Haydn Gwynne Radio Times Interview – January 1999

Making her return to popular TV in Peak Practice after a successful run playing the role of mother.

Making her entrance in a helicopter to ITV’s prime-time series Peak Practice was one of the things that most attracted Haydn Gwynne to her new role.

Best know to television viewers as Alex, the sardonic deputy news editor in the first two series of Channel 4’s Drop the Dead Donkey, Gwynne has long loved all things aeronautical. ‘I’d already looped the loop in an open-topped Tiger Moth, but I’d never actually been in helicopter. I felt like Action Woman. You get dressed up in all the paramedic gear and get to indulge you ER fantasies.’

This is an endearing revelation from a woman whose most recent work has been in the theatre (including the award-winning City of Angels and a stint with the RSC). She hadn’t had a major TV role since Drop the Dead Donkey, a series she left at the end of 1991, and decided it was time to resurface in the nations living rooms: ‘But then I got pregnant, so that completely messed up a couple of projects.’

Now the mother of a 14-month-old son, Orlando, she was ready to get back to work. Taking on two series of Peak Practice meant a year-long commitment and a move to Derbyshire, a tricky decision to make. ‘My first reaction was, ‘I can’t do it’, but then I realised it was actually quite sensible. At least I’d be in one place and could create a routine for the baby. My partner agreed and travels up every weekend. It’s all working out fine.’

She plays Dr Joanna Graham,, a surgeon when viewers first meet her, but later a new recruit to The Beeches. ‘I think she’s essentially a nice person,’ says Gwynne. ‘She’s strong-willed and strong-minded, too much for her own good sometimes.’

So will Dr Graham be getting romantically involved with Dr Attwood? ‘I don’t think I’ll be spoiling things by saying that she definitely won’t get off with him, but it would be a bit much, wouldn’t it? He really should keep himself under control. He can’t seduce every doctor who wanders into the practice.

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