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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Norris role 'an act of remembrance'

Published 01/04/2014 | 09:52

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Hermione Norris plays a First World War nurse in The Crimson Field

Hermione Norris has said that filming new First World War drama The Crimson Field felt like an act of remembrance.

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The Spooks actress, 47, stars as hospital matron Grace Carter in the six-part BBC One ensemble drama set in an army hospital, where the staff attempt to heal men wounded in the trenches.

Cold Feet star Hermione told Radio Times magazine: "My father's father fought in the First World War, and lost brothers to it.

"When I was perhaps four, he took a fall one day. He sat on the floor in my grandmother's flat calling out to the boys in the trenches, and asking me to come and hold his hand.

"He was 20 years older than my grandmother. He used to have to go to the hospital every year to have the shrapnel in his leg tended to - it used to rise to the surface. I don't think he spoke about the war - they didn't - but if he became confused, it would come out that way."

She said: "The human sacrifice made by my grandfather's generation in the name of duty was extraordinary. It is important to acknowledge and remember it. The fact that my grandparents were of that generation means that to me the First World War feels not long ago."

Hermione said of filming the drama: "For me, every day on the set felt like a small act of remembrance. I don't think it's crass to attach an extra sense of responsibility to it because of the subject matter.

"Playing an MI5 agent in Spooks, I knew there was a bit of silliness in it, running around and saving the world.

"But with this, more than anything I've ever worked on, I felt a sense of conscience that the experiences of the men and women of that generation should be honoured respectfully in what we were doing."

Her co-star Suranne Jones, who plays Sister Joan Livesey, said that she had " little idea" of the sacrifice made by women in field hospitals before she joined the drama.

"Many of the injured men had post-traumatic stress, about which almost nothing was understood. They were calling for their mothers. The role of the nurse - putting them back together physically and mentally, or being with them until their last moment and then writing a letter home - was hugely emotionally demanding," she told the magazine.

"They gave such care and love and support when they were tired, understaffed, and very cold in winter. Now our lives are all about consumerism, choice, ease of everything. We don't know we're born."

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