10 Ques­tions for Cather­ine Walker

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Paul Coia

Ac­tress Cather­ine moved from Ire­land to Lon­don aged 21, even­tu­ally join­ing the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany. At home in Dublin Cather­ine is best known for her theatre work, but she is known here for her TV roles in Holby City and Crit­i­cal, as well as for play­ing Madame de Main­tenon in the epic BBC se­ries Ver­sailles, which is re­leased on DVD this week.

IS IT STRANGE PLAY­ING A REAL, HIS­TOR­I­CAL PER­SON?

In Ver­sailles it’s fas­ci­nat­ing. I got to talk to his­to­ri­ans, build­ing up a pic­ture of Louis Xivth’s wife and then find­ing the char­ac­ter to play her. The cos­tumes make it very real, too.

DO YOU GET FED UP WITH COS­TUME FIT­TINGS?

No. I ar­rive in the morn­ing won­der­ing how I’m go­ing to get in to char­ac­ter, then grad­u­ally as the make-up and cos­tumes go on I start to feel the part. The cam­era may not be fo­cused on my shoes, but I know I’m wear­ing them.

HOW DO YOU KEEP IN­TER­ESTED DUR­ING BREAKS?

I’m all for pre­serv­ing en­ergy on set so I usu­ally take a nap at lunchtime. I might med­i­tate be­tween takes, and I’m study­ing psy­chol­ogy so l read text books.

HOW WOULD YOU DE­SCRIBE MAK­ING AN EPIC TV SE­RIES?

Fun. With act­ing, we’ve all run away to join the cir­cus, haven’t we? It’s a great job, sur­rounded by great crafts­men.

DO YOU WATCH YOUR­SELF ON TV?

I’m get­ting bet­ter at that. Now I watch the whole thing as a piece of en­ter­tain­ment rather than just analysing my per­for­mance. But I still wait a bit of time be­fore I do.

ARE YOU THICK SKINNED?

No, Knock-backs are hard. I felt that es­pe­cially at the be­gin­ning of my ca­reer. I won­dered whether I’d have the per­son­al­ity to keep go­ing. This business has bro­ken my heart in the past.

AND NOW?

I just trust that work will come in. I’m much more re­laxed about it. I’m lucky I’ve never been pi­geon­holed.

WHAT ARE YOU DO­ING NEXT?

I’ve just started cos­tume fit­tings in Glas­gow for a new se­ries of Shet­land. I’m go­ing to play a re­ally strong char­ac­ter, some­one whose type of re­la­tion­ship with In­spec­tor Perez he hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. I’m re­ally ex­cited.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE ROLES?

I feel anony­mous, and I have no aware­ness of try­ing to ap­peal to peo­ple in the roles I play. I’ve played char­ac­ters who I know a per­cent­age of the au­di­ence won’t go along with. I guess I never think ahead to how things will land with peo­ple.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS LEFT TO LIVE. HOW DO YOU SPEND IT?

Danc­ing bare­foot on a beach in Dublin, en­joy­ing the rain and the wild­ness. We’re on a jour­ney of learn­ing, and the soul goes on, so there’s a fan­tas­tic, ex­cit­ing jour­ney to come af­ter­wards.

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