Monroe star Sarah Parish talks about her new series and tells TV Times magazinewhy she’s decided now’s the time to take a step back from the day job…

What do you think of the series?

“They showed me the beginning of episode one, and I was almost in tears! This has never happened to me before, but it is so beautiful and so incredibly different and intelligent. and filmic and epic. It was like nothing I’d seen on television; I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m incredibly proud to be in this!'”

How did you prepare for your role as a surgeon?

“I went to watch heart surgeon and friend Marcus Haw, at work. He is a wonderful surgeon. He very kindly let me come in to watch a mitral valve replacement and a heart bypass. It was quite awe-inspiring. It is incredible what they do and how confident they are. They would be talking like us now about what they had for lunch. I was like, ‘No, concentrate!’ But there is not one minute where you don’t feel safe. You know every single person there is so brilliantly trained. It is not like you see in films, there is no panic in the theatre.”

What attracted you to the role in the beginning?

“The writer Peter Bowler. His writing has a very sharp edge to it, sometimes it’s incredibly un-politically correct, and it hasn’t got that earnestness that a lot of hospital dramas have. That’s what we wanted to get away from,. We didn’t want to tug on people’s heartstrings. The situations themselves are heartbreaking; you don’t need to make them more so. The reality of situations like that, which I’m sure all of us have been in, is that at the time there aren’t that many tears. It is all quite confusing – and sometimes hilarious.”

What is next for you?

“My husband James Murray is doing a series for CBS out in Vancouver, called Chaos. So now it is my turn to be out of work and be his ‘set wife’. I have never had to do that before, and I’ve got to be honest, it will be a real suck-it-and-see experience. We have a nanny, who is great, but we try to take turns with working so that one of us is always with Nel. It would be very difficult if Jim was in Canada and I was working back home for the next few months. I don’t think that would work as a family. I think it is important for me to go to Vancouver and sit out for a bit. I had a busy year last year, and it will be good to let Jim do his thing. For the next couple of months, I will be hanging out with Nel, being a mum, and we’ll have a great time.”

Monroe continues Thursday April 7 at 9pm on ITV1.