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Dead keen on Devon

PUBLISHED: 11:30 28 December 2015

Claire Goose with her co-star in The Coroner Matt Bardock, who plays detective Davey Higgins

Claire Goose with her co-star in The Coroner Matt Bardock, who plays detective Davey Higgins

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BBC daytime crime drama The Coroner has hit our screens after months filming in the most beautiful parts of Devon and it certainly left an impression with its star Claire Goose as Kate Haskell discovers

Claire Goose in character as Jane Kennedy, the high-flying lawyers who returns to Devon in the BBC series The CoronerClaire Goose in character as Jane Kennedy, the high-flying lawyers who returns to Devon in the BBC series The Coroner

Claire Goose first came to our attention in the 1990s playing Tina Seabrook in the long running medical drama Casualty on BBC1 and it was here that I first met Claire some 20 years ago. Of course I drop this casually into our conversation expecting some sort of muted, disinterested response but instead, what is clearly rather typical of Claire’s warm and bubbly personality, she giggles with delight. Whilst she obviously wouldn’t remember me, as I was just a lowly extra wandering around in the background trying to look like a doctor and waiting for my big break; she doesn’t let on that she doesn’t remember me at all!

I think it would be fair to say that Claire is one of those actresses who constantly works, is instantly recognisable but perhaps hasn’t yet had her own vehicle in which to show off her acting skills which have been finely honed through starring in dramas such as The Bill, Waking the Dead and New Tricks.

Well, The Coroner has changed all that; it may have been scheduled in BBC daytime but the series, written by Sally Abbott, deserves a more prime time billing. For a start instead of following the usual detective or forensic scientist we are drawn into the world of a coroner and it was this unusual take that drew Claire to the role: “I had never come across this in a script before and had never really thought about the job of a coroner so I was really interested to find out more. We had a real life coroner on set making sure we were accurate at all times.”

Being aired in a daytime slot there are obviously certain things in a crime drama that couldn’t be shown but Claire explains: “it was a challenge with what we could show in relation to the deaths but actually we just imply, leaving everything else to your imagination.”

The cast of The Coroner in another iconic Devon location: 'Cornwall has been used loads in the past, but not Devon; however we were very pleased to be one of the first to do so for a crime drama and I just know more will want to follow after seeing this series'The cast of The Coroner in another iconic Devon location: 'Cornwall has been used loads in the past, but not Devon; however we were very pleased to be one of the first to do so for a crime drama and I just know more will want to follow after seeing this series'

In all honesty though Devon was the real star of this drama stealing the limelight from its neighbour Cornwall for a change and Claire clearly fell in love with the county during the four-month shoot: “We couldn’t understand why Devon is not used more for locations because it is just so stunning and diverse. Cornwall has been used loads in the past, but not Devon; however we were very pleased to be one of the first to do so for a crime drama and I just know more will want to follow after seeing this series.”

In other productions Claire is usually filming in the depths of winter in the cold and dark in some deserted wasteland so to be here in the summer was a real treat: “I think we only had ten days of rain in a four-month shoot so we definitely got the best of Devon and there were so many amazing places we visited. I totally fell in love with Hope Cove from the way you drive to it through the little lanes to the fantastic breakwater and surrounding hills; it was just breathtaking.”

It sounds like the whole crew enjoyed a bit of holiday whilst working and Claire admits it was tricky going back to London afterwards: “We all had massive withdrawal symptoms when we got back and it took a good month to get back into full on city life.”

Juggling acting with also being a mum to two young children isn’t always easy, especially in such a demanding role and Claire found it tough being away from her daughters: “I did commute at weekends but with my eldest at school it wasn’t always possible for them to come down to me but they did have a half term and that week we went exploring. We visited Blackpool Sands and went crabbing and then discovered the Oyster Shack which I have to say is just heaven!”

Sounds like another tough day at the office!

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