The BBC recently did an interview with Eve Myles on her upcoming project Frankie, which is set to start airing after May 11.
What drew you to the project and were you a fan of Lucy Gannon’s work prior to working with her?
The rare opportunity to play a title role! The writing was fantastic and the character was very clear to me straight away. I felt I could have lots of fun with her. Professionally, the public have a slightly fixed image of me as “Gwen Cooper”, so to play something very different was something I have been looking for. Of course I knew Lucy Gannon’s writing before this project, one of my memories growing up was Soldier Soldier. For an actress of my age to have the chance to play such a great part is a huge opportunity, so to play this title role I had to work harder than I have ever worked before.
It’s a rare treat to get the chance of playing a title role. How did it feel to take on this project?
A ‘rare treat’ to put it mildly – even two days before wrapping, I woke up my partner in the middle of the night and said, “I can’t believe I got Frankie!” Every actor seeks a challenge – I certainly did. At the beginning of the year I played opposite Zach Braff in a comedy in the West End, then went on to play this complex role for the BBC. I wanted the responsibility and relished the professional shift. Though the responsibility and pressures are huge, you have got to keep pushing yourself as an actor. The volume of work was unbelievable so I had to be completely ‘on it’ every day and be prepared weeks ahead of schedule just so I could keep on top of it all. Without a doubt this has been the most disciplined I have ever been; friends and family missed me, but realised what an opportunity I had been given and how hard I have worked to get to this point. They left me to dive in and not come up for air until the golden wrap was called. I was not going to let myself, family and those who have entrusted me with ‘Frankie’ down… a million percent or nothing!
Have you ever played a medical role before? Did you spend time with any real District Nurses?
This is the first medical role I have played. And it’s a lot to take in. Especially with district nursing, as it’s not an area that’s really been highlighted before and not all set in a hospital/surgery etc as they are constantly on the road and in patients’ homes.
I spent lots of time wracking the brains of a district nurse we had come on set every week, to make sure everything was truthful and realistic, but I think the biggest thing I stole from spending time with the district nurses was how they adapt to every single different household/patient/situation and what great listeners and friends they become with each patient and to their families. Also, how they have lots of fun when they are not on duty. When I questioned the amount of ‘socialising’ Frankie does the response was perfect; “we have to let off steam or it becomes too personal and starts affecting your life, we have to switch off and have fun” – which Frankie will no doubt perform in abundance!
How like Frankie are you?
I am like Frankie in as much as I play her. We are both very hard working, have a naughty inner child that pops up in inappropriate situations and have a little wild side, but most importantly believe that you MUST have fun at work, then you will do your best.
To whet your appetite, the BBC has posted a synopsis of the first episode of Frankie:
Frankie is fond of her entertaining elderly patient Mr Thomas (Michael Byrne), but his daughter Jean (Barbara Marten) is struggling to care for both him and her terminally ill husband. When Frankie realises that Mr Thomas is showing signs of dementia, she tries to encourage Jean to get help but meets with resistance. Jean is frightened that her father will be taken into care, like her mother was. With Frankie’s reassurance, Jean reluctantly agrees to an assessment but Mr Thomas’ condition is far more serious than either of them had realised…
Frankie’s attention is also on Heather (Amy Strange), a young mum who has an eight-year-old daughter Ruby (Hannah Jean-Baptiste) and is heavily pregnant. Heather has high blood pressure and is worried she’ll go into labour before her husband returns from Afghanistan. Frankie does her best to keep her calm but they soon both find themselves dealing with an unexpected emergency.
As Ian plans his big surprise, Frankie decides to stick with Heather, unaware of the impact this one decision will have on her life.