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CULTURE : Perfect opportunity for Claire to shine; Graham Kibble-White talks weddings with Claire Goose.

Byline: Graham Kibble-White

For Claire Goose, there were definitely some perks about playing the blushing bride for one-off drama Perfect Day.

"It was lovely," she beams. "Because the action takes place over the night before and the day of the ceremony, all of us were in full wedding garb for practically a month filming it.

"Normally I play quite professional roles, so every day I'd come in and get my hair and make-up all glammed up. It was great."

For every bride, there has to be a fairytale dress - and Claire's character, Amy, was no different.

"Our director on the show was very into clothes," explains Claire, "and had in his mind exactly how he wanted everyone to look. This meant he had a great interest in what dress I wore.

"The designer made a file of different ideas and styles for him, and the director saw one by a guy called David Fielden and said, 'That's the one I want'.

"So they got on the phone and said, 'We don't suppose you could make a couple of dresses in two weeks could you?' and he said, 'Yeah, all right'.

"I went along and tried a few things on, and funnily enough the one the director saw did nothing for me. Luckily another one there just stood out and and we all went, 'That's it! That's the one!'."

She admits that once filming wrapped, she was tempted to take the creation home.

"It was so beautiful and simple that I actually spoke to David and said, 'Without offending you, if I wanted to dye it, would it work?'. It would have made a beautiful evening dress. But then the costume designer on the show told me it's apparently bad luck to own a wedding dress if you're not married. As soon as I heard that, I was like, 'I don't want it now'."

Playing a bride - albeit one who's thrown into turmoil by the return of an old flame on the evening before she's due to walk up the aisle - inevitably prompts questions about whether or not she's got any plans to tie the knot in real life.

Following a successful blind date, she's been seeing TV-producer-turned-writer Craig Woodrow for 18 months, but worries that when her big day does come it might just feel like another performance.

"I don't really know how you get around that," she sighs, "so if at any point I do get married, I'm not sure how I'll do it.

"A wedding, in my mind, is a celebration that two people want to be together, that's how I see it. I don't necessarily view it in a very traditional sense and I certainly don't like the formality of it. However, although I'm not massively religious, I would like it blessed in church."

This year, she turned 30, an experience she found surprisingly agreeable.

"It didn't bother me in the slightest. I think from a very early age I've always felt more comfortable being around older people and I've always come across older than I am. So actually, the more the years tot up, the happier I feel.

"I'm certainly far more relaxed in my own life. I don't have half the neurosis I did in my 20s."

In the past, Claire's been quoted as saying she'd like to be a mother by the time she hits 31. With that prospect looking less and less likely, she confesses to a change of plan.

"Life suddenly got busy," she says with a shrug. "But I do think it's one of those things where I don't want to wait too long. I've witnessed friends struggling to have children later in life, and I can see how distressing that is.

"A lot of the time that's through not being with the right person, but if I had the choice, I'd rather have them earlier than later.

"How that would fit in with work, I'm not sure. But I don't really worry about it - it'll happen when it happens."

Last year, she hit the headlines when her character was killed off in the hard-hitting BBC drama Waking The Dead, via a breathtaking fall from a high rise building. It was her decision to leave the show, but she admits it wasn't one she made lightly.

"From a work point-of-view, I was getting to a point where it wasn't challenging me any more and I was becoming quite stuck. I really wanted the opportunity to go off and do other things, and I think you run the risk of becoming quite complacent if you don't keep pushing yourself.

"Funnily enough, the executive producer on the series was a very sweet guy called Alexei de Keyser, who very sadly died last year. We'd known each other for years, and when I left Casualty he was a producer on that show.

"I asked him then to kill me off, but he wouldn't do it. He thought the audience would be devastated. I said, 'Lex, don't be such a sap, kill me off!' but he refused.

"When it came to Waking The Dead, I told him, 'Right, you owe me, you've got to kill me off'. But it was really the director who came up with the whole idea of how to do it. Originally it was something quite safe. I think I was shot off-camera. I said, 'We can't do that, it's a cop out,' so the director got more and more confident and it became increasingly elaborate. It was just fantastic."

For now, she's happy to continue appearing in one-off dramas, including Secret Smile, on ITV1 on Monday December 12, and an upcoming project for the channel with Martin Kemp, Love Lies Bleeding.

"I feel very blessed," she smiles. "All my projects this year have been very different. It would take something really quite special to lure me back into another series."

n Perfect Day is on Five on Sunday

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Claire Goose in her wedding dress for Perfect Day
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 6, 2005
Words:999
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