had a gun trainer on set and I went out into the garden and we scared all the birds. When I pulled the trigger on Tim, I let my mind go blank. Rather like the bullets!”
Jemma was surprised to be offered the role of Gale. “It’s not the kind of thing I’m generally offered,” she says. “If you play someone for a long time, you do become identified with that character – like Bramwell. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to see someone in something different.” With Bramwell so gory and Blue Murder so raunchy, it’s no wonder Jemma’s five- year-old son Gabriel has seen so little of his mum’s work on screen. “He will hopefully be able to watch my next one, Cry Wolf, which is a sitcom pilot for the BBC,” says Jemma. “I play a stroppy doctor.
“Yes, another medic, though, it’s a far cry from Bramwell.”
So far, Gabriel has tended to accompany his mother on many of her TV shoots, and he has a reasonable idea about the work of an actress.
“I experienced the same world as a child,” says Jemma. “You know your parent is acting, but it’s difficult to distinguish real life from drama. I remember seeing my Dad in something where he got killed. It was upsetting.”
Jemma is filming another BBC drama series, Fish, in which she and Paul McGann play lawyers. “It wasn’t hard doing the research,” she smiles, quickly adding, “Yes, I’ve had a lot of advice from Tim.
“Paul McGann is the star of the series, as a barrister working on industrial tribunal cases, and I’m his regular opposition – for the forces of darkness, generally speaking, though she’s not unsympathetic. She’s just more pragmatic. And there’s just a hint of UST – Unresolved Sexual Tension!”
There are no plans for a revival of Bramwell, despite its huge popularity. “I think everyone felt we took it as far as we could,” says Jemma.
So will Bramwell fans be shocked by Blue Murder? “I hope not,” she says. “It’s funny, the whole thing about image, and how viewers of a popular series expect to see you.
“A friend of mine in Bristol went to see the Irvine Welsh film I did, The Acid House, which was very in- your-face and controversial, and she said about eight pensioners came into the cinema. They all looked like they were Bramwell fans, and they were shocked.
“My advice to them is `Buy the Bramwell videos, stick with that!’ But seriously, I do think it’s important for an actor to explore new avenues. The last thing I want is to get typecast.” Trust us, after Blue Murder, there’ll never be any danger of that.
We continue our press update with this interview from 2000. Enjoy reading!
To say that the last few years have been tough for Jemma Redgrave is something of an understatement. The Bramwell star has been through more traumas than anyone deserves. But now she has a reason to smile again, as her dream of having another baby is about to come true.
“I’m delighted to be having another child,” says Jemma, 34, who already has a five-year-old son, Gabriel. “There is nothing more rewarding than having a baby. It provides the meaning to everything. I love being a mother. It’s the greatest love affair.
“And I am, of course, looking forward to those sleepless nights in late April,” she adds with a smile.
“I never wanted Gabriel to be an only child. I’m very close to my brother Luke, and I don’t know how I’d have organised everything without him when mum died. It’s nice that someone else knows exactly what you are going through in that situation.
“I wouldn’t want Gabriel to have to decide whether to put me in an old people’s home on his own. When Tim and I are old and decrepit, I think it’s important Gabe has someone to sound off to.
“Raising my children is definitely the most worthwhile job I’ll ever do. If you don’t do that right, everything else you achieve is meaningless.”
For Jemma, who is back on our screens this week in the ITV thriller Blue Murder, the delight of becoming a mum again has a special poignancy. Having a second child will go a long way to helping heal the heartache and grief of the past few years.
Her mum Deirdre, a 1960s model, lost a long battle against cancer in 1997. And just a few months before her death, Jemma and her husband of seven years, barrister Tim Owen, decided to part. Happily, after an 18-month trial separation, she and Tim, 37, patched up their marriage. They have been back together for more than a year and are delighted that they are going to be parents again.
Jemma, who became a household name in the period drama Bramwell, blames hectic work schedules for putting their relationship under pressure in the first place. While she was busy establishing herself as one of Britain’s most versatile stage and screen actresses, Tim was working long hours in court and their marriage suffered as a result. But when they decided to part they were still very involved in each other’s lives. Tim even moved into a flat just around the corner from their North London home, so that he could see Gabriel every day.
“There were a lot of pressures put on us because of the hours I worked and the hours Tim worked, and it got out of hand,” says Jemma.
“We didn’t cope with it at all well. In some ways, you cope better before you have children. Suddenly another pressure is brought to bear. It was hard on both of us but we managed to work through it and I’m so glad we did. It’s really been worth it. It’s been worth all the difficulty.
“Tim is a wonderful dad. It has made us stronger and I feel very lucky.”
The experience made her re-evaluate her life. “You have to look at what is important and what isn’t,” she says. “If the important things are right, then everything else seems trivial by comparison. The important things in my life are my child and that the people I love are healthy and happy. Nothing comes close to that.”
