ITV’s new drama Trauma sees actress Lyndsey Marshal play the mother of a boy who is stabbed and subsequently dies in hospital. Here she explains why the plot hit particularly close to home while she was filming…
When you first meet my character Susie, her son is in the trauma unit and she has to stay strong for her family while her husband spirals out of control. I have two young sons — one is five years old, the other is one and a half. This was one of my first jobs after having my second child, so it was easy to access the emotions Susie might feel and put myself in her position.
I live in Tufnell Park, which is a nice area of north London, but there were five stabbings there over Christmas. You can’t help but think: “Oh God, should I bring my family up outside London? Or is that running away?”
Having boys rather than girls, too, makes it more of a worry. People’s sons are always getting mugged — and anyone can pick up a knife and leave the house. When I was growing up in Manchester there were gangs, and there was a big gun problem, but now it’s all about knives, which weirdly, I find more frightening.
I first worked with Mike Bartlett on a radio play about 15 years ago and one of the things he explores in Trauma is the crisis point we are at with our NHS. Every part of you wants to believe that a doctor is giving everything to your child, but how many trauma cases have they seen that day? The stress they’re under means some doctors haven’t had a break for 14 hours.
It also explores the relationship you have with the person looking after you, which is total pot luck. When I had my first child, the experience with my midwife was awful, but the second time I had a much better connection with the man who delivered my child. When you have children, your whole life and priorities change. They become everything. Playing a mother who’s lost her son, I feel so lucky to have my own — I come home and hug them tighter. As told to Sarah Carson