When actress Shelagh McLeod left Peak Practice in 1997 she had a hunch she’d be back and she was right. Following the return to The Beeches of her estranged screen hubby Dr Will Preston, Simon Shepherd, at the end of the last series, Shelagh’s character Kate Webster has also settled decided to settle back in Cardale.
As fans of the show will know the couple had been living in America, but following the tragic death of their three year old daughter Emily from Cystic Fibrosis Will headed back to Britain. ‘He’s found it difficult to come to terms with losing Emily and returned to Cardale because he felt rooted there,’ explains Shelagh. ‘Kate stayed on in America because she had many friends there but there’s no doubt she has been badly damaged by the death of her daughter, and that she loves Will intensely. That’s why she’s returned.’
But the couple seem to have hit a brick wall as far as patching up their relationship is concerned. ‘They’re dealing with their grief in different ways,’ says Shelagh. ‘Will simply can’t cope with what’s happened and shuts himself off, but Kate’s a born survivor and her view is ‘this awful thing has happened but we have to move on’. She’s still madly in love with Will and she tries to make him see that things weren’t always like this between them, that they had this great love even before their daughter was born, and things do get better between them in time.’
Off screen, Shelagh 39, is happily married to property developer Marek Pilkington Miksa and is a doting mom to their five year old daughter Katherine. They live in Cobham, Surrey, not far from where the actress was raised after her family moved to Britain from Canada. She still has strong links with Canada. In fact, she was over there screen testing for a film, when she got the call asking her to return to Peak Practice. ‘I was being tested to play Andy Garcia’s wife,’ she explains. ‘I’d just been invited back to test again when my agent told me they wanted to revive the character of Kate. I don’t know what would have happened with the movie. I think they were actually rather keen, but I guess I’ll never know. But I’ve no regrets. I couldn’t be happier being back in Peak Practice.’