Playing a GP has been a tonic for Haydn Gwynne’s career. But it’s turned her life on it’s head
Haydn Gwynne was shocked when the Peak Practice storyline called for her character to have a one-night stand. After all, Dr Joanna Graham was not long out of a serious affair which led to a marriage proposal.
‘I thought it was rather soon after the departure of the last man. I thought she might spend a little longer being a bit moody,’ she says, ‘She ended up in bed although we didn’t see it, thank God! It is Peak Practice after all, not 9 1/2 weeks.’
That night has not been without its implications though. This week, the GP makes a discovery that rocks her normally well-ordered existence.
When the 39-year-old actress was first offered the role, with shooting on location in the beautiful Peak District, she has no idea how much her life would be turned upside down. ‘When I first went up there I thought it was one series. When I found out it was for two, I nearly had a heart attack!’ she admits. ‘My son Orlando was only nine months old, I was filming most of the time, and still breastfeeding. I was just getting over that early mother nightmare of those first months. He wasn’t an easy baby. I found it very hard and stressful. I was like a wreck.’
Now on her third series, she is more resigned to country life in the picturesque cottage she rents with Orlando, now two. Haydn’s partner continues to live in London but stays over as often as he can. Occasionally the pair treat themselves to a night out. ‘I lead a very boring existence at the moment. It’s all work and baby. There is certainly not a lot of partying going on,’ she says, clearly missing the days when she was always out at the theatre and cinema in London.
Haydn met her partner in her mid-30’s, being introduced by friends at a party. ‘He is training to be a psychotherapist so he was doing decorating work to earn cash. I got him round to give me a quote to paint the back of my house. Our relationship started quite slowly. We didn’t rush into it – just walked out for a while. In the end, he never did paint the back of my house.’
Marriage is not part of Haydn’s master plan. ‘I don’t have very strong feelings about it,’ she says. ‘I don’t know why. I’m perfectly capable of going to a friends wedding and crying my eyes out and being really soppy. Bu I don’t fantasise about it for myself, although I never say never.’
Until Haydn met her man she was a free agent who often travelled alone and enjoyed her independence. For a memorable period she even taught English in Rome. Then she landed her first major role in the TV drama Nice Work. She went on to play the long-suffering deputy news editor Alex in Drop the Dead Donkey. But it was the role of Dr Graham which finally established her.
As we speak, Haydn is plagued by the flu that has hit the entire country. Rest is what the doctor ordered. ‘At the moment, I don’t get time to think, just cope,’ she confesses. ‘But that’s quite nice, I feel settled. I am living in the present, not the past, which is quite a nice way to live.’