The loss of her mother also prompted Jemma to reassess her circumstances. Deirdre, who was divorced from Jemma’s dad Corin in the 1970s, was diagnosed with cancer in 1992. Her family believed she had beaten the disease after a long battle. Ironically, it wasn’t cancer that killed her. Following a dinner date, she died suddenly of pneumonia aged 58.
“Mum was coming up to the five-year clear period when she got the secondary tumours,” explains Jemma. “It was terrible. It takes a year after losing a parent to even begin to be normal again. You don’t bounce back, it changes your life completely.
“You recover and go on, but life is different afterwards. It’s huge and awful and I still miss her terribly. We were very close, particularly because she had cancer for five years. Over that time we became incredibly close. You are so aware that a clock is ticking. Mum was very strong throughout her illness which helped us all.
“The one big thing I’ve learned from her death is to grab life with both hands and not to let a moment pass. That was the way she lived her life and it was a big thing for me to learn because I’m quite a shy, retiring person.”
Jemma is anything but shy and retiring in the Carlton thriller Blue Murder. She plays Gale Francombe, a millionaire’s wife whose passionate affair with a detective (Peak Practice’s Gary Mavers) leads to murder.
After years of playing goody-two-shoes it will be a shock to see her as a femme fatale, manipulating her lover into killing her husband. Gale has no redeeming qualities, she is bad through and through, and that was what drew Jemma to the part.
“I liked making Blue Murder a lot,” she says. “It’s not the sort of thing I usually get offered, so maybe it will break down people’s expectations of me. Gale is completely cold-hearted and calculating, which was an irresistible challenge after playing someone as intensely warm as Eleanor Bramwell.
“I liked the contrast. I also liked the fact that the character was so open to interpretation. Just as you think you are working her out she changes again. She plays every situation for what she can get.”
The part called for a dramatic change of look as well as personality. “They wanted a bold look and, I must admit, I gulped a few times when they talked about dying my hair platinum or black,” she says.
“In the end, we compromised with a deep red and a lot of make-up. I really liked it. I don’t usually get to wear a lot of make-up playing these ‘good women’ roles. I also got to wear all the designer kit, which was good fun.” Jemma has also completed a legal drama called Fish which co-stars Paul McGann.
And later this year she makes her comedy debut in Cry Wolf with Peter Egan. In that she plays GP Jocelyn Wolf, who finds herself pregnant with her business partner’s baby. “It’s been great to be offered such different roles,” she says.
“I was delighted to explore something new. “I laughed my head off filming Cry Wolf and it has been wonderful – laughter is the best therapy. It was very different performing in front of a studio audience.
The best thing is they don’t mind if you cock up and accidentally swear, they think it’s great.”Given the diverse roles she has been working on it’s hard to believe she once thought she could never cut it as an actress.
You’d think that belonging to the great Redgrave acting dynasty – her dad Corin is the brother of Lynn and Vanessa, whose actress daughters Natasha and Joely Richardson are Jemma’s cousins – would be added pressure, but she insists not.
In fact she reckons her laid-back, bohemian upbringing gave her the self-confidence to succeed. “I’ve never felt fearful or worried about the way I’d be perceived by other people,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of self-doubt about whether I could do the job or not but I haven’t felt intimidated by the name.
“Maybe that is blinkered of me but I think it’s more to do with the good job my family did in bringing me up. My parents made me feel I could achieve whatever I wanted to. Perhaps that is why Inever gave a second thought to whether people were thinking, ‘Oh, here comes another Redgrave’. They just focused on me and my brother Luke.
“All I felt very early on at drama school was that I might not be good enough, that maybe there wasn’t room for me as well. But there is, which is nice.” Any lingering doubts Jemma had were dispelled by her huge TV success.
Playing pioneering Victorian doctor Eleanor Bramwell in the hit drama made her famous in the mid-1990s. The roles that followed in The Buddha Of Suburbia, Mosely, Howard’s End and The Acid House, only shored up her reputation as one of our most versatile actresses. And she has done it all by managing to combine a career with motherhood.
She got her big TV break in Bramwell within months of giving birth to Gabriel, but admits the timing made life difficult.
“I was optioned for three series when Gabriel was just three months old. Going back to work when he was so young turned me into a basketcase,” she says. “I was working 90-hour weeks, getting hardly any sleep and I was exhausted. Looking back, I don’t know how I coped. I wantedto prove to everyone that I was going back to work and I put so much pressure on myself that it was ridiculous.
I wouldn’t do it again.” With so many projects already wrapped up, Jemma intends to take a break from her hectic schedule to be with her new baby, rather than rushing straight back to work. Second time around, she made sure her timing was right.
Blue Murder, Wednesday, ITV, 9pm.