Green goddess; With Primeval back on our screens, Juliet Aubrey's playing nasty again. The award-winning actress tells Claire Rees about being an eco-warrior - and how bad girl Helen Cutter is really a great role model.
But our villain is played by softly-spoken actress Juliet Aubrey - about whom there's nothing scary and who thinks her alter-ego is misunderstood.
Yes, she can be evil, thinks Juliet, whose dads hails from Llanelli, but she wants to save the world.
It's a passion she shares with her famous cousin The Edge, one fourth of U2, a band who don't shy from having their own enviro-rants.
"We used to play as kids," says the 38-year-old, who won the Best Actress Bafta for Dorothea, in the BBC2 classic serial Middlemarch, adapted by Andrew Davies from George Eliot's novel.
What Juliet shares with Helen (and indeed the guitarist, aka David Evans) is a passion for the environment and as a mother-of-two to Lola-Blue, three, and Blythe, four, she understands her alter-ego's intentions.
"I really identify with her," says Juliet, who is married to TV production designer Steve Ritchie.
pounds Her main driving force is that human beings are destroying the planet - that's how I feel.
"I'm pretty good at making sure everyone turns lights off around the house but I don't take it as far as she does - I don't believe that if you don't recycle you deserve to die! "But she's an eco warrior and intent on saving the planet - she's a good role model in that sense..
"Young people seem to be the ones who are concerned with the environment and it shouldn't be left to them to care.
"The kids and I have our own little saying. I say 'save energy' and they sing back 'save the world!'" Juliet has been part of the ITV cast, which has recently been joined by Footballer's Wives' Laila Rouass and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Jason Flemyng, for three years.
"I absolutely love playing Helen," says Juliet, who adds while her children are too young to watch the show, they have their own Helen Cutter action figures.
"What's there not to like about spending your days running away from dinosaurs?" For the latest series, set predominantly in the British Museum, the cast were flown to La Palma in the Canaries last August for two weeks.
"The volcanic islands made a perfect landscape for the new creatures which are pretty realistic. CGI is such an important part and the fans know their stuff so it has to be right," says Juliet.
"It keeps me pretty fit and strong.
Climbing rocks in 100-degree heat in the desert and searching for dinosaur eggs for breakfast is a hard day's work." And then life goes back to normal.
"Home time is really important to me and acting is great for that, provided you've got the work coming in." For the foreseeable future she has nothing to worry about - there's a play and a feature film in the pipeline, and the Central School of Speech and Drama graduate is hoping to get back onto the stage.
"The last play I did was at the National and it was Chekhov's first, Ivanov, playing Anna Petrovna.
"I'd love to do more Chekhov and Shakespeare.
"And I'd love to do more comedy." Caught in the Act, which has just finished a limited release run at Welsh cinemas, was a chance to do that - and get back to the Wales Juliet calls home, despite having spent most of her life in London..
"Steve (Speirs, the Merthyr-born actor who wrote and starred in the comic farce about amateur players in a Welsh village) sent me the script and I loved it," she explains.
"Primeval is dark, so it was great to do a light comedy - it's a charming film.
"Spending time in a little B& B in Cardiff was lovely and doing a Valleys accent was easy for me, it's in my blood; my great aunt Phyllis thinks it's the best thing I've done!" Juliet's is certainly a varied CV - she made the Oscar-winning The Constant Gardener on location in Kenya while pregnant with her second daughter, and was back in front of the cameras filming TV drama A Good Murder just seven months later.
Now the busy actress is using her rest time to support a campaign close to home.
"There's a shortage of state school places near us in London - we're on a waiting list ourselves," she says "We're hoping to get a new school built," adding that she has met with councillors, but as a mum, not a 'celebrity'. She doesn't like the term, describing her friends as "actors" and adding: "But I have friends at nursery group too." She also wants to take her children travelling; there's a trip to Australia this year, and she plans to give them similar experiences to the ones she had as a 24-year-old on a gap year in India.
"But I can be as happy pottering at home as I am going around the world.
" My mum always told me only boring people get bored!" Primeval is on ITV1 Wales tonight at 6.15pm..
Juliet Aubrey as Helen with her army of clones
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Apr 11, 2009|
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