The Daily Telegraph
Wednesday 10 October 2007
Actress Jemma Redgrave speaks for the first time about her father Corin’s heart attack and tells Maureen Paton about how acting together at last is a dream come true
BYLINE: Maureen Paton
LENGTH: 1249 words
In poignant circumstances that she could scarcely have foreseen, Jemma Redgrave has finally achieved her lifetime’s ambition to act alongside her father Corin. The Redgraves share three scenes in a new television drama based on eyewitness accounts of the British-led liberation of the Nazi death-camp Bergen-Belsen in April 1945. Jemma plays the female lead as the Red Cross nurse Jean McFarlane. Corin is cast in the key role of Brigadier Glyn Hughes, who led the medical team that fought to save the 40,000 inmates of the camp. But what makes this performance remarkable is that the scenes were shot just over a year after Corin, now 68, had a heart attack that nearly killed him.
Jemma, 42, found her eyes filling with unscripted tears on set for the first time in her career. “Luckily the cameras weren’t on me,” recalls the actress, who once said that her beloved father had always seemed “indestructible”.
In the 1970s and 1980s acting took a back seat while Corin Redgrave slogged his guts out as a fund-raiser for the Marxist party. He returned to acting in 1993 in In the Name of the Father, then, in 2000, took prostate cancer in his stride and went on to deliver an acclaimed King Lear for the RSC in 2004, followed by a one-man tour de force playing the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. Then, despite taking on the role of Pericles at night, he returned to campaigning, championing the cause of gypsies, by day.
“Did I ever say to Dad: ‘Slow down’? There was no point, because he would always reply: ‘Yes, yes, I will, I will, I will’ – just like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted,” says Jemma as we talk in a private members’ club in Soho. “And of course he never would. Kika [Markham, Corin’s second wife] says exactly the same thing. Politics is part of him; he will always want to be active in humanitarian causes, the things that really occupy…” – she pauses to correct her tenses – “…had occupied his time.”
In June 2005, Corin’s heart stopped during a speech he was making to councillors in Basildon, in which he pledged to form a human shield to stop 600 travellers from being evicted from a local campsite. He suddenly faltered and sank to the floor, losing consciousness. After his heart was started again with defibrillators, he was rushed to Basildon Hospital. “I don’t know if it was true, as reported, that two policemen brought him back to life at the meeting. I was in such a bad state myself when I heard the news that I didn’t ask,” admits Jemma.
She had been filming in Ireland and the first she knew of her father’s collapse was when a friend rang to tell her that it had been shown on the news. “Somebody had a camera at the meeting, so my father’s collapse was televised,” says Jemma, her tone of voice deploring such an invasion of privacy. “He was on life support for three days and then in various other hospitals after that.”
The Redgraves – the acting dynasty includes Corin’s sisters Vanessa and Lynn, and Vanessa’s daughters Natasha and Joely Richardson – closed ranks around Corin, and none has spoken publicly about his condition until now.
“His recovery is astonishing,” Jemma says. “All the family were there in the intensive care unit, like Orpheus waiting for Eurydice to come back from the underworld. We were all praying for him to step back into the world, and he did. It was a wonderful moment when he opened his eyes. Did he recognise us immediately? He sure did,” she says, grinning at the memory.
Yet when I ask about any lasting effects of his cardiac arrest, she hesitates and then confides: “He’s still, you know, there’s a frailty there; and there have been consequences. The recuperation took a long time, probably about a year, and he’s still in the process of recovery. But he’s doing brilliantly, and his genius as an actor is undiminished.”
She declines to go into details of those “consequences”, a defensive glint in her eyes.
“In the four, five months after the heart attack, when Dad was in various hospitals, I really felt that I wanted to be there a lot,” says Jemma, who lives in London’s Tufnell Park with her husband, the human rights QC Tim Owen. “In fact, we all needed to be around him. He had never had any heart problem before, or not that we knew about, but he did have arrhythmia [an irregular heartbeat], which is a slight problem but not a heart disease in itself. Lots of people have arrhythmia – Tony Blair has it.”
As for speculation about possible memory loss following any brain damage from cardiac arrest, she says simply: “I think my father’s work in the Belsen drama speaks for itself. He was word-perfect, absolutely spot on, and he didn’t need any looking after during the filming; he’s from that stoical war-child generation.”
Seemingly unburdened by either dynastic or political baggage, Jemma has pursued a successful, rather sexy career in television drama while raising a family – she’s the mother of Gabriel, 13, and seven-year-old Alfie. Yet despite her approachable manner – there’s nothing remotely grand about this girlish-looking, 42-year-old yummy mummy who, when asked how long she has been a blonde, gives one of her shouts of laughter and says frankly, “not long enough” – she can be as clannish as the next Redgrave when it comes to protecting her own.
