As Kay Mellor’s parenting drama In the Club returns to BBC1 on Tuesday (May 3), it looks like motherhood could be putting one relationship in jeopardy, as Katherine Parkinson – who plays Kim – reveals…
How is Kim adjusting to being a new mother to Emily as In The Club returns?
“Kim’s trying to hang on to the babyhood of her baby, so she’s not weaning Emily off breastfeeding and she doesn’t like anyone else holding her, including Neil. She hasn’t been thinking about herself at all and she’s been a bit of a ‘martyr mum’.”
What does she need to do to change things?
“Like lots of new mums, Kim needs to rediscover herself and reclaim the identity she had before she had Emily. She needs to get to that stage where she wants to buy herself some new clothes, put on some lipstick and have sex again!”
Do we see Kim learning to ‘let go’ in the first episode?
“Some of the other women from Parentcraft antenatal class try to help her see that she’s got to get a bit more balance and respect her relationship a bit more.”
Last year, Kim wrote all about the trials and tribulations of pregnancy in an online blog. Is she still writing it?
“Yes! None of the other mums are reading it though – Diane (Jill Halfpenny) hasn’t had time, Roanna (Hermione Norris) hasn’t had time. But Kim’s still writing it… she’s quite an honest person and quite upfront about everything, so I think she feels troubled when other people aren’t honest with her. And that definitely happens in episode one…”
Doesn’t she find out something about her ex-girlfriend, Susie (Tara Fitzgerald)?
“Kim’s very confused about the guilt she feels for leaving Susie at the end of the last series. But then we see that Susie’s actually moved on rather more quickly than Kim thought and that leaves her quite confused.”
We know there are some new characters this series, particularly Shelly, a young woman who has rented her womb to Andrew (Andrew Buckley) and his gay partner, Nathan (Paul Nicholls). Does Kim have any interaction with them?
“Not enough actually. I’m a big fan of the new characters; they’re really well written and I think they provide both wonderful comedy moments and dramatic moments. Also, there’s subtle overlap particularly among the ‘old’ gang, we’re often together – we’ve just filmed a scene where we’re all together at a party for Diane and Rick’s twins’ first birthday!”
You were pregnant with your second child, daughter Gwendolyn, during filming for series one of In The Club. Did this help with your own birth?
“I had a pretty good birth with Gwendolyn and I think that’s because working on the show was like extended birth training. We were getting lots of advice from midwives, lots of breathing workshops, and I swear it helped.
“I had a quick birth like Kim… so quick, I didn’t have time to get in the birthing pool unfortunately – I just about made it to the room!”
As a mother-of-two yourself, what do you think of ‘martyr mums’ like Kim?
“I found I could empathise a lot with it. You do get quite protective of your children – I know I wanted to be the only one holding my babies. Once I’ve finished filming, I’m always really keen to get home and see my children. My husband (actor Harry Peacock) is like that, too – it’s because kids are quite moreish aren’t they?”
Didn’t In The Club creator Kay Mellor suggest you have Gwendolyn playing your baby in the show?
“Yes! Well, actually I had suggested it, thinking: ‘Oh, that’s perfect, she’ll be with me all the time’. But then I realised the reality would be quite different. Gwendolyn’s quite an independent little girl already – she was walking at 10 months – so I think she would have been a handful. Also, I’m not sure I would have wanted to leave her at any point.”
What’s it like working with the babies on the show?
“The babies are great! One-year-old babies are really sweet – they’re different to newborns but, for my money, they’re even more fun. I think the babies on this show should have as much screen time as possible because they’re just lovely. It does make scenes quite tricky because they only want to do it when they want to do it, But it’s fun to hold them!”
What feedback did you get from people over the portrayal of same-sex partnerships?
“It was actually more unusual than I realised to have a lesbian relationship portrayed in a primetime drama. While I didn’t get feedback specifically related to being a lesbian in the show I think, generally, In The Club seemed to strike a chord and people really seemed to love it.
“In my career, I have actually played eight characters that happen to be lesbians and it’s never been a defining characteristic… except perhaps in the film The Boat That Rocked where my line was literally: ‘I am a lesbian!'”