Claire Goose was born in 1975 in Edinburgh. She is best known for her role in the long running television series “Waking the Dead”. She was recently in the series “Exiles”.
I don’t think I could have done this role if I wasn’t a mother,’ says Claire Goose.
‘It really made me feel the pain of the woman I’m playing. I think being a mother has made me a better actress.’
Goose, a former star of Casualty and Waking The Dead, and a lads’ mag favourite back in the day, is talking about Jane, the troubled woman she plays in ITV thriller Undeniable. The plot hinges on the grown-up Jane believing she’s spotted the man who killed her mother – 23 years after the event.
It’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it, to believe a five-year-old could recognise a killer so long after it happened? Goose disagrees. ‘It was a horrible killing, a brutal moment,’ she says. ‘Something so horrible, I don’t think you’d ever forget it.
‘I felt a very strong emotional connection with Jane because she tapped into the utter terror a parent has about anything happening to her children. This is the other way round but it’s the same feeling. I don’t think I knew that pain before I had my own kids [she has two daughters under five]. Being a parent has totally opened me up as a person.’
The canny game Undeniable writer Chris Lang plays is that we’re not quite sure whether Jane has spotted the right man or not. The accused, a respected oncologist (played by Peter Firth) seems an unlikely killer and Jane, we learn, has a history of mental instability and pointing the finger in the wrong direction.
‘That sense of doubt to the story is one of the things that really appealed to me,’ says Goose. ‘There were fantastic scenes in this that I was looking forward to playing from the moment I got the script. Jane is off her meds and we had long discussions about what had happened in her life up to that point. If it keeps you guessing, it’s succeeded.’
It’s a meaty, heavy-duty role for an actress who first rose to fame as nurse Tina Seabrook in Casualty when she was just 22 – and won her an army of admirers courtesy of a racy photoshoot in FHM.
She figured in the magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women In The World poll in the late 1990s. Does she think that might have stopped her being taken seriously as an actress? She gives a carefree shrug.
‘I don’t think it stopped me getting any parts – at least not that I’m aware of,’ Goose answers breezily. ‘I don’t regret that or mind talking about it at all. A friend talked me into it because I’m in the habit of trying to avoid risk, so it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I was ever overexposed.’
These days, though, she shuns anything with the tag of celebrity attached. ‘I wouldn’t be interested in doing things like I’m A Celebrity in the jungle, those things where you don’t do anything, it would drive me mad,’ says Goose.
‘I was asked to do MasterChef and I was tempted because I’m not a bad cook. But I just don’t want that pressure, I hate being judged.’
Does that mean she takes badly to poor reviews? ‘That’s different, because you’re a different person when you’re acting,’ she says. ‘And it’s something I know I can do.’
Goose credits Waking The Dead for pushing her career in a weightier direction and she had a part in acclaimed thriller Exile, playing John Simm’s lover. Undeniable, though, gives her a chance to stretch her acting skills and show her in a new light. She’d taken a career break to have her children but was itching to get back in the acting saddle.
‘Undeniable came along at just the right time,’ she says. ‘I’d had time with the kids and I had the energy to take on something like this. It was a month’s filming, pretty intense, but I found it stimulating and challenging.’
Goose married producer Craig Woodrow in 2007 and they make a strong team. ‘He’s a strong critic, which is great for me, I can take it,’ she says. ‘He’s a producer now but trained in drama and he thought the pace of Undeniable was fantastic. He’d have told me if he didn’t think it was any good.’
To her credit, the elfin Goose is convincingly playing ten years younger than her age – Jane is 28, she’s recently turned 39 – without the need for make-up or tricks.
‘I did ask: “Do you think we should push Jane’s age up?”’ she points out. ‘But they didn’t want to make the gap between the murder and her spotting the man she thinks is the killer any wider. And everybody thought I could pass for 30, so I was pretty pleased with that.’
Then, all of a sudden, she’s dashing off to appear onstage that night opposite Les Dennis in a touring production of A Perfect Murder, just a tad ironic given Undeniable’s subject matter. ‘Oh it’s not the same at all, it’s a black comedy,’ she says. ‘It’s fun to play.’
I’m kicking myself because I’ve missed my chance to pitch her my big idea for her next drama. Given she peaked at No.29 in 2000’s FHM Sexiest Woman poll, how about a serial thriller called FHM (Female Homicidal Maniac) in which each week she bumps off numbers 28 to one, so she can finally take the crown? Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it…
The above “Metro” article can also be accessed online here.