Shelagh McLeod GMTV Interview – January 1997

INTERVIEW BY: Eamon Holmes & Fiona Phillips

FP: Did you see Peak Practice back on the box last night? It’s day two of our special series on TV’s top medical drama and we’ve got some baby talk for you this morning. At the centre of the story is Dr Kate Webster who gave birth last night and in one of the quickest recoveries ever actress Shelagh Mcleod will be speaking to us. But first let’s remind ourselves of her story so far.

Clips of Kate telling Will she is keeping the baby (S4Ep10)
Kate giving birth to Emily (S5Ep1)
Will comes home to find Kate crying (S5Ep2)
Kate tells Will they are going to watch Emily suffer and die (S5Ep2)

FP: Well it was a happy event last night but according to that Shelagh it doesn’t carry on that way

SM: It’s very sad, very sad. The birth was exhausting, I have to say – filming it. But things take a turn for the worse and the baby gets very sick and it goes undiagnosed by us which makes us feel dreadful.

FP: We spoke to Simon Shepherd who plays your partner in the series yesterday and he is leaving after the fourth episode, does that mean it’s the end for Kate and Will?

SM: No! I leave with him, we both go off to Bristol to look after our baby and we have to move there because the particular unit that will look after our baby is there so we both leave – but we leave on a happy note so it’s quite nice.

FP: Oh good and will you miss it?

SM: Terribly. I didn’t think I would. I love the peak district and I love the crew and cast, I worked with a fabulous director Alan Grint and it’s like a family. But I won’t miss the driving up and down. That was exhausting!

FP: That’s what Simon said!

SM: But I’ve just been shooting something else and it’s funny how I keep thinking about it and I do miss it dreadfully.

FP: Now you did give birth to Emily last night but you have a daughter yourself though, Katherine who’s 18 months. Did that bring back any memories?

SM: Well I actually had a caesarean and so I just climbed onto the table, they whacked me with drugs and snip, snip, out she came. So we had a midwife on set with us going through all the lessons and teaching us how to breath and puff!

FP: Have you taken to motherhood?

SM: Do you know it took me six months. I think there is a big conspiracy out there, I think the first 6 months are really tough. I thought it was terrifying. Now I’m loving it, now she can walk and talk and she responds to things, she’s great.

FP: You said you had a tough time but did you ever have postnatal depression?
A lot of women do and it’s ignored isn’t it?

SM: Did I have postnatal depression? I don’t know but I certainly felt very down, I was riddled with anxiety the whole time. I was also filming, I went back to work 6 weeks after she was born, which I think kept me sane. I think if I’d sat there and stared at the walls I probably would’ve gone down. I think it’s just such a shock.

EH: I don’t think you’ve ever sat and stared at the walls. A very interesting life, we were just talking before the break because you’re both (to Shelagh and Fiona) good old USA girls.

FP: You (to Shelagh) lasted longer than I did

SM: Yes, 7 years.

EH: And what sort of programmes did you work on while you were out there?

SM: I did loads of TV. I worked with Elizabeth Taylor, which was fun. I had a very small role but she was amazing.

FP: Was she really nice though because I’ve filmed her backstage on a series, and I have to say, I know Elizabeth Taylor fans are going to hate me for this, but she was a bit of an old witch. She wasn’t nice to the people who weren’t on her level

SM: She was very cold when I arrived on the set, I mean I was on it for one day and I was shivering and shaking, I was terrified, I was working with the famous Elizabeth Taylor. But once she warmed up she was lovely, and she’s so beautiful, her eyes are purple, she has purple eyes and the first few hours were pretty scary but I just sat there quietly and shivered and shook. I also did an A Team which was fun working with George Pepard. They do great stunts in America and I did a lot of episodic TV, wild and crazy things. I was lucky I worked.

FP: You have kept on working and you are leaving Peak Practice after the fourth episode and you’re still working. What are you doing?

SM: I’ve just literally finished doing an episode of The Knock, I went to Hong Kong for 5 seconds which was fun! I play a real badie in it so it’s real character change, so it’s great.

FP: Great for you as an actress

SM: It’s nice to play such a different character immediately after playing a doctor and she’s got no scruples this girl, she just goes off and does terrible things which is great!

FP: We look forward to seeing it, when is The Knock on?

SM: April, it starts

FP: Thanks very much, Lovely to see you.

SM: Thank you

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