For the second time in her life, the traditional parent-child roles have been reversed. Jemma is now looking out for her father, just as she and her younger brother, Luke, nursed their late mother Deirdre, who died of breast cancer in 1997.
The Relief of Belsen shows Redgrave on screen for the first time since his cardiac arrest. The drama was filmed in Dorset and the scenes shared with Jemma were filmed over an intensive three days.
During the shoot he was accompanied by Arden, his 24-year-old son from his marriage to Kika, who is also an actress. “Kika was working at the time, so Arden came to the filming,” explains Jemma, telling me that her adored half-brother even landed work as an extra in the crowd scenes.
In fact, says Jemma, Corin was offered a role in The Relief of Belsen before she was. “And then the director asked me if I’d be part of it, too. Well, you wouldn’t say no, would you? It’s such a privilege to work with Dad.”
He’s a wonderful grandfather, too, she adds – something that might surprise those who associate his ascetic political image with solemnity. “Solemn is one word I would never use to describe my father,” she insists. “He isn’t solemn: he’s wicked, provocative, funny, brilliant, intellectual, committed, passionate – but not solemn.”
There’s clearly some campaigning life left in Corin yet, because he is making his stage comeback for one evening only. He is reprising his role in Tynan on October 22 at the off-Broadway Public Theater as a fund-raiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and the Actors’ Fund. A post-performance reception will be hosted by his sisters Vanessa and Lynn. Jemma, needless to say, will be flying over to join them.
As stoical as her father, she plays down the question of whether he will ever be able to return to the stage full-time. “I don’t know if he will go back to the theatre; we’ll see. But I hope so, I really hope so. Who knows what the future holds, but it would be lovely to work with Dad again. Any time, frankly. And to have worked with him for the first time on a drama like this is a wish fulfilled.
“It would,” she adds superstitiously, “be greedy to wish for more.”
* ‘The Relief of Belsen’ will be screened by Channel 4 on Monday October 15 at 9 pm
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.”
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.
Jemma Redgrave will have temperatures rising when she returns to our screens as Dr Eleanor Bramwell.
For in the new series, we discover more about Dr Bramwell’s private life as her romance continues with Finn O’Neill – and it promises to be streamy.
As Jemma explains: “Victorian life wasn’t as stuffy as we are led to believe. People did have sex as well as blazing rows.
“She is human, warts and all. I would like to have her as a friend. But I think she would be exhausting and demanding.”
Meanwhile, Jemma revealed that her number one fan is her three-year-old son, Gabriel.
The wee fellow is a regular on the set of Bramwell.
Jemma said: “He particularly likes the microscope. It’s great that I am able to take him to work.”
Thought to shake things up a little so we’re having a few new/old interviews posted on the website soon. This is a fav of mine…
STAGING an underground train crash was tough enough for the makers of Victorian medical series Bramwell (ITV, 9pm). But there was one drama that was completely unrehearsed.
The set was invaded by 30 armed men in balaclavas.
Jemma Redgrave, who plays pioneering doctor Eleanor Bramwell, says: “They rushed out of one tunnel and disappeared into the other and totally ignored us. Later we discovered they were security services on a training mission. They didn’t seem the least bit fazed by seeing us. But we were all stunned – to put it mildly.”
The set for the dramatic opening episode of the new series was created at the now disused Aldwych London Underground station.
Equipment had to be manhandled down 165 stairs. But that wasn’t the only difficulty. In the train crash, Eleanor has to operate on a man whose leg has been crushed in a derailment. The problem was how to make the operation look authentic. The answer: a joint of pork.
“I have to say that working with a leg of pork under hot lights in a cramped set for several hours made the scene reek of authenticity,” says Jemma.
“Our producer was never allowed near because he would pass out at the sight of blood. But I relish the operations because I’m not squeamish. I find the medical aspects of the stories fascinating – and you don’t have to worry about motivation when you are sawing through a leg.”
In the new series, Eleanor is involved with a fellow doctor but her father disapproves.
“He thinks the man is a scheming opportunist,” says Jemma, who is married with a two-year-old son, Gabriel. “He thinks she’s a hussy.”
Jemma says it’s too early to say whether her own son will follow in the famous Redgrave acting family footsteps.
“It’s hard to tell what dramatic talent he might have,” she says. “When I was a child, I loved being around the theatre and becoming an actress was the natural thing to do.
“Having the Redgrave name was a problem only in that I didn’t want to let myself or my family down.”
Well, the title says it all so long story short… just follow the link below 😉