Eve Myles with her real-life husband, Bradley Freegard, who plays the elusive Evan in Keeping Faith
She may have had huge success as Torchwood’s Gwen Cooper and starred in hit dramas Broadchurch and Victoria, but Eve Myles was all set to give up acting – until she got the call to play the lead role in new eight-part thriller Keeping Faith.
“When you’ve been doing something for 20 years you can get a little bit stuck and I was certainly feeling in a rut,” reveals the 39-year-old actress.
“I remember saying to my friend, who was also the midwife for both my daughters, ‘I’m thinking of studying to be a midwife’ and she turned to me and went, ‘Eve, nobody wants to be in the midst of labour and look down and see Gwen Cooper in between their legs!’
“That kind of knocked the idea on the head for me. Then Keeping Faith came along, which was just the change I needed.”
Keeping Faith is the latest in a spate of successful Welsh noir dramas, and stars Eve as Faith Howells, a mum of three and lawyer with her husband Evan’s family firm whose life is turned upside down when Evan (played by Eve’s real-life husband Bradley Freegard), goes missing out of the blue one Wednesday morning.
“It’s about a woman who has all the odds stacked against her and is trying to survive with three young babes,” explains Eve. “She has a regular family life until her husband wakes up in the morning, has his normal coffee, kisses his children goodbye and never comes home.”
Faith finds a wig and fake ID in Evan’s wardrobe, but she becomes a suspect in the case when it is revealed their law firm is £60,000 in debt and that Evan had taken out a £1.25million life insurance policy. Both these facts make her a suspect in the eyes of DI Sue Williams (Eiry Thomas), and the mystery deepens when there’s a mysterious break-in at the company’s offices and a menacing man appears at Faith’s house late at night.
“The situation almost breaks her mentally and physically, and her life is changed forever,” says Eve. “It’s a story of secrets and betrayal but also of her fight for the truth.”
Originally shown in Welsh on S4C and in English on BBC Wales (as Un Bore Mercher), the drama was filmed simultaneously in both languages (which required Eve to learn her native tongue) and the drama became a sensation when it broke BBC iPlayer records with more than 9.5 million downloads.
“I was so surprised by that,” admits Eve, who was recently seen as ill-fated Welsh widow Gwen Parry-Jones in BBC1’s A Very English Scandal. “It’s been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on. Not just learning Welsh, but taking on a lead role because I’m a mum of two young girls, so I had to find time for my family.”
So how was it working with her real-life husband, Bradley Freegard, as the elusive Evan?
“It was a bit weird kissing him on set,” she laughs. “It’s also strange when you’ve been searching for Evan all day while filming and then you come home and he’s just sitting there with his feet up and a cup of tea!”
Keeping Faith, starring Eve Myles, starts on Thursday on BBC1 at 9pm.
Main pic: Photo by Jonathan Hordle/BAFTA/REX/Shutterstock