The latest series of DCI Banks concluded last night. Here Andrea Lowe reveals how she got to grips with motherhood – on screen and off.
Andrea Lowe has one of those faces. One which instantaneously you just know you know. Which is rather unsurprising considering both the sheer amount of television work she has under her belt – and her ageless English rose look. Andrea Banks
Andrea was back on ITV this month reprising her role as DS Annie Cabbot. When she left the series in 2012, both her and her character were heavily pregnant. They both took maternity leave. Now they both have little ones. Has the parallel between fiction and reality been, well, a little odd?
‘To be honest it was purely a practical thing [for Annie]. It wasn’t a coincidence, they purposefully wrote it in. We had to stick to filming when I was pregnant. I hadn’t really wanted it to be written in because I wasn’t sure how restrictive that would be for future series. But actually I think it has turned out to be a very good idea. And they couldn’t really avoid it because I was big when they started filming.’
She pauses then adds with a giggle. ‘Filming when I was pregnant was great. Everyone looked out for me. I got a nice trailer as well.’
Andrea’s little boy is now 18-months old. And thought she positively burbles with joy talking about him, she guards his name fiercely ‘He is his own person,’ she explains. ‘I think you have to keep a bit of separation. When he is older I want him to feel like he has always been given a choice.’
So how is it being a working mum? ‘There are so many working mothers. It is not something that’s unique. What can be difficult in my industry is the amount you can be away from home. The logistics. You are constantly juggling. We are based in London and a lot of my roles are based up north, so it is complicated.
‘When I am not working I want to spend all the time with my son. I don’t want to employ someone to look after him. Yet I often need someone at the drop of a hat to go to auditions. So it is really tricky.’
And motherhood? How’s that?
‘It is great. When I am not working I am hanging out with my best mate. I love being a mum . I’ve had so many kids on series. I think I have had 24 kids in different TV series. Even when I was playing teenagers I was always pregnant. It is quite nice to do it for real.’
DCI Banks has rather weaved its way into the fabric of British television. Since it first aired in 2010 millions have tuned in. Indeed it is now being syndicated in the US. But what does Andrea believe the secret to the success of the series is?
‘People love detective shows,’ she muses. I guess it is down to the writing a lot of it. The crime and the guess stories are always the kind of main focus and there is always something different and they are always quite dark and interesting.’
Parts of the show are pretty dark. How on earth does she leave that behind at the end of the day?
‘Actually, It is always the things you do not expect [that affect you], or the people you do not expect that have an impact on you,’ she says.
‘The young girls and the prosthetics. Seeing the bodies. They looked so real. Obviously having a real person actually lying their shackled. It does take a while to get over it. You have to keep reminding yourself that you’re making TV.’
Making TV and motherhood. Andrea has clearly them down to a fine art.
Feature first published in the Lady magazine