Eve Myles (‘Frankie’) interview

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A new six-part series set in the challenging and complex world of district nursing, Frankie begins airs at 9pm on Tuesday 14 May on BBC One.

> Order Frankie on DVD on Amazon.

Discussing the opening instalment, Myles said, “It’s the first episode of six and I think, at the end of it, you feel like you know all of them, you know their world and you wanna be their best friend, you wanna be treated by them, you wanna see more of them – and you care about them.”

Frankie features national treasure Ken Bruce (long-running BBC Radio 2 DJ), who seemingly speaks to Frankie through the radio. We asked Eve about this unusual narrative device…

“It’s really clever, like Ally McBeal with the dancing baby [where] she vocalises all the stuff that’s going on in her head – [Frankie] gets to do the same in her car. She’s treated somebody or maybe somebody has died and she leaves the house and she’s stoic and professional – she has no right in that situation to show any kind of emotion, it’s not her job to do that. So when she closes that door, and gets in that car – that’s when she lets it out. And she puts him [Ken Bruce] on, and it’s a form of comfort. And it’s a two-way conversation; Ken doesn’t know. It’s a two-way conversation and it’s very funny. Very funny because it’s so honest.”

She continued: “He’s a legend. Everybody knows Ken Bruce. I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading when I got the scripts – and he’s agreed to do it! That’s bloody genius! That’s her [Frankie] little buddy in the car, that’s the guy who listens to her and picks her up. He’s got some great lines in this and pure Ken Bruce; it’s a lovely little relationship. He’s the third love interest! If we do get a second series, I want him in the back of the car!”

Moving on to the show’s ethos, dealing with a district nurse and the issues she faces regularly, we discussed how Frankie doesn’t have a political message and demonstrates how various people with varying problems on a day-to-day basis.

“Absolutely. It’s humanity; how we survive, how we treat each other and how, in the hardest times, we can still laugh. And how humour does actually get us through a lot of the day. There’s a lot of humour in Frankie.”

She explained: “She’s a really difficult character to play because she is stoic and professional but this inner child keeps vomiting out of her when there’s no-one around. She has this wild streak to her, a firework essence in her. Playing her was making sure the balance was right all the time because she’s in so much. I really had to rely on my directors.”

When introducing the first episode prior to the screening, BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson compared the style of writer Lucy Gannon to that of another television legend, former Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T Davies. Eve expanded on the deep emotional and joyous tones of the series…

“It’s a very difficult thing to do. To be strong in both areas where you can make people openly laugh out loud and you can also bring out the emotion in people, to make them cry or feel uncomfortable, is really special. To have all that crammed into sixty minutes is really good TV.”

She added: “[Lucy Gannon will] walk you down one road, she’ll drop your hand and then she’ll divert you somewhere else. It’s really clever.”

As time on our interview came to a close, we spoke to Eve about the work/life balance that plays so heavily within the show; is this something that she herself faced in her own busy career?

“For anyone who’s a parent, it’s difficult to juggle life and work and therefore you’ve got to have good people around you. I’m really lucky with my fiancé; when I work, he’s full-time with Matilda [the couple’s three-year old daughter] and vice versa. That’s the plan we came up with and that’s the plan we’ve stuck to. So far, so good. Life is really important; home-life is your base, your strength. It’s what helps you to do this.”

> Order Frankie on DVD on Amazon.

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