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Loads more 'Doctors' chat from Diane Keen

By
Diane Keen

© Rex Features

I recently had a chat with Doctors favourite Diane Keen to hear about the daytime soap's 2,000th episode and what has made the show so popular over the past ten years.

If you haven't yet read the main interview, click here to hear what Diane had to say.

Alternatively, read on for a bonus Q&A with the actress…

Doctors is known for its serious drama storylines but also for being slightly surreal sometimes, with dream and fantasy sequences. How do the cast feel about the more experimental episodes?
"Bewildered, sometimes! Sometimes they work and we generally feel that they often don't. But Doctors is also not afraid to touch on very controversial subjects - I don't think there's anything that Doctors wouldn't tackle, because I think we've had just about everything. We'll pick up on anything - but that's life and that's drama, and drama is life!"

The recent storyline featuring Julia and Charlie had a really strong reaction on our forum…
"Did it? I've also had a lot of reaction from the public about it. As I go about my life, people come up and they've spoken to me about it. I think they were angry with Charlie. It was a terrible thing for him to do in the situation that Julia was in - a very, very bad thing. But the viewers were also desperately concerned and worried about Julia herself, who had by that point descended into another place and really had lost it. So I think they really felt the injustice of it all - Julia was completely unable to defend herself as she didn't know how to, and I think that's one thing that did come across when people spoke to me."

Many Doctors fans think that the show doesn't always get the recognition that it deserves. Do you feel the same way?
"Very strongly, yes - I think the whole cast do. I don't know why that is, because we've delivered episodes that are every bit as good as the evening shows have delivered. I do feel that Doctors is good enough to be in an evening slot. I don't know why we're ignored, to be honest. We're not always ignored and we have had more attention than we did when I first joined the show. But as a cast, we do feel somewhat slighted and insulted by that when we think about the work that we put in and the quality of the work that's delivered. But hey, I suppose that's just showbusiness!"

Doctors also has a strong international following…
"Yes, the extraordinary thing is that we're huge all over the world! I travel a lot, and everywhere you go, people say, 'Oh, Doctors! You're in Doctors!' I mean, Dubai, Zambia - you name it, they watch Doctors! They're avid watchers. Admittedly, some of them are three years behind the British broadcasts - but it's extraordinary when you move around the world and see that this show is going out in so many different countries, and has huge fanbases in them. Here in the UK, we get shown once at 1.45pm and I understand we also get shown later on HD, which doesn't do us an awful lot of good at the moment because so few people have HD.

"But in Dubai it's shown twice a day - including in the evening at 8.30pm - and there's also a two-hour omnibus at the weekend - and yet here it's not, in its home country. I don't know why that is, but it's people who sit in offices who make these decisions."

We asked for questions on our forum, and one thing people were wondering was why Julia always seems to treat Daniel more harshly than the other doctors…
"I think she's coming round to him now - but let's face it, he did ask for it. He behaved very, very badly in the beginning and was always lying and cheating. Julia gave him more than one chance against her better judgement - firstly because she was so fond of Joe and did it for him, and secondly because she saw that Daniel was capable of being an extremely good doctor. I think the reason that she is - or was - harsh with him is because he could have absolutely wiped out her business and closed her surgery down if what he was doing got out. So of course she's harsh - she didn't trust him. But I think now she feels like she can trust him much more because he has settled down and having his little girl has made him much calmer and more reliable. And she's actually made him a partner, so that shows how much she does trust him."

Would you like to see Julia find love again?
"I would in a way, yes - of course I would. I think she was absolutely crazy to let the character played by Ray Fearon go - he said that he loved her and wanted to marry her, but Julia said, 'I don't think so' and I just thought, 'Stupid woman! How many times is someone going to say that to you?' But the writers decided that it wasn't to be! She doesn't have much luck in one way or another, does she really? She even went out with a chief of police who tried to strangle her - that's not very good! (laughs) She married the wrong man twice! I think it would be lovely for her to meet someone, find love again and have a life outside the surgery."

Is there anything else that you'd like to see from Julia?
"With the Lyme disease storyline, we saw her granddaughter and her son - I'd like to see her get closer to her son Patrick. And I'd like to see more of her with her little granddaughter, which we are doing more of. Their last encounter was horrific because Julia left her at the zoo because she was ill, but it would be nice to see more of that part of her life. All we ever really see of Julia is that she goes to PCT meetings, or she's filing, or she's telling off someone, or sticking her nose into somebody else's business! She sorts out people's lives really well, but there's got to be more to Julia's life than that, I think."

Finally, are you happy at Doctors and likely to stay for the foreseeable future?
"Oh gosh, yes! I'm very happy at Doctors. I think there's a lot more to Julia that we haven't explored yet - you always want to take a character further if you can. Every job has its ups and downs and you have your good days and your bad days - we do work fast and sometimes it can get frustrating when you can't do your job to the best of your ability because there just isn't time. But that goes for anyone on the show - the other actors and anybody on the unit - and it's probably true for any production these days, the way our industry is now. It's just a little bit faster than most on this show. But it's a very happy place to be - we're a big family and we have a lot of laughs!"

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