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Prison left me drained; THE INTERVIEW: Lesley Dunlop.

IT was one of the most harrowing roles of her career.

Playing a child murderer left former May To December star Lesley Dunlop physically and emotionally exhausted.

She takes on the role of a killer in the new forensic science drama Silent Witness (BBC1, 9.30pm).

And Lesley, a mother of two teenage daughters, admits it took her weeks to get over the trauma of her starring role.

"We filmed in a men's prison and as soon as I walked through the gates and they locked behind me I felt very insecure and confused," she says.

"Playing a child murderer, especially as a mum, was difficult enough - but the atmosphere in the prison also left me very troubled.

"I'd walk past a door and it would state quite clearly that the person was serving life, and then I'd start wondering about what they had done and why.


"I wish there had been some way I could have been warned what being in a prison is like.

"Fortunately we only had to do a day's filming in there.

"I think if I'd thought about the character or where we were going to have to film, too deeply, I would probably never have taken it on in the first place.

"I kept talking about the whole experience for weeks. It was just a very weird time."

But the role is likely to please Lesley's children Daisy, 18, and Rosie, 14.

"I know they'll be happy that their mates can see me doing something other than snogging Anton Rodgers (her co-star in May To December) all the time.

"Whether the girls will watch it, who knows? They don't see much of what I do on TV, because they are always out or busy with their own lives," says Lesley.

Next month the actress, who lives with former Watching star Paul Bown will celebrate her 40th birthday and claims she is looking forward to the landmark event.

"I have a terrific zest for life at the moment and I've suddenly got all my ambition back," she says.

"I'm looking forward to the future and doing as much work as I can. I'm sure it's got a lot to do with the fact that I'm 40, but it's also because I'm happy and content in my home life".

Asked whether she and Paul had any plans to marry, Lesley was suddenly coy saying: "We might but I'm not telling you".

In the meantime she will be making do with a big family bash for her birthday.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Murfitt, Nikki
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 21, 1996
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