We haven’t seen much of Hayley Mills on TV since she was trying to control an incorrigible husband in Wild At Heart. As refined Englishwoman Caroline in ITV’s vets-in-Africa drama, she’d lost her heart to an irascible Afrikaans bushman called Du Plessis, played by Deon Stewardson.
This week Hayley’s back on our screens as another character with man trouble. In the new series of the daily afternoon drama strand Moving On, Hayley stars in a one-off performance as Madge, a 60-something widow whose happy life with boyfriend Eric (Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan) conceals a dark secret.
Despite their four-year relationship she hasn’t told Eric the truth – that she’s not really widowed. Her husband, Mike (Kenneth Cranham), is in jail over a road rage incident and when she visits him every week, she lies to Eric that she is a voluntary prison visitor. Both men think they’re the only loves of Madge’s life.
“She’s dug herself in so deep and all the time she’s thinking, ‘It will be all right. I’ll find a way out’,” explains Hayley, 68, in the Daily Express. “Each time, when the moment presented itself to tell them, Madge lacked the courage. She couldn’t do it because she’d have to devastate two people.
“Moving On was a joy from start to finish, although I don’t remember working so hard before,” adds Hayley. “Madge is a very real sort of person. Maybe I would have done the same if I had been in her position – when I was younger!”
Watch a clip from Hayley’s episode “Madge” here.
Moving On, BBC1, Monday, November 10, 2.15pm