Emily Watson on playing a psychiatrist broken down by her patient in 'Too Close'

Emily Watson and Denise Gough star in Too Close.
Emily Watson plays forensic psychiatrist, Dr Emma Robertson in ITV thriller Too Close. (Image credit: ITV)

Emily Watson, (Chernobyl and Apple Tree Yard), stars as forensic psychiatrist, Doctor Emma Robertson, in ITV's new three-part thriller, Too Close, which will air over three consecutive nights starting on Monday 12 April. 

When a mother, called Connie Mortensen (played by award-winning stage actress, Denise Gough), commits an unthinkable crime, shockwaves ripple around the country and Connie is quickly dubbed the "Yummy Mummy Monster". However Connie maintains she can’t remember a thing about the night of her heinous crime.  

As she faces trial, Doctor Emma Robertson, is brought in to find out the truth and assess Connie's state of mind, but doctor Emma is hiding her own secrets and soon finds herself drawn in by her manipulative, astute and deeply damaged patient.

Emily Watson and Denise Gough star in Too Close

Denise Gough and Emily Watson star in ITV's new 3-part psychological thriller, Too Close  (Image credit: ITV)

Here Emily Watson tells us about her compelling role, filming on location in a disused women's prison and working with her co-star, Denise Gough...

Tell us about your character in Too Close and what drew you to the role of Emma? 

Emily Watson: "The part of Emma is an actor’s dream. She’s one of those people where it’s like unpeeling an onion. She’s someone who appears to be very professional and at the top of her game but something has happened in Emma’s past and she’s been carrying an enormous burden. She becomes less and less able to keep the facade going. She’s disintegrating and it’s all going to come crashing down, the whole pack of cards."

Emily Watson in Too Close

Emily Watson plays Doctor Emma Robertson who is hiding her own secrets (Image credit: ITV)

What research did you do for the role of Emma in Too Close?  

"I spoke to a consultant called Sarah Hewitt who is a forensic psychologist herself. It takes 15 or so years to get to that level of speciality and experience. She was brilliant to talk to. She was quite open with me about some of the cases she has dealt with and it was very strong stuff."

The psychiatric unit scenes were all filmed at the former women’s prison, HMP Holloway in London. What was that like? 

"Very intense. Just being there you get a sense of all these women with ruined lives, it was a very powerful crucible to be in."

Denise Gough plays Connie and Thalissa Teixeira plays Vanessa in Too Close

 Connie Mortensen (played by Denise Gough) who forms an intense relationship with her neighbour Vanessa (Thalissa Teixeira). (Image credit: ITV)

How did you find working with Denise Gough who plays Emma's deeply disturbed prison patient, Connie? 

"I first met Denise when she was in Apple Tree Yard. She was one of the witnesses in the court case and she was just brilliant and so I went to see her in her play People, Places and Things and I was blown away. I really looked forward to those intense interview scenes between Connie and Emma. We work in very similar ways. We like a lot of discussion beforehand about the undercurrents and the background to everything."

Emily Watson in Too Close

Dr Emma with her patient Connie Mortensen (Denise Gough) (Image credit: ITV)

Sue Tully, who many will know best from her EastEnders days playing Michelle Fowler, was the director. What was it like working with her?

"She was terrific. She's just got this total no-nonsense approach, we’re all here to serve the same story, and because she’s been an actress herself, there was no mystery to her about the process. I loved her from the off."

You've played very intense roles in the past in dramas like Chernobyl, Appropriate Adult and Apple Tree Yard, would you ever like to do something lighter, like comedy? 

"I'd love to. I've never done out and out comedy. It would be great but I wouldn’t be as sure-footed as I am with doing drama like this."

Too Close begins on ITV on Monday 12 April

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.