A welcome return
PUBLISHED: 06:58 28 April 2014
Actress Claire Goose's heart is firmly in Norfolk where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood blessed with freedom and adventure.
“I always feel very looked after when I am back and I just love that sense of space and tranquillity which floods over you,” says Claire, who now lives in London.
With two young children of her own, she is seeing the county through fresh eyes as she revisits so many of those special places with them for the first time.
“There is something so special about taking your own children back to where you went to as a child, recreating all those lovely memories. We had a beach hut at Old Hunstanton and would rent a house at Heacham. I spent my childhood with my family and cousins on those beaches and in my memory, those summers were always long and hot,” says Claire, who was brought up in the west of the county.
“Taking my girls to the beach now is just so much fun, and it reminds me that it is often the simple things which bring the most joy.”
She and husband Craig Woodrow, TV producer, married at Great Bircham and they try and get home with Amelia, four, and 18-month-old Evelyn as often as possible.
“The girls absolutely love being at my parents, I don’t think Amelia can get over all that space and freedom compared to where we live in London.”
The actress became a household name playing nurse Tina Seabrook in BBC drama Casualty, followed by roles in high profile dramas, including Waking the Dead and The Bill.
This month, she returns to our screens in the ITV drama Undeniable, starring as a woman who as a young child witnessed the brutal murder of her mother and years later recognises the man - played by Peter Firth - who she believes killed her.
“It was not an easy role to take on, but it was an amazing challenge as it was so deeply layered. I was just so thrilled to be part of it.”
The drama was filmed in Ireland and Claire admits there were moments when it was hard to leave her character behind on set: “We all stayed together so would have dinner and unwind, but I would read through my lines before bed and would often have quite violent and disturbing dreams which would stay with me all day.”
Has having children of her own changed her approach to playing such a role?
“Yes, certainly, it really changes how you feel about things. There is a far deeper emotional connection for me. The mother of the character I play never saw her grow up or her wedding day and never met her grandchild. She was robbed of all of that. As a mother and a daughter it is incredibly tough to begin to imagine.”
As Undeniable airs, she will be in the final stages of a four-month nationwide theatre tour of The Perfect Murder, which came to Norwich in January. Despite often going to the Theatre Royal as a child, she had never actually performed there.
“It was incredibly exciting. Lots of my friends and family were in the audience, which was great, but I was a bit nervous as it was very early on in the tour. I did tell them that if they came to see it now, I think it would be very different – and a lot more polished,” she laughs.
She admits that doing two such big jobs back to back has been tough on family life.
“You make it work and I was lucky because I had lots of time at home when both girls were babies. Usually I work then have a break and all works well – it just so happened on this occasion I have done five months straight. I don’t think Evelyn really notices as she is still so young but it is hard with Amelia as she is more used to having me around.”
Her brother Duncan – who set up the One Water project which has helped more than a million people in Africa through the sale of its bottled water - also has children of the same age, which has made family get-togethers extra special.
“It is just so great when we are all together in Norfolk, letting the kids play. They are all such a lovely age, they just melt my heart.”
Undeniable starts on ITV1 on Monday, April 7.