Nicola Walker has detailed how she was personally “affected” by her character DCI Cassie Stuart’s heartrending storyline in ITV’s cold case series Unforgotten season four.
The upcoming season, co-starring Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan, will prove a particularly challenging season for Cassie, as her petition to retire early effectively fails and she must return to the force, in addition to coping with her father’s ailing health.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Walker said that she felt “huge, huge empathy for what Cassie’s going through” in the latest season, and described carrying the character with her until the end of filming.
Asked if she had been impacted by Cassie’s new storyline, she said: “Yeah I always think I’m not affected by it, and then it usually takes your families to tell you that you’re affected by it in the way you’re behaving towards them during filming… If you’re affected by it – and you will be with a storyline like Cassie’s – but what you want is for that to show on camera. You want that to show in the acting, not in real-life.
“I do understand the separation between those two things, and I feel huge huge empathy for what Cassie’s going through. But you keep that – you try to keep that [as] that’s your job to do that, but you do feel – yeah, you sort of carry them with you for the duration of filming because it’s your job to look after that character. And there is a feeling of something coming off your shoulders when the job ends.”
Filming for season four was stalled due to lockdown restrictions, and series creator Chris Lang recently spoke about the delays to production.
“When Unforgotten Three broadcast in the summer of 2018, and we were immediately asked to make series four, Nicola, Sanjeev and I, went out for lunch and all agreed that although we were delighted to be making another series, we needed a short break to recharge our batteries. Which is why we did not end up going into pre-production on series four till October 2019, to start filming in January 2020.
“Oh. If only we had known,” he said, before adding: “When lockdown happened, we were 11 weeks in to shooting and just four weeks shy of completing principal photography. So near and yet so far – suddenly those four extra weeks I took off to learn macramé now seemed absurd. More absurd even than they seemed at the time.”