‘We are far too hard on moth­ers’

Jenna Cole­man has set aside Vic­to­ria’s crown to tackle an ‘emo­tional marathon’ in the BBC’s new lost-child drama

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - COVER STORY - BRY­ONY GOR­DON

de­pres­sion whose baby son sud­denly dis­ap­pears – talks about what it is like hav­ing two faces: one to be scru­ti­nised by the pub­lic, an­other that ex­ists in pri­vate.

It is, of course, a ter­ri­ble cliché for an in­ter­viewer to draw par­al­lels be­tween an ac­tor and the char­ac­ter they are play­ing. But given our in­sa­tiable so­cial-me­dia-fu­elled ap­petite for per­sonal in­for­ma­tion (and the fact that Cole­man has had her love life very pub­licly dis­sected), when I meet the 32-year-old in a Lon­don ho­tel, I feel vaguely jus­ti­fied in try­ing to do just that.

She smiles. “I guess there is that,” she says. “I mean, I can def­i­nitely as­so­ciate with that sen­sa­tion of feel­ing… ex­posed.” Cole­man was once linked with Prince Harry af­ter she was pho­tographed talk­ing to him at a polo match. She used to go out with Richard Mad­den, star of Body­guard (yes, she watched it) and is now shacked up with Tom Hughes, who plays her on-screen hus­band in Vic­to­ria. So she knows a bit about hav­ing all eyes on her.

The twist in The Cry, Cole­man points out, is that the mother, Joanna, hasn’t signed up for any­thing like that. “She is a pri­mary school teacher, who is quite shy, who is hav­ing to go through these hor­rific cir­cum­stances with all of these cam­eras pointed at her.” She notes that in the novel on which the new four-part drama is based, by the Aus­tralian thriller writer He­len FitzGer­ald, Joanna de­scribes “feel­ing like an an­i­mal in a zoo”.

We now live in a world where ev­ery fa­cial ex­pres­sion, ev­ery move, gets in­ter­preted – and of­ten as some­thing that it isn’t. Cole­man asks if I have seen the episode of Char­lie Brooker’s sci­ence fic­tion se­ries Black Mir­ror, in which peo­ple give each other star rat­ings af­ter ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion.

“It’s not far off re­al­ity, is it,” she says, her eyes widen­ing. “I mean, I need to check my Uber rat­ing. I think we have been trained to like stars from school. When you got a star, it was a good thing, wasn’t it? Maybe we’ve been con­di­tioned all wrong.”

I won­der how she pro­tects her­self from this kind of thing, as some­one in the pub­lic eye. “Putting up a ve­neer, do you mean?” Well that, and a de­sire for “likes” on so­cial me­dia. “In­sta­gram is tricky be­cause…” she pauses for a mo­ment. “I think if you’re a co­me­dian or a pre­sen­ter, where your per­son­al­ity is part of your job, it’s dif­fer­ent. But as an ac­tress, I al­ways feel a bit con­flicted. Be­cause I love In­sta­gram – like, I re­ally love it – and there’s a lot more I would like to put out but I also hate that peo­ple are watch­ing you in a part, and they know what you’ve eaten for break­fast.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.