Torchwood star Eve Myles talks to Russell Baillie about the wild ride that the sci-fi show has given her.
What was your initial reaction when you were told the fourth series would be this US-UK mega-production?
I was eight months pregnant at the time. Thank God I couldn't drink, I would have been drunk for a fortnight. It was absolutely crazy ... .and for me and John Barrowman to be involved and not to recast characters was a testament to the producers y'know? It's been an amazing ride. Taking it over to Hollywood there was a massive sense that "okay it's the fourth series but we need to make it as if it was the first. We need to make it massive" and hopefully that is what we have achieved.
Had you wanted to do a fourth season anyway?
Once you are on a drama for such a long time, especially for a fourth season, you kind of know what you are going to be doing. You kind of know what to expect and it stops challenging you and it becomes a little stale and that is why most series don't go over four and five. Because no one really wants to do it anymore. But luckily Julie [Gardner, producer] and Russell keep scaring the arse off me and John, so we love it.
Quite aside from the new setting, a largely new supporting cast must have made it feel new too.
Yeah, that's such a help having fresh blood come in and have them enjoy it with us, especially this year with the cast. I hope I got my lines out okay because I was so starstruck most of the time. Like, Lauren Ambrose [from Six Feet Under who plays scheming PR consultant Jilly Kitzinger], I think she's literally got an injunction out on me because all I did was stand by her and stare. I'm a complete fangirl myself, pretending to be cool.
Wales has had some famous exports to Hollywood over the years but what has the success of Torchwood done for Wales?
Yeah, it's really put it on the map, massively. The Welsh tourist board can't be more grateful because Torchwood uses the shots of the coastline, the mountains - and all the aliens we have and all the deadly goings on. It's also shown who the Welsh are, making the Welsh as real as possible on telly. We are not this stupid comedy nation. We are a bunch of smart, proud, passionate people who love showing off their country.
And done for you?
I can't quite put it into words. There isn't a second that goes by when I am doing my job where I don't grab hold of every inch of it and try to absorb it and enjoy it more. Because it is massive. It's huge. When I'm not on the job I am talking about the job - and all I talk about is Gwen Cooper. She is such an exciting iconic female heroine. She's incredible. I hope I never ever take it for granted.
Was it harder to play her on this one?
After all, she's had a baby, she was trying to get away from everything that Torchwood brought her ...If they didn't keep challenging the character I wouldn't go back to playing her. They've thrown bigger things at Gwen Cooper this year. They've made her a mother, a wife, a daughter and also team leader with Jack Harkness. She has a love-hate relationship with this organisation. But it's the most exciting time of her life. She's a truthful lady and she doesn't have any superpowers. She's just an ordinary woman with an extraordinary job in extraordinary circumstances with the weight of the world and the human race on her shoulders. I think she's doing pretty well.
Where could it go next?
I thought after season three "how do you top something like that?" If you can't top the last series then don't come back. But what we try and do every year is tell a different story. Some people might like the more alien stuff, some people might like the more domestic stuff but you get something different every year. You can't ever say it will be boring or samey. As long as there is Russell T. Davies there is life in Torchwood.
Well, with John Barrowman's many talents, it could always be Torchwood The Musical.
Well, we've been asked about that and he is the king. Me on the other hand, I think there would be more horror and fear in an episode where I tried singing than there would be in the entirety of Torchwood. I wouldn't put anyone through the horror of of my voice. Apparently it upsets John Barrowman, it's so bad. I am probably the only Welsh person who can't hold a tune. I think I can but people tell me it's awful. So I believe them.
Who: Eve Myles who stars as Torchwood's Gwen Cooper
What: Torchwood Miracle Day, the fourth series of the Doctor Who spin-off
When and where: Screens tonight, Prime 9.35pm