Businesswoman Roanna left husband Ray for toyboy lover Simon in the last series of BBC1’s In The Club. They’re now parents to baby Sonny but, as the new series of the parenting drama continues on Tuesday, it seems life’s anything but domestic bliss for the couple, as Hermione Norris reveals…
It doesn’t seem that life’s a bed of roses for Roanna and her toyboy lover, Simon (Luke Thompson)…
“No, it’s not the fantasy of the little cosy cottage with open fires that they’d hoped for. The boiler doesn’t work, it’s freezing cold and the landlord won’t help. Roanna’s main focus now is on trying to get back to work so that they can find somewhere decent to live and she can provide for Sonny.”
We see Roanna going for job interviews this week – does she dress to impress?
“She’s trying really hard to be glamorous, but not doing terribly well. Though, luckily, she’s not on the Gaviscon any more!”
Roanna’s got lots of experience in business – so why does she struggle to get a new job?
“Roanna had her own business, but it’s like she’s gone right back to the beginning. As Roanna tries to get back into the workplace, she faces challenges from employers because she’s a mum to a newborn and because she’s an older woman.”
Roanna has two grown-up children – do you think she has any regrets about having another baby later in life?
“I think she regrets how complicated it all is, but she just adores her baby, so I don’t think she regrets having little Sonny for a minute, no.”
Roanna with toyboy lover Simon (Luke Thompson)
With money running out, Roanna calls on ex-husband Ray (John Marquez) for help, but wants to keep this secret from Simon. And, as the story unfolds, it seems this isn’t the only thing Roanna’s hiding…
“That’s right… Roanna finds herself in a real muddle and a mess. She ends up being thrown a bit of a curveball and it all gets very complicated.”
What’s it like working with the babies on the show?
“That’s been challenging… only because mine’s cottoned onto the fact he doesn’t like filming very much. We’ve usually got three babies per one on-screen child and we had quite a difficult day with one little chap who really didn’t want to be there at all. There’s one, though, little Lennie, that I’ve rather taken to, he’s a lovely little boy.”
Does it make you feel broody at all?
“Oh no, I’m done! I’ve got my two children and I’m too old now to even contemplate. If I’d started having children younger, I would have gone for four – but I literally couldn’t do that now.”
As a working mum, do you think it’s a struggle for women to juggle a career and children?
“It’s such a difficult thing for women to get that balance, but you don’t get the time back with your kids. It’s hard to be away from them; it’s excruciating. When work’s done I’m with my family – I learn my lines to and from work, so that my time with my children is not interrupted. For any woman who is working and trying to raise a family, it’s a real challenge.”
When you heard In The Club was returning for a second series, were you keen to get on board?
“I absolutely love working with and for Kay (Mellor, the show’s creator) – I just think she’s a fantastic ambassador for women. I think I’m probably her number one fan and I also like working with that particular group of women, Christine Bottomley (Vicky), Jill Halfpenny (Diane), Katherine Parkinson (Kim) and Taj Atwal (Jasmin). I honestly think it’s one of the nicest jobs I’ve done – they are fantastic people and it’s a real pleasure to work with them all.”
L-R: Taj Atwal (Jasmin), Hermione Norris (Roanna), Katherine Parkinson (Kim), Jill Halfpenny (Diane) and Christine Bottomley (Vicky)
Does this series feel different to series one?
“It does feel very different, yes. Every week, it was always somebody’s birth last time, so the drama focused on a particular couple, but now things are much more spread out. It’s not the same as before where they all meet at the antenatal class, but they do all get together at Christenings and, this week, at a party for Diane’s husband Rick, who’s getting out of prison!”
You’re currently filming the reboot of Cold Feet, after 13 years away. Why were you eager to get involved?
“Well, I thought enough time had passed to see where all the characters are now and I think to explore where that generation are in their lives will be interesting. I was keen to see what writer Mike Bullen had in store for us all.”