There She Goes star David Tennant: ‘People have been really touched’

David Tennant and Jessica Hynes star as the parents of a girl with severe learning disabilities as this BAFTA winning comedy returns for a second series...

Viewers cried with laughter and shed tears of sorrow when they first met young Rosie Yates back in 2018 and the second series of moving comedy There She Goes promises to be another rollercoaster of emotion!

Written by Shaun Pye with the help of his wife Sarah, the series is based on their lives with severely disabled daughter Jo, and has been moved from BBC4 to a new primetime slot on BBC2 after winning a BAFTA last year…

Rosie’s parents Simon (David Tennant) and Emily (Jessica Hynes) continue to face plenty of new challenges as we rejoin the Yates family 18 months later, not least when they attend a charity sports day at Rosie’s school in this week’s first episode.

We caught up with David and Jessica to find out more about a show that’s touched millions of viewers…

Where do we find the Yates family as we rejoin them this year in There She Goes?

Jessica – “They’re at a point where they’re beginning to get to the bottom of Rosie’s diagnosis and finally getting some finite answers about what her condition is. There’s an element of relief but they’re also coming to terms with the bottom line of their marriage as well. The few years leading up to this have been hard for Ben and Emily – and Rosie’s older brother Ben – and that’s reflected very honestly. It’s an exploration of a marriage that has gone through real challenges and is trying to stay alive.”

David – “The first series was about them realising something was wrong and the rest of the world refusing to acknowledge it. They’ve moved past that now and while there are some tough moments, this series definitely feels less bleak than the first.”

Were you surprised by Shaun’s bravery in the way he portrayed himself and his family?

David – “It’s admirable how honest he’s been about how rubbish he was at times and it’s something all parents will recognise. Even he admits that in the first draft of the script he was rather more heroic and Sarah his wife and co-writer read it and went ‘come on!’ It’s really hard to admit one’s own shortcomings in any aspect life, but particularly when it’s to do with being a parent when we’re all so desperate to get it right.”

Series creator Shaun Pye (seen here with Executive Producer Celia Mountford) based the show on his own experiences.

What kind of reactions have you had? Have people come up to you in the street and said how much they’ve loved it?

David – “People have been really touched by it in all sorts of different ways. Probably the most immediate powerful reactions are ones from families who recognise their own situation and feel like it has never been represented in this candid, truthful way before. But it’s also about being a parent and that’s why I think it’s such a special piece.”

Were you ever worried people might think the show was tasteless?

Jessica – “I think when something comes from such a place of goodness and love, it’s impossible to doubt its intentions. To do it in such a way that is also funny and warm and entertaining, is brilliant. It’s a groundbreaking show so it was always going to raise some questions.”

David – “Also we’re never laughing at Rosie. We may be laughing at her parents, but only in an empathetic way, because at every point you’re kind of going, ‘Oh my god that’s awful, I can imagine that I might end up doing that too in that set of circumstances,’ and that’s what makes it so heart-breaking as well. Sarah and Shaun have not written anything that didn’t happen, and it is quite easy to forget that sometimes. You’re on set going, ‘Maybe it would be funny if that happened’ but this is their life!”

You’ve both done some fantastic shows in your career, but where would you say this ranks in terms of things your proud of or projects you have done?

David – “Oh, pretty high. The fact that we both read this as a spec pilot script a long time ago…”

Jessica – “It was a taster, a couple of days filming just a bit of the script which we filmed at the beginning of 2018 just a couple of days as a taster for BBC4. We hadn’t read the rest of the script…”

David – “There was one script which had bits of all the way through of what became the first series, and that’s what we read, and they said if they cast it they’d let us do a couple of days. I think there was always a sense that commissioners were a little bit nervous about it for all sorts of reasons, probably quite rightly, and all the questions you were asking; can you do this sensitively, can it be on the right side of tasteful, can you find a girl who can tell that story brilliantly. Thanks goodness we found her!”

How did they find Miley Locke, who plays Rosie?

David – “There were lots of conversations about whether a child with this condition should pay the role, but they took professional advice and were told that wouldn’t be fair. So they did an audition process and she studied videos of Jo to get it just right.”

Jessica – “It’s extraordinary watching her work because she sort of channels her, really. Miley is only ten and she makes it look easy, but what she’s doing isn’t easy at all. It’s a real feat of real dramatic skill. She’s really talented. Jo loves watching the show as well and gets excited to see Miley!”

The second series of There She Goes starts at 9.30 on Thursday 9th July on BBC2.

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