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Soaps Interview

'Doctors' star Danielle Henry talks Mandy, Freya, more - interview

By
Danielle Henry

© ITV/Rex Features

Doctors added newcomer Mandy Marquez to its regular cast at the beginning of the year - shaking up life for established character Freya Wilson.

Viewers have seen Mandy and Freya (Lu Corfield) fall for each other over the past few months, but it's been far from plain sailing for the pair thanks to Freya's insecurities and indecisiveness.

Digital Spy recently chatted to actress Danielle Henry, who plays Mandy, to hear about life at Doctors and more...

How are you settling in at Doctors?
"It's going really well! I had some preconceptions when I first joined, because I'd appeared on the show as a guest artist in 2005. I could remember how quickly they all worked, so I thought it would be quite a stressful environment because the cast and crew haven't got a lot of time.

"But it turned out that it's just the opposite of that - everyone is so chilled out. Everyone keeps their head down and gets on with the job - it's a show where everyone mucks in. I'm really, really loving being here."

How welcoming have the cast been?
"Really welcoming - it's like a real family here. That includes the crew and the producers too. I've never worked anywhere before where the producers' doors are always open for you to have a chat. It's really friendly and there's no stuffy hierarchy here."

Lu Corfield, Danielle Henry, Doctors
As you've worked with Lu Corfield before, was it nice to have a familiar face on set?
"Definitely - she's been an absolutely massive help as I've been settling in. We were friends before I joined Doctors, so it was really odd when I came in to play her girlfriend. As much as I was looking forward to working with Lu again, it's a really strange situation to kiss one of your mates!

"Lu is just amazing, though - she's the sort of actress who makes you raise your game in a scene. I'm so chuffed that she's been nominated for 'Best Newcomer' at the British Soap Awards, because she really, really deserves it."

How do you describe Mandy to people?
"Mandy has more confidence in her personal life than she does with her career, so she's the opposite of Freya in that respect. She has a big circle of friends, she's very outgoing, and she doesn't really care what people think about her. Mandy is also very moral - she feels strongly about things and she's not frightened to express that in her personal life.

"However, when it comes to Mandy's work life, she's much less confident - so it's a really weird contrast! She's quite hesitant when it comes to making decisions and she's never quite sure that she's doing the right thing. Mandy is in awe of Freya, because Freya is very confident in her work and able to take charge of things as a doctor."

What kind of a reaction have you had from playing Mandy so far?
"I'm quite new to Twitter, but I've been noticing a lot of the great comments that Lu gets. I've also had some really positive feedback from people who really like Mandy and Freya together. I think Doctors have done a really good job of making the sexuality of the two characters quite incidental. They've created quite a realistic relationship between two women on television, and I don't think that happens very often.

"The feedback we're getting is that people are liking the relationship, which is really nice as often you're not sure what the reaction will be. We have a daytime slot and there aren't that many gay characters on television, but the feedback has been really, really positive."

As Doctors is working hard to positively represent a same-sex relationship on screen, does that come with any pressure?
"Only because I think it's very important that we make the portrayal really realistic. As a black actress, I remember when I was younger and there just weren't many black faces on television. So I think it's important that we remember we could be representing gay people, bisexual people or people who are confused.

"It's not over the top and it doesn't stick to stereotypes - I think Doctors have done a really good job of that so far. As I've said, I think Mandy and Freya's sexuality is just incidental a lot of the time - they're just two people who have a lot in common and really love each other. At the core of it, that's the most important thing."

Mandy and Freya's relationship seems to have progressed quite quickly. Is that a good thing?
"I think it is, as they know that their feelings are the real deal. Neither of them are game players, so once they met, everything felt right and they didn't see any reason to be hanging about. They've cracked on and put their hearts first, and that's the thing they have in common."

Could the spark between Freya and Kevin cause a problem in the future?
"I think that potentially could. There's a bit of a love-hate relationship between Freya and Kevin, so there is some jealousy from Mandy's point of view. She tries to keep it hidden most of the time, but I think you can never fully keep something like that under wraps! So as the story starts unfolding, there could be some problems..."

Lu Corfield, Danielle Henry, Doctors
Mandy's had to support Freya through a lot of troubles recently, hasn't she?
"Yes, Freya is the classic example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions! Freya is always trying to do the right thing, but she manages to mess it up. My sister even phoned me the other day and asked, 'Why does Freya keep doing such stupid things?!'

"It's never intentional from Freya, but she can get carried away. Mandy's really aware of that side of Freya's personality, and as much as she finds it attractive, she also worries that Freya doesn't seem to consider the outcome of things!"

We've seen that Mandy is featuring in quite a few 'story of the day' plots. Can you name any that we should be looking out for?
"I've got a really nice story coming up with Mandy and an athlete who finds out she has breast cancer. It centres around her decision on whether she's going to undergo treatment or not, because her cancer is developing quite quickly. As Mandy used to be really interested in athletics, this lady is an idol of hers. To get the chance to help this woman is a really big thing for Mandy and you'll see an interesting relationship between them."

Who from the cast have you particularly bonded with?
"I think myself and Lu will be friends for life. Simon Rivers is so silly, so I think we're quite similar as we like to mess about sometimes - we've got a bit of a brother-sister relationship now! Charlie Clemmow is a really good friend of mine and we actually live together now in Birmingham. And Sophie Abelson is one of the nicest people on the planet. I've got quite a lot of scenes with Sophie at the moment involving one of her storylines."

Are you looking forward to the Soap Awards?
"I'm a bit rubbish with the red carpet side of things - I never know what to say! It's weird because the last time I was there, I was in Emmerdale, so it'll be a bit strange sitting with the Doctors crew this year!

"The thing about the Soap Awards is that it's just a bit of fun, really. You can't take it too seriously, but I couldn't wish to be there with a nicer bunch of people. I haven't been at Doctors for a huge amount of time, but I'm already quite protective over the show and I'm really pleased to say that I'm part of the cast!"

> Doctors star Lu Corfield chats to Digital Spy
> Read more Doctors spoilers and news

Doctors airs weekdays at 1.45pm on BBC One. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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