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'Doctors' Elisabeth Dermot Walsh interview - Part Two

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Dr Zara Carmichael from Doctors

© BBC Pictures

Doctors star Elisabeth Dermot Walsh recently had a chat with Digital Spy about Zara's labour scenes, which play out on screen next week.

To read all about the arrival of baby Joe, read our main chat with Elisabeth in the interviews section.

Here, though, Soap Scoop presents lots more bonus snippets from Elisabeth about all things Zara and Doctors

Will we see Zara on maternity leave for a while, or does she head back to work quite quickly?
"Well, that's the thing - I think she tries to go back too soon! It's absolutely her right to want to stay as a career woman while being a mother, but we all know how difficult that is. And typical Zara - she just goes charging in and tries to do that far too soon. So she's just heading for trouble, really."

Now that she has the baby, could we see Zara's father Jed again?
"Oh gosh, I don't know about that. In the storyline, he lives in Weston-super-Mare, and so far he hasn't even made an appearance to visit the baby! I presume she might have taken the baby to see him, or it might have happened on a weekend off-screen. We haven't seen Paul Shelley, who plays Jed, in Letherbridge for a long time."

Do you prefer playing Zara's bitchier moments or her more vulnerable side?
"Well, nothing beats a good putdown line or a bitchy comment! We have some brilliant writers, so Zara does get the last laugh so often. But that makes it all the more enjoyable when she doesn't get the last laugh and ends up with egg on her face. That only really works if she's had a few weeks of really getting away with everything, and then when it all goes wrong for her, she simply can't believe it!

"Equally with her vulnerable moments - I think they really work when there are fewer of them, because then they're more of a surprise. We see her hard exterior, but then we know that in private, she's just like the rest of us and is full of doubts and fears."

Would you be friends with Zara in real life?
"I don't think so! I really love playing her as it's great fun, but she is such a cow sometimes and I think I'd find that hard to forgive. She can be so grumpy and so selfish, so I think I'd find her exhausting!"

Elisabeth Dermot Walsh & Matthew Chambers
What's it like to work with Matthew Chambers?
"He's great fun and we have a great working relationship. I'm very lucky, because we spend so much time together and we do so many scenes together.

"Matthew has taught me the art of banter! I can be rather serious and I never used to really join in with banter, because I was concentrating! I'm not saying that my concentration has diminished, but he has taught me everything I know - and I'm afraid that he's now often on the sharp end of my banter! So now I say, 'It's your fault - you've created a monster because you've taught me how to do it!'"

Do you enjoy working with Jan Pearson too?
"Yes, she's an absolute delight. She's absolutely warm, funny and so clever - she's such a clever actress. There isn't a scene that she does that she doesn't bring a whole different dimension to, which perhaps you didn't even notice in the script. She's tremendous fun to work with, and our characters also rub each other up the wrong way, so we have great fun doing that."

Daniel and Zara bicker about finding out the sex of their baby
We know that you're very passionate about Doctors deserving a higher profile - and even campaigned for it to be featured on This Morning!
"Yes, I was a bit cheeky when I did a photoshoot for the British Soap Awards with Phillip Schofield! We were standing next to each other to be photographed, so I said, 'Now that I've got you right here, why don't you have us on Soapbox?!' (Laughs)

"I said to Phil that as we're both daytime shows, we must have the same demographic of viewers, and we regularly get more viewers than This Morning. I had done my research, so it was true! And then the very next day, he raised it at a script meeting, and we have been on a bit since then.

"So onwards with that, I think. It was somebody on Twitter who said that Doctors is one of television's best-kept secrets. And I think we wish that we weren't a secret."

We're trying to include the show a bit more on Digital Spy too!
"That's wonderful. I do sometimes have a look at the forums, as it's so interesting to see the feedback of how the episodes are going, and whether people are enjoying the storylines and the characters. People seem to get very passionate about it when they're debating with each other, so I do like dropping in for a little look at that."

Daniel (Matthew Chambers) and Zara (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh)
Would you like to see Doctors get an evening repeat slot?
"We would love it, I think! I don't know what the official party line is, but why not? So many people tell me that they watch it, but they'll say it was because they were on maternity leave, working from home for a week, or feeling ill or something like that! I do know that there is a big fraction of people who record Doctors, and when they get home, they'll watch it. So how much better would it be if the show was just there for them when they got home from work?"

Doctors often has great guest stars for its 'story of the day' plots. Is there anyone who you'd love to come in and do an episode?
"Oh gosh, there's so many people! I'd love it if June Brown from EastEnders could drop into Letherbridge - that would be amazing. Maybe Dot could just drop in as a patient and I could tell her to give up cigarettes!"

Across the whole of your acting career, which roles have been your favourites?
"It's in my nature to feel very loyal to what I'm doing in the present, because I embrace it so wholeheartedly. But doing a Poirot was great fun - and it's been repeated a couple of times recently, so I've had quite a few messages about it. That's reminded me of that job and how fun it was.

"I must say that David Suchet was so wonderful to work with. It was great to meet someone who I so believed was the character. David is so innately Poirot, and I'd watched him being Poirot for so many years. So when I did the scenes with him it didn't feel like I was working with David at all, instead it was like working with a funny little Belgian detective!"

Are there any other shows you wish you could be a part of?
"Well, my absolute ultimate would have been The West Wing, which is no more. That show absolutely delighted and thrilled me - the writing, the characters and the relationships. So to have been on that would have been amazing!"

> 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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