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Emily Watson and Denis Gough are starring opposite each other in ITV's gripping psychological thriller Too Close.
The mini-series, which premieres on Monday 12th April, was written by author and actress Clara Salaman and directed by Sue Tully (Line of Duty) and was inspired by the novel of the same name published under Clara's pseudonym Natalie Daniels (Clara Salaman).
It focuses on the dangerous relationship between a forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Robertson (Emily Watson), who finds herself assigned to work with Connie Mortenson (Denise Gough), a woman who is accused of an awful crime connected to the death of two young children but she claims that she cannot remember a thing.
The two women find themselves becoming dangerously close and as Emma tries to uncover the truth, it seems she might be 'destroyed' in the process.
The cast also includes Thalissa Teixeira, James Sives, Risteard Cooper, Chizzy Akudolu, Eileen Davies and Nina Wadia.
Chernobyl star Emily Watson also serves as an executive producer as well as starring in Too Close. She describes her character Emma as a psychiatrist who is "the very best at what she does".
When Emma meets with Connie for the first time, Emily says her character's new patient is "incredibly antagonistic and it is actually quite scary."
She told Tyla: "The lines blur and what's the breakdown of the patient's memory is reflected in her own journey. They kind of break each other down."
"At the start she [Emily] approaches this woman [Connie] who is very hostile and aggressive at the start but it becomes apparent that in another life these women would be friends.
"They have a similar sensibility and looking at the world and an empathy for suffering. And Connie senses straight away that Emma has a secret and in the same way that emma is trying to open Connie up, Connie is digging away at Emma and it is a mutual process of discovering each other."
Denise Gough's Connie is a woman who is struggling to remember who she is. "You meet Connie after she has done something horrendous," Denise explains.
"She has driven a car off a bridge with two young children in the back and is now in a psychiatric unit, but we also see where she was before this happened."
When viewers meet Connie she has already met lots of psychiatrists who have tried to help her recount her past to no success. "By the time Emma arrives she is just not having any more of it," she said.
Connie claims she cannot remember driving off the bridge and Emma's job is to try and establish if she is suffering from dissociative amnesia. "It's like a deep state denial," explains Denise.
"We can push down things in order to function. In this story we have a mother who is told she has essentially tried to kill her daughter and another child.
"And having studied it, I believe totally in dissociative amnesia. It's a way to protect oneself from dealing with the reality of your situation."
As the episodes unfold, viewers are slowly teased with parts of Denise's memory through flashbacks. Director Sue Tully says as Denise recaptures parts of her memory, those memories feel 'real' to her but there is ambiguity over whether it is the whole truth.
"There are lots of flashbacks throughout it and if ever I have bad dreams which is fortunately not very often, they're pretty damn real to me and likewise as Denise's character is trying to piece together her memory what she can remember is real to her.
"There's still an ambiguity about whether or not it is a genuine recollection of all the facts, but that's to keep the story bubbling!"
In the present day scenes Connie is covered by scars after the tragic accident which led to the death of the two children. The process of transforming Connie using make-up took around three and a half to four hours each morning, led by make-up designer Sue Wyburgh. "It's not just a make-up job, it becomes a little journey that you go on together. You become a little team going on this journey together," Denise said, describing the process.
"There are days when it is just hell. There are days when you hate each other. Then we all love each other.
"What they did was phenomenal. You get to see people operating at the top of their game and my job was to sit there and let them do it. It was so fantastic."
The physical transformation was one of the ways Connie captured Denise's state of mind. "It's really helpful when you look in a mirror. There's a scene where her eyes are swollen and it's really helpful to get to have all that stuff on top and it feels heavy and tight and a bit uncomfortable. Every little helps."
Screenwriter, author and executive producer Clara Salaman described Too Close as the "journey of a breakdown". She says "women who try to kill their children" is one of topics she is "fascinated" reading about, and the Greek drama Medea - where the titular character kills her two sons in revenge - was a source of inspiration.
When discussing why it was important to have two women in the lead roles, Clara said: "This is a suburban Medea story. This is all about being a mother and how you utterly lose yourself from the moment of conception and you get more and more introverted and then - let alone the trauma and ripping of birth - it's a long time before the umbilical cord is really, really broken and this ultimate of creativity turns into the ultimate act of self destruction of trying to kill the thing you've spent all your life creating.
"It had to be women, Emily's part had to be a woman because she had to understand in a visceral level what that means to be a mother. There's no way it could have been a man."
Emily said: "If it had been a man and a woman it would have been a different thing, and that's a conventional chemistry of most dramas is a man and a woman."
Too Close premieres Monday 12th April on ITV with the next two episodes airing at 9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday
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