It’s a highly anticipated psychological thriller, but for actor Jason Watkins, it was an opportunity to deliver the most poignant and personal performance of his career.
In The Catch, based on the best-selling novel by The Holiday author TM Logan, Jason harnesses the raw grief of losing his own daughter to play a bereaved father in the tense four-part Channel 5 drama which airs tomorrow .
It was in 2011 when Maude, the two-year-old daughter of Jason and his wife, Clara Francis, tragically died of sepsis. Jason found Maude, who was suffering from the flu, dead in her bed on New Years morning. Despite two visits to the hospital, her flu symptoms masked the sepsis and she was not diagnosed.
Although the couple are strong campaigners for raising awareness of sepsis and its symptoms, it wasn’t until a little over a year ago that Clara was finally able to watch videos of their beloved daughter and Jason chose to play a role that reflects his own life. In an emotional twist, it’s been 12 years since Maude died and in the script, 11 years have passed since Ed and Claire Collier’s tragedy of losing their son, Josh.
It’s a highly anticipated psychological thriller, but for actor Jason Watkins (pictured), it was the chance to deliver the most poignant and personal performance of his career.
It was in 2011 when Maude, (pictured) the two-year-old daughter of Jason and his wife, Clara Francis, tragically died of sepsis. Jason found Maude, who was suffering from the flu, dead in her bed on New Years morning
“You are the sum of your past in so many ways. As a family we also lost a child so I really understand the feelings of Ed’s character and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to to play the role because it’s plotted so well in the series. It’s a painful journey, but you feel like you have something to share and you can, through drama, illuminate what it is than being in this tough place,” says Jason, who is best known for his BAFTA-winning role in Christopher Jefferies’ The Lost Honor and as Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Crown.
“As anyone who has lost a child would say, you don’t want to be a victim, you want to make the loss of your child meaningful and meaningful to someone. In theatre, we have the chance to explore our feelings, to tell them and, through the very process of telling a story, to reflect on our own life and on the lives of others who have experienced similar tragedies.
“My wife and I are trying to help families come to terms with what happened and take it with them, not bury it.” I talk a lot to fathers about not burying what happened and being able to talk about it. So not only is it a process of sharing and talking to the audience, but also doing that between our characters in the drama.
In the thriller, 60-year-old Jason portrays Ed, a proud husband, father, and local fisherman who is determined to do whatever it takes to keep his family together. But when wealthy, handsome young man Ryan Wilson, played by Peaky Blinders star Aneurin Barnard, begins dating his daughter Abbie (Poppy Gilbert) and threatens to drive her away from him, Ed’s life spirals out of control. Plus, he harbors a dark secret that comes back to haunt him.
“He’s seen as closed off, which he is, because he hid all his feelings about their son Josh who died and bottled up all those emotions, which happens a lot,” says Jason, who has dedicated its 2015 BAFTA award to Maud and is a patron of Child Bereavement UK.
“In all the work I do with other families who have lost children, my experience is that it’s often the man who struggles to share and shuts down. Ed has this underlying problem anyway, besides being unable to share a secret with his wife. No wonder Claire is furious and frustrated, and their marriage is in real trouble.
“People need to talk, however difficult and painful it is, with someone – someone close or someone not close – because keeping it locked inside will undoubtedly destroy you, and above all, the people around you. And that is also what this drama is about.
In the thriller, 60-year-old Jason portrays Ed, a proud husband, father, and local fisherman who is determined to do whatever it takes to keep his family together. He is depicted as Ed alongside Abbie in episode 3 of The Catch
But when wealthy, handsome young man Ryan Wilson, played by Peaky Blinders star Aneurin Barnard, begins dating his daughter Abbie (Poppy Gilbert) and threatens to drive her away from him, Ed’s life spirals out of control.
Set on the hauntingly beautiful coastline of South West England, this thriller drama revolves around themes of toxic masculinity and heartbreak. Although Ed is an average man, just touching the surface exposes a torrent of turbulent emotions, which his wife Claire, played by Cathy Belton, achieves. ‘
“There’s a lot of turmoil under the surface of anyone who’s been through this type of trauma and it’s been tested all the way through,” says Jason, who is shooting a documentary for ITV later this year about sepsis and bereavement. ‘a child in which he talks about his own heartache.
“When people go through a crisis in their life, it’s often a combination of issues. You can deal with one problem and decide how to solve it, but when you have more than one, that’s where people struggle and can lead to crisis areas. That’s what happens with Ed. You have to try to separate the problems, then you are able to solve them. Sometimes, when there is a crisis, you have to let yourself be carried away by life.
“There’s a scene where Claire cares a lot about Ed, who has become wrapped up in his problems and has forgotten about everyone. He stopped asking for help and imploded, which happened when their son Josh is dead. We put in a line for Claire where she says, “Well, I lost a child too, don’t forget.” That’s really important.
Irish actress Cathy, 53, agrees: “I find those scenes we have together where we have to talk about our child was almost unbearable watching Jason.
“I have never worked with someone who has been so generous in sharing their own personal story with me. I found it really difficult to look into the pools of their eyes and with someone who was so generous in their listening and that is his own personal story.
It’s an emotionally charged drama that also raises relevant moral questions, such as how should we be judged by the actions of our distant past and when should we stop blaming others for the lives we’ve led. ?
“I’ve always loved thrillers and The Catch has all the ingredients to keep audiences hooked. Three-dimensional characters, a tense family unit, with tragedy at its core – all framed brilliantly within the thriller genre. I’m always looking for roles that I may not have played before and Ed is a person in extremis, trying to do what is best.Failing and succeeding in equal measure.
- The Catch starts on Channel 5 on Wednesday January 25 at 9 p.m.