Baby? I’ll take two!

New mother Leigh Arnold – the star of TV3’S De­cep­tion – is so taken by the joys of par­ent­hood, she’s al­ready ex­pect­ing No. 2...

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - THE LAST WORD -

se­ries. In 2010, she played the lead role in con­tro­ver­sial Ir­ish thriller Char­lie Casanova. For a few years she be­came as well known for be­ing seen out and about in the Dublin so­cial scene with her then boyfriend Mar­cus Sweeney — ex-fi­ancé of the late model Katy French — but the re­la­tion­ship ended in 2009. Now en­gaged to Manch­ester busi­ness­man Steve Davies, UK-based Leigh is al­ready hap­pily preg­nant with the cou­ple’s sec­ond child. Post­ing a snap of Hunter on her Face­book page in late Novem­ber, she an­nounced the good news: ‘Can’t get any cuter than this so we thought, “What the hell? Let’s do it again!”’

Still, she says she was con­scious of how her post-baby fig­ure would ap­pear on cam­era. ‘You lose an aw­ful lot of con­fi­dence in your­self when you have a baby,’ she says. ‘This was just so scary for me the first day when I ar­rived on the set. You are run­ning around con­stantly when you are look­ing af­ter a baby and you don’t re­alise that your life isn’t your own; it is all about him. I love ev­ery sec­ond of it. Moth­er­hood is the most in­cred­i­ble thing that ever hap­pened to me. I think that all the run­ning around helps you get back in shape. And, hon­estly, breast­feed­ing helps. It does. It tones up the tummy a bit.’

Leigh’s char­ac­ter in De­cep­tion is Caitríona French, Gal­way’s most vis­i­ble and glam­orous so­cialite. Leigh de­scribes her char­ac­ter as ‘a proper b****. She is a bril­liant char­ac­ter. She is just back from Amer­ica, where she had a boob job. Well, mine are ten­der any­way so at least it will look real. This is the role of a life­time. She is an amaz­ing char­ac­ter. Very feisty, very cool and you wouldn’t want to cross her. But at the same time she has a big heart. She’s a really lovely girl, the sort of strong woman I’d love to be friends with.’

Leigh de­scribes her time on the set in Gal­way as ‘emo­tional’ — not only did she miss her part­ner but she was deal­ing with some heavy sto­ry­lines. In­deed, her first week’s film­ing dealt with her char­ac­ter’s hus­band’s at­tempted sui­cide. She says she tried to be sen­si­tive in her ap­proach to the role. ‘This is a very real ex­is­tence for thou­sands of peo­ple. We are not mak­ing a joke out of it. If any­thing, we are high­light­ing the daily lives for peo­ple that live in ghost es­tates or who have lost prop­erty or their life’s for­tunes.’ In­deed, Leigh’s own fa­ther, David Arnold, lost mil­lions in a high- pro­file prop­erty deal gone awry. ‘Things are tough in the world,’ she says, and peo­ple are hav­ing their homes taken from un­der their feet, as hap­pened to my char­ac­ter. I’m try­ing to be as sen­si­tive as I can with it. My char­ac­ter deals with at­tempted sui­cide and it was very emo­tional film­ing that. I have heard of peo­ple who haven’t been able to deal with sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and have taken their lives.’

At that moment a run­ner ap­pears to bring the lead­ing lady back on set. She turns to her son for one fi­nal cud­dle be­fore tak­ing off her Uggs and re­plac­ing them with a flash pair of nude Louboutins. ‘It’s funny,’ she sighs. ‘All I look for­ward to now is get­ting back home and hav­ing loads of lovely daddy-and-baby time — that’s what I want. It’s not very show­biz, I know, but there you go.’

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