Single Handed: Episode 2

Sunday, 9 August 2009, 9:00PM – 11:00PM

Caroline Catz decided to ask Doc Martin co-star Martin Clunes for advice on playing a TV doctor in the second episode of SINGLE-HANDED, before remembering her own dad was a GP.

“I did speak to Martin hoping to get some handy hints about dialogue and how to behave like a doctor – he reminded me isn’t actually a real doctor! Then I remembered my dad was a GP so I gave him a call instead. He was really helpful but he wasn’t a TV doctor…”

Filming SINGLE-HANDED reunited Caroline with the team behind The Vice, an ITV drama in which she starred for five series.

“I was so pleased they asked me to do the role. There are resonances of The Vice in Single-Handed in that they are dark, psychological tales based on things that are very real. But there is also a lot of humanity and warmth underneath all of that. It is not just bleak for the sake of bleak. There is always something in it which is human and brilliant. I think Barry Simner is a fantastic writer.”

Talking about the rgion where they filmed, Caroline says: “They are amazing people, really welcoming and warm. There are some fantastic pubs, and what I loved about them was that they all had these peat fires, and were burning these clods of peat. The smell of the peat fire… I had never had that experience before. The warmth is different too. When I got home I managed to find some peat briquettes to burn on our fire at home. It really did bring back those memories. What I didn’t realise was that all families that live in Connemara have their own piece of bog, and each family go and take as much peat as they need , dry it out and use it on their fire.”

So, are there any similarities between Dr Maggie Hunter, her character in SINGLE-HANDED, and head teacher Louisa Glasson who she plays in ratings winning Doc Martin.

“They are both very principled characters. Maggie is having a relationship with the local sergeant, Jack Drsicoll. Not everybody knows about this relationship between the two of them. It is early stages and she makes the decision not to tell him something important about two of her patients because she is protecting them through patient confidentiality. In the end that gets in the way of their relationship because it is a vital piece of missing information about the case. They want to try and have a relationship, but there’s no way of him disengaging from the intensity of his job. So, another troubled romance; another similarity with Louisa.”

In the penultimate episode of SINGLE-HANDED when a toddler is snatched from his home, Sergeant Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) is handed charge of the investigation three days after a county-wide search is scaled down.

As concern for the boy mounts, Jack is shocked to discover that his new lover, Dr Maggie Hunter (Caroline Catz), has concealed information about the toddler’s parents, on the grounds of patient confidentiality.

Meanwhile, a national Tribunal into allegations of police corruption has reached this remote corner of Western Ireland, and Jack’s father, former Garda Sergeant Gerry Driscoll (Ian McElhinney) has been called to account. Gerry’s life is further complicated when an unwanted ghost from the past, Malachy Doran (Mark Lambert), turns up.

It is Jack’s diligence and compassion that ultimately cracks the case. Gerry meanwhile feels the noose of his own making tightening around his neck…

SINGLE-HANDED is made by Touchpaper Television, part of the RDF Media Group. It is written by Barry Simner (The Vice, Midsomer Murders, Holby City), directed by Colm McCarthy (Spooks, Murphy’s Law) and Anthony Byrne (Wild Decembers) and produced by Clare Alan (A Harlot’s Progress, Wild Decembers, A Most Mysterious Murder). Rob Pursey (Being Human, Murderland, City of Vice) is the executive producer.

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