In this week’s The A Word, the reason Louise has been keeping Maurice at arm’s length becomes horribly clear. She has breast cancer – and she wants to deal with it all by herself.
Louise (Pooky Quesnel) finally tells Maurice (Christopher Eccleston) what is really going on in a tense scene outside the brewery.
In his own way Maurice is in love with her after their fling in the last series, but has Louise got space for him in her life after that devastating diagnosis? Especially when the main thing on her mind is her son Ralph (Leon Harrop), who has Down’s Syndrome…
“I think she’s trying to control the situation,” Quesnel tells RadioTimes.com. “She’s a woman who’s used to being in control. She’s got Ralph, he’s her main priority, she’s a single parent: she’s coped on her own and she’s kind of streamlined her life, and that’s how it is now.
“So first of all, Maurice comes in in the last series and puts that out of kilter, and then the cancer comes along, and I think she just goes, ‘Right this is how I’m going to deal with it. I’m going to deal with it on my own, nobody will know, and I’ll just get on with my life and look after Ralph’.”
Maurice’s first wife died from cancer, so Louise’s diagnosis has added resonance. Luckily she’s caught the disease early after discovering a lump (though that’s not the only symptom of breast cancer!) – but this is going to be a rough journey for the two of them. And Louise has no patience for Maurice making her disease into his own issue.
Eccleston explains: “He’s making it about himself. We all do it. And she’s like, ‘No, mate, this isn’t your problem, this is my problem and that kid’s problem.’
“Maurice is micromanaging, and emotionally the impact is massive. Because he loves Louise, but also this is happening again and it’s too much for Louise, and he nearly loses her because of it. So he has to learn that this, what is happening to Louise is not about Maurice. It’s about Louise.”
Quesnel adds: “Maurice is quite a bull in a China shop, because of course in the previous series his wife has died from cancer.
“He’s got his own legacy from that, which is very emotionally complex for him – and also he’s not very emotionally articulate person. So he’s going to be struggling with that, and so she’s got to struggle with Maurice who’s got his issues and her own as well. So I think [writer] Pete [Bowker] has drawn quite a lot of humour out of that.”