Wild at Heart’s Dawn Steele talks to TV Times magazine about quitting life in South Africa and ITV1’s Wild at Heart (Sunday) to concentrate on her new role as a mum…

What was it like knowing that you were only going to be in the first episode in the new series of Wild at Heart?
“I did feel sad that I wouldn’t be in the rest of the series, but then I’ve got bigger fish to fry!”

What was behind your decision to come back to London?
“I wanted to have my baby in the UK and not in Africa. I had ante natal appointments over there, and they were great, the hospitals are beautiful, but, you know, expensive. They don’t have an NHS and that’s one of the overriding reasons why I came back. Plus, by the time I’d had my baby, what with regulations about flying with a newborn and that, we’d have still been out there in January when filming had finished and everyone had gone home. It was all too complicated that way.”

In November, you had your daughter Coco with your partner Paul Blair. How are you finding being a mum?
“I’m tired, but I’m enjoying it!”

What did the Wild at Heart team say when you told them you were pregnant?
“They were brilliant about it, and really supportive. They decided just to carry on the storyline a few weeks from where we left off last year, which was handy, and my bump was the perfect size.”

With being pregnant on set, did you have to be quite careful about being near South Africa’s wildlife?
“I didn’t do much with animals in the episode as the script didn’t require it as they were sensitive to that. We used a tiger, but it was prosthetic. There was one scene where I was going to hold a vulture, but we decided against that because I’ve done a bit of vulture holding before and it was really difficult and pretty scary. Plus you’ve got to have real strength to hold a vulture because they’re so heavy and you’ve got to be careful of them pecking your eyes out!”

Has the door been left open for you to return?
“I’d love to go back if I have the chance. I’ve not been written out and Alice isn’t dead!”

Have your Wild at Heart co-stars given you any gifts for Coco?
“They bought me lovely gifts before I left including a top of the range baby monitor, so I was quite spoilt. And I got a lovely bracelet from Hayley, while Stephen sent a cuddly zebra